Comment

£19m released each day since pension freedoms launch

Today’s official figures1 report that £32.97 billion of taxable payments have been taken from pensions since freedom and choice was introduced. This equates to an average of £18.75 million being flexibly withdrawn every day over the past 1,760 days since pension freedoms were introduced.

money jar

Alistair McQueen, Head of Savings and Retirement at Aviva comments:

“The pension freedoms continue to break records, exceeding expectations, as 1.34 million individuals have so far decided to take advantage of their greater flexibilities.

“However, the peak for pension freedoms are yet to come. In the coming decade a record nine million people are set to enter the arena of the pension freedoms at age 55.2 This is more than we can expect to see in any decade that follows. The 2020s are likely to see “peak pension freedoms”.

The pension freedoms continue to break records, exceeding expectations.

“With pension freedoms’ popularity continuing to grow and savers being entrusted with increased individual responsibility, it is worrying that 94% of adults are flying solo, not seeking any financial advice each year.3

“Last week, the Money and Pensions Service (MAPS) launched its strategy with a vision of “everyone making the most of their money and pensions”.4 This is the right vision, but MAPS needs the support of the industry, regulator and government if we’re to close the advice gap.”

Aviva’s five top tips for those considering their pension freedoms are:

  1. Take your time: the pension freedoms are available from age 55, but there is no need to act at age 55. And your time in retirement may be longer than ever before. Act in haste and you may repent at leisure.
  2. Avoid the scammers: pensions represent the biggest single source of private wealth in the UK, so the attraction for scammers is obvious. If you receive a cold-call to discuss your pension freedoms, just hang up. Since January 2019 it has been illegal to make these cold calls. See the FCA’s ScamSmart website for more advice.
  3. Use PensionWise: the government’s free PensionWise service provides free guidance on the pension freedoms. Take advantage. It has a high 97.9% customer satisfaction.
  4. Shop around: you may have been saving for 30 years, so take more than 30 minutes when considering your options. Shop around for your best deal.
  5. Think about tax: nothing is certain, but death and taxes. Income tax follows us through our working life and into retirement. The way in which we access our pension savings can have significant implications for our tax bills, and income in retirement. With consideration, tax can be less taxing.

- ENDS-

Sources:

Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.

1https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/flexible-payments-from-pensions

2https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/populationandmigration/ populationestimates/bulletins/annualmidyearpopulationestimates/mid2018

3https://www.fca.org.uk/publication/research/financial-lives-consumers-across-uk.pdf

4https://moneyandpensionsservice.org.uk/uk-strategy-for-financial-wellbeing/

Fiona Whytock

Retirement, Savings and Investments

Notes to editors:

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