Why so many of us are financially uncertain

Almost half (47%) of Britons are up and down when it comes to money, making shrewd savings one moment to justify overspending the next, according to research from Standard Life by YouGov Plc.

Records at five-year high, according to new report

The number of people saving adequately for retirement at 53% is the highest it has been since 2009 and the biggest ever year-on-year rise, up from 45% in 2013, as the impact of auto enrolment and improvements in the wider economic environment begin to take effect.

You could be missing out on your retirement options

More than one in three people approaching retirement are unaware of the pensions reforms announced in the March Budget, according to new research[1] from MetLife.

Animal spirits are finally stirring again to you

It has been a long wait, but animal spirits are finally stirring again. Not just in financial markets, where the bull market has been underway for more than five years now, but in the real world of corporate activity.

Three quarters of grandparents say that they have dipped into their savings to help their grandchildren this year

Forget the bank of Mum and Dad – today’s young people are now receiving help from the bank of Gran and Grandad, with millions of grandparents offering financial support to their grandchildren.

Looking forward to a secure and financially independent retirement

Saving for your retirement may not seem important when you’re starting out. But the sooner you start saving for your retirement, the more secure your future will be.

Thinking about your plans for the future means taking action now

Retirement planning involves thinking about your plans for the future now – that means investing your money with the aim of maximising its value ready for when you retire. Careful retirement planning, the right mix of assets and starting sooner rather than later will help lead to the retirement you are looking for.

Proposals to fundamentally redesign the UK private pensions system

undamental plans proposed to redesign the UK defined contribution pension system (as opposed to workplace final salary schemes) were announced as part of the Budget 2014 speech. This is the most far-reaching reform to the taxation of pensions since the regime was introduced in 1921, introducing new flexibility to the pensions system.

The freedom to choose how and when you access your pension

Your retirement should be something to look forward to, not worry about how to make ends meet. Whatever you want to do, understanding how to build up enough retirement savings and how pensions work should help you achieve your goals.

You could soon have a pension without asking for one!

Millions of workers are being automatically enrolled into a workplace pension by their employer. A workplace pension is a way of saving for your retirement that’s arranged by your employer.

Most employers are obliged to have an occupational pension scheme for their employees

There are two main types of occupational workplace pension schemes:

Defined-contribution schemes

A defined-contribution (DC) or money-purchase pension scheme is one that invests the money you pay into it, together with any employer’s contribution, and gives you an accumulated sum on retirement, with which you can secure a pension income, either by buying an annuity or using income drawdown.

Withdrawing any amount of money from your pension pot

Flexible drawdown is a special form of drawdown under which any amount of money can be withdrawn from the pension pot. There are two requirements you have to meet before undertaking this option: you must meet the minimum income requirement (MIR) and you must have stopped contributing to any pensions. As the name suggests, this option is more flexible than income drawdown. Qualifying for this option removes the cap on the income you can take.

How to use your pension pot for the years ahead

As you approach retirement, you will have to decide how best to use your pension pot for the years ahead. One of the ways of doing this is by entering income drawdown. Unlike an annuity, with income drawdown, your money remains invested and you take a pension income directly from it. This is a flexible way to take your pension benefits, although it may not be suitable if you want the security of income that an annuity offers.

Choosing the right option for you

In the UK, there are basically two types of annuity:

The lack of professional financial advice can be costly

You only have one opportunity to shop around for your annuity. This is called ‘exercising the open market option’. Once you have committed to an annuity provider and started to receive an income, the decision can’t be reversed.