If you’re self-employed, saving into a pension can be a more difficult habit to develop than it is for people in employment. There are no employer contributions, and irregular income patterns can make regular saving difficult. But preparing for retirement is crucial for you too.
The National Employment Savings Trust (NEST) is a low-cost pension you may be able to join through your workplace or if you are self-employed. Once a member, you can carry on saving this way even if you change jobs or stop working.
Providing greater flexibility with the investments you can choose
A self-invested personal pension (SIPP) is a pension ‘wrapper’ that holds investments until you retire and start to draw a retirement income. It is a type of personal pension and works in a similar way to a standard personal pension. The main difference is that with a SIPP, you have greater flexibility with the investments you can choose.
Minimum standards if you don’t want too much choice
Stakeholder pensions are a form of Defined Contribution personal pension. They have low and flexible minimum contributions, capped charges, and a default investment strategy if you don’t want too much choice. Some employers offer them, but you can start one yourself.
A personal pension is a type of Defined Contribution (DC) pension. You choose the provider and make arrangements for your contributions to be paid. If you haven’t got a workplace pension, getting a personal pension could be a good way of saving for retirement.
A Defined Benefit (DB) pension scheme is one where the amount paid to you is set using a formula based on how many years you’ve worked for your employer and the salary you’ve earned rather than the value of your investments. If you work or have worked for a large employer or in the public sector, you may have a DB pension.
With a Defined Contribution (DC) pension, you build up a pot of money that you can then use to provide an income in retirement. Unlike Defined Benefit schemes, which promise a specific income, the income you might get from a DC scheme depends on factors including the amount you pay in, the fund’s investment performance and the choices you make at retirement.
Tax relief means some of your money that would have gone to the Government as tax goes into your pension instead. You can put as much as you want into your pension, but there are annual and lifetime limits on how much tax relief you get on your pension contributions.
Planning for retirement in the new pensions landscape
The new pension savings market offers much more flexibility and choice post–6 April this year, which is a positive, but it can be overwhelming. For people planning for retirement in the new world of pension freedoms, there are both risks and opportunities – from passing on your pension to loved ones, to making the most of tax relief.
Divorcees may need to take action to protect benefits following pension reforms
An unintended consequence of the pension reforms is that any divorcee with a pension earmarking order may need to act fast to protect their benefits. Any earmarking order that provides the ex-spouse with a fixed percentage of the pension income in retirement should be checked to ensure benefits are protected now that the member no longer needs to take their pension as an income and can instead take all the cash out as a lump sum.
Hastings O'Loughlin is a business name of Hastings O'Loughlin Financial Services Ltd. Company No. 4502991. Registered Office at Hastings House, Birds Royd Lane, Brighouse, HD6 1LQ. Authorised and Regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.