If you are 55 or older and have a UK-based workplace or private pension pot that you want to access for the first time or transfer elsewhere, you must now be offered advice from Pension Wise, a free impartial Government service.
Many pension providers must now inform you about the Pension Wise guidance service, which offers a free 45-minute appointment – in person or over the phone – to discuss your retirement options as of June 1, 2022. The idea is to try to prevent you from making a bad financial decision when accessing your pension.
However, while this service is unbiased, it does not constitute financial advice – only guidance. Pension Wise cannot recommend products or providers, and it can only guide you through potential pension options rather than telling you what you should do with it. It will, however, emphasise the significance of understanding the tax implications of accessing your pension and will warn you about scams.
If you require more detailed assistance, you may want to consider hiring and paying for an independent financial adviser.
Who is eligible for this service?
The new service will be available to anyone using it for the first time or thinking about transferring the following types of pension:
- A pension with a defined contribution (which is a type of pension you contribute towards).
- Personal or stakeholder pensions, including self-invested personal pensions (SIPPs)
While pension providers are required to inform you about the service, you have the option to decline the offer. If you decline, you can still access or transfer your pension as planned, though you may want to seek independent financial advice from a different source first.
Those accessing or transferring out of “defined benefit” pensions, which are typically based on your final salary and years of service rather than your own contributions, are not eligible for the service. In this case, you should seek the advice of an independent financial adviser.
How to Schedule an Appointment:
Before you complete an application to access or move your pension, your pension provider must offer to book the Pension Wise appointment for you or provide you with enough information to book it yourself.
You don’t have to wait for your pension provider to tell you about this service; if you’re over 50, you can book an appointment yourself – though keep in mind that you usually can’t take anything out of your pension until you’re 55.
Call Pension Wise for free between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., Monday through Friday, or use the online booking form.
Even if you’ve previously used the service, if your circumstances have changed since the last appointment, you can get a free appointment again.
You can also use the service to discuss a family member’s or friend’s pension options, but you must obtain verbal or written consent from that person. Before you can discuss someone’s pension options, you’ll need to show a copy of their power of attorney.
Gather information on all of your pension schemes before your Pension Wise appointment if you have more than one pension pot. If you’ve lost track of any pensions, you can try to locate them using the Pension Tracing Service, which is a free Government-backed service.
Check your state pension forecast for an estimate of how much state pension you might receive. When accessing your pension for the first time, make sure you understand how you may be taxed.
Also keep in mind that Pension Wise is a free government-backed service, so don’t pay for it, and be wary of scammers who try to capitalise on it.