Regardless of the life stage you have arrived at, it is important to receive expert and professional advice on your pension plans and requirements.

Whether you need to set up or review existing retirement planning strategies, I have ways to help you make the most of your retirement opportunities.

The value of an investment with St. James's Place will be directly linked to the performance of the funds selected and can fall as well as rise. You may get back less than you invested.

Maximising Your Pension Fund

Despite the ever changing pensions landscape, pension planning and saving for your retirement is still as vital as ever.

Pensions still remain highly efficient, offering tax relief at your highest rate of tax on your contributions (assuming that anything over the basic rate of tax is reclaimed via the individual's tax return), and therefore form an important part of your overall planning.

Tapered Annual Allowance

introduced in April 2016 predominantly to discourage high earners from recycling tax relief, the annual allowance of £40,000 per annum is potentially reduced. If you have total adjusted income in excess of £150,000 per annum, your annual allowance could be reduced to a minimum of £10,000. This is a very complex area and so it is vital that appropriate advice is sought.

Carry Forward of unused reliefs

You may be able to contribute in excess of the Annual Allowance of £40,000, or your reduced annual allowance, and receive tax relief at up to 45% using Carry Forward for example, if you have contributed less than the Annual Allowance in the previous three tax years. As this is a potentially complex area, particularly where Defined Benefit schemes are concerned, advice should be sought.

Lifetime Allowance

The changes in the Lifetime Allowance mean that advice is more important than ever to ensure that you are optimising your retirement planning and are fully up to speed with the latest Lifetime Allowance protection opportunities.

The levels and bases of taxation and reliefs from taxation can change at any time. The value of any tax reliefs depends on individual circumstances.

Planning Your Retirement

Identify what’s important to you and get help making the right decisions about your retirement.

The following range of products are available:

  • Self-Invested Pension Plans (SIPPs)
  • trustee schemes
  • retirement plans
  • drawdown plans
  • annuities
The value of an investment with St. James's Place will be directly linked to the performance of the funds you select and the value can therefore go down as well as up. You may get back less than you invested.

Nearing Retirement

In retirement, your existing income may be replaced by an income from your pension.

At the moment, this can be done by using your pension fund to purchase an annuity from an annuity provider, securing you an income for life, no matter how long you live.

Pension drawdown allows you to take an income from your retirement fund, rather than buying an annuity, but due to the risks involved you’ll need to take specialist advice. *

The 2015 pension reforms changed retirement planning significantly.

  • Individuals now have full access to defined contribution (DC) pensions from age 55, with unrestricted income available, subject to their marginal rate of Income Tax. It is still be possible to take up to 25% of the pension fund as tax free cash.
  • A pension can be passed to anyone after death, not only dependants. Income taken from the pension by beneficiaries will be tax free if death is before the age of 75, and at the beneficiary’s marginal rate if death is later than this.

These changes were good news for pensions, removing most of the concerns many people had about their inflexibility. More flexibility means that advice - to help protect your retirement savings from being exhausted and meeting your needs for life - is more important than ever. The right type of advice can make a huge difference and it is important that you make the appropriate choices for your specific circumstances.

*The level of income from pension drawdown is not guaranteed. There is a very real chance that you may need to reduce your drawdown income in the future, in particular if the performance of your investments is lower than expected, or you live to a greater age than originally anticipated when choosing your initial income level.

The levels and bases of taxation and reliefs from taxation can change at any time. The value of any tax relief depends on individual circumstances. 

Self-invested Pension Plan

Self-Invested Pension Plans (SIPPs) give a much greater range of investment options than those available through most traditional pension plans. Investment is allowed in a number of assets and asset classes including equities, unit trusts, gilts and commercial property.

Saving in a tax efficient manner towards your pension is always desirable and SIPPs make this possible, along with the added benefit of flexibility.

This flexibility allows you to spread the risk, especially if some investments perform badly. However, these do tend to have higher costs than a standard pension and active management is essential to maximise the benefits of the wider investment choice on offer. For these reasons, they will not be suitable for everybody and generally only those who are fairly experienced at actively managing their investment should consider this type of investment.

The investment growth within the fund is currently free from all UK Income and Capital Gains Taxes.

The value of a SIPP can fall as well as rise. You may get back less than the amount invested.

The levels and bases of taxation and reliefs from taxation can change at any time and are dependent on individual circumstances. 

Employed

There is one golden rule with retirement planning:

Work out how much money you think you are going to need after you retire.

If you don't start planning for it now, there’s a real danger you could outlive your savings, no matter when you intend to retire. It will soon no longer be unusual for people to spend nearly as long in retirement as they did in employment.

St. James's Place has a range of plans to help provide for your retirement, no matter what stage of planning you are at. You must have flexibility in all aspects of your planning as your needs will change as your future earnings and career evolve.

The value of a pension will be directly related to performance of the funds selected, and will fall as well as rise. You may get back less than the amount invested.

Employer

Pension legislation and the way benefits are provided have changed vastly over recent years and the introduction of auto enrolment has had an effect on all employers, no matter how small.

As a director or business owner, it is your obligation to understand this legislation, what the process will be, how it will work, what duties you must comply with and when to act.

You may need help and advice to understand:

  • requirements surrounding auto enrolment and ensure they are compliant with legislation
  • extra administrative burden as a result of auto enrolment
  • pension benefits when recruiting new staff
  • future changes, either legislative or company-specific.
St. James's Place has relationships with a number of carefully selected market leading pension providers, allowing us to advise on a range of pension products.

Self-employed

Being self-employed means that you cannot join occupational pension schemes, although you will receive the Basic State Pension and Flat Rate State Pension, which came into effect on 6 April 2016 (subject to a sufficient National Insurance record).

This means it is essential to make plans for contributing to an individual arrangement in order to receive an income that gives you security in your retirement.

But how much will you need?

Expert and professional advice, which focuses on your requirements, is of paramount importance and will be the cornerstone of your pension planning arrangements.

Trustees

Trustees play a vital role in the running of a defined benefit scheme, as it is a complicated, time-consuming and often expensive process. Essentially, they ensure that the scheme benefits are protected for members.

There are a number of solutions that can help Trustees. 

Through Professional Trustee Solutions, you can find a bespoke strategy for incorporating cost-effective actuarial and administrative services combined with a distinctive approach to investment management.

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St. James's Place Guarantee

St. James's Place guarantees the suitability of the advice given by members of the St. James's Place Partnership when recommending any of the wealth management products and services available from companies in the group, more details of which are set out on the Group's website.