For most, retirement will be funded in the main by a pension. It is therefore vital you have a robust plan in place that will allow you to grow and protect your pension, both now and in the future.
With ever-changing rules and regulations, we now have a pension system that is often difficult to navigate, putting many off using this as a savings vehicle.
Pensions should not be dismissed so lightly. Through tax relief (available up to 45%, possibly more) and tax-free growth, there are still powerful incentives for funding a pension.
Higher rate taxpayers, for example, using their full £40,000 pension annual allowance can convert a £16,000 tax bill into their retirement savings.
At Mazars, we work with you to gain an understanding of your situation and your future goals, creating a personal tax-efficient plan that allows you to have the retirement you have always dreamt of.
We can help you:
Help you understand and make maximum use of your contribution allowances
Manage or protect your pensions from the Lifetime Allowance (currently £1,073,000)
If you are an owner or director of a company, consider ways to fund pensions to both extract profits tax-efficiently for you and provide the company with corporation tax and national insurance relief
Consider if your existing pension scheme is the most suitable for you and allows you the options you need.
Alternative schemes such as Self Invested Personal Pensions (SIPPs) give you control over your pension fund and allow a greater range of investment types including commercial property.
Similarly, Small Self-Administered Schemes (SSASs) allow loans to the company and enable you to buy and leaseback company premises
Assess whether your existing investment strategy is appropriate for you and on course to meet your future retirement objectives
Our award-winning team is professional, personable and highly qualified. The majority of our financial planners hold either the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) status, an internationally recognised advanced financial planning qualification or are Chartered Financial Planners, the premier qualification for financial advice professionals.
Their skills and expertise are consistently endorsed by client feedback. On VouchedFor, the UK’s leading review site for financial advisors, their average combined score is 4.8 out of 5.
When you retire, there are several ways you can take funds from your pension pot. You don’t have to choose just one option, as they can be mixed to suit your needs.
In one lump sum
In several lump sums and leave the rest invested
Drawing down on a regular basis, leaving the rest invested
Buy an annuity
What is a defined-contribution pension?
A defined contribution or DC pension is the most common workplace pension offered by employers, but you can set up your own DC pension too. It is a pot of invested money, built up by contributions from you and/or your employer. When you retire, the size of your DC pension will depend on how much has been paid in, how your pension savings have been invested and how they have performed, and the tax relief you have received.
What is a defined-benefits pension?
A defined-benefit pension or DB pension is a workplace pension, which is a promise of a level of income from a stated retirement date. The value of income provided depends on the number of years you have been part of your employer's scheme, your salary there and the factors your employer uses to calculate your income. DB pensions are also known as final salary or career average schemes. For example, if you have a final salary scheme that operates on a 1/60th accrual basis, where you worked there for ten years earning £50,000 per annum, your pension would be: 10/60 x £50,000 = £8,333.33 per annum
What is the state pension?
The state pension is a payment received from the Government usually every four weeks. The state pension for 2022 is £185.15 a week, paid from age 66 to 67, depending on when you were born.
How many pensions can I have?
You can have as many pensions as you like, however it is important to note that the more pensions you have, the harder it is to keep track and manage the investments alongside your various allowances.
How much can I pay into a pension?
As a UK taxpayer, you can pay up to 100% of your relevant earnings into a pension. If you do not have any relevant earnings you can still pay up to £3,600 per annum into a pension. Remember the annual allowance for pension contributions also applies, in 2022/23 this is £40,000 a year. You do not need to have relevant earnings for employer pension contributions.
What are relevant earnings?
Relevant earnings are broadly your salary plus taxable benefits. This does not include rental income, dividends, interest and other forms of income. Remember that the relevant earnings definition is different to adjusted income for the tapered annual allowance (see below). There are far more sources of income included when calculating your adjusted income for the tapered annual allowance.
What is the annual allowance?
The annual allowance is the maximum amount you can have paid into your pension each year and still receive tax relief. The standard annual allowance is £40,000 for the 2022/23 tax year. You can carry forward any unused allowance from the previous three tax years, so it is possible to pay more than £40,000 if you have enough relevant income or your employer is looking to pay into your pension.
What is the tapered annual allowance?
The tapered annual allowance is set at a lower value than the annual allowance and applies to individuals with a threshold income of over £200,000 and an adjusted income of over £240,000. Once your adjusted income exceeds £240,000 your annual allowance is reduced by £1 for every £2 of income above the limit. Once your income exceeds £312,000 you will be limited to a £4,000 annual allowance for pension contributions.
The adjusted income definition is very broad and includes employer pension contributions, so detailed calculations are required. The rules for the tapered annual allowance changed in April 2019, so you must review your position if you have been or are affected by this.
How much should I pay into a pension?
It depends on several factors: how much you can afford to save, what you need in retirement, your tax position and your investment risk profile. Typically the earlier you start the better. While it is important to save as much as you can, you need to be careful not to exceed the various annual and lifetime limits for pension savings.
If I leave my current employer what happens to my pension?
There are many options to choose from. You can leave it where it is, transfer it into a new scheme or take the benefits when you retire. It is worth speaking to a financial planner to understand the best option for you.
If I go on maternity leave what happens to my pension?
If your employer is paying your maternity leave, you both will continue to pay into your pension for at least 39 weeks, with your employer contributing based on your full salary. Thereafter it depends on the employment and pension contract. If you’re not being paid, your employer will continue paying into your pension for the first 26 weeks.
Should consolidate my pensions?
You can consolidate your pensions into one, as it makes them easier to keep track of and manage the underlying investments. However, it’s important to seek financial advice before doing so to understand if this is the right approach based on your current circumstances and retirement plans.
How should I invest my pension?
The right choice for you depends on a range of factors: your attitude to risk, your capacity for loss and how you plan to access your pension to name a few. Typically, the further away from retirement you are the more risk you can afford to take to get additional growth.
At what age can I draw my pension?
Currently, you can start drawing from your pension when you are 55. The minimum access age is increasing to 57 by 2028, but some pensions will allow you to keep an access age of 55. If you think this could affect your retirement plans you should seek advice.
Can I have a joint pension?
Most pensions can only be set up on an individual basis, but you can still pay into a pension for a partner or spouse. As these pensions are held in separate names you can’t have a joint pension with your married partner. However, if your partner isn’t working, you can pay into a pension for them or set up a joint-life annuity.
For business owners, it is possible to set up group schemes with pooled funds, which allow you to access options such as buying a property for your business to operate from or making a loan to the company.
Can I take all of my pension funds in one go?
Yes, you can take your pension all in one go. However, only 25% of it will be tax free so it is important to speak with an adviser to understand what is the best option for you when it comes to withdrawing funds.
Will my pension be impacted by Inheritance Tax if I die?
Pensions are unusually exempt from Inheritance tax however there are instances where this is not the case. While usually free of Inheritance Tax, pensions can be subject to Income Tax if death is after age 75, so it is important to seek advice when thinking about how to pass on your estate in a tax-efficient manner.