Pensions

Financial advice for women

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Only 16% of Financial Advisors in the UK are women, compared to 84% of men.

At Ellis Bates, 35% of our Financial Advisors are women and we encourage all women of all ages to come to us for financial advice. We have a diverse staff and are able to offer the choice of a female Financial Advisor for women who would feel more comfortable speaking to another woman.

If you would like to speak to one of our female Financial Advisors, please get in touch with us to book a free initial chat.

The Gender Pension Gap Issue

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73% of women make only minimum pension contributions, compared to 58% of men.

A significant difference in pension contributions between men and women has been revealed from a recent study[1], highlighting that women are more likely to pay the minimum required amount into their pensions under auto-enrolment.

According to a study, 73% of women contribute the minimum amount (5% of their salary, topped up with 3% from their employer), while only 58% of men do the same. Additionally, 25% of men regularly contribute more than the minimum, compared to 17% of women. Moreover, 10% of men occasionally make extra lump sum contributions, whereas only 5% of women follow suit.

Working days for extended periods

This disparity in contribution levels contributes to the UK’s gender pension gap, which is estimated to have been nearly 40% in 2019/20[2]. Women not only contribute less as a percentage of their salary but are also 32%[3] more likely to reduce their working days for extended periods, affecting their earning potential.

Factors like falling below the autoenrollment threshold, taking career breaks for motherhood or caring responsibilities, and long-term health conditions further impact women’s financial futures.

Cultural shifts in recent decades

The difference in contribution levels will ultimately lead to financial inequality in retirement. Even though auto-enrolment has successfully brought over ten million people into the pension system, the current minimum contribution levels are insufficient for a comfortable retirement.

Life stages affecting women’s earning power exacerbate the gender pension gap. Despite cultural shifts in recent decades, women still bear the brunt of caring responsibilities for children and vulnerable adults. The government’s free childcare offerings may help improve the situation, but further expansion of the auto-enrolment scheme is necessary to make significant progress.

Financial advice for your retirement

To enjoy the retirement you’ve been dreaming of and be in control of your retirement plan, do not hesitate to get in touch to speak to one of our Independent Financial Advisors.

Important Information: A pension is a long-term investment not normally accessible until age 55 (57 from April 2028 unless the plan has a protected pension age). The value of your investments (and any income from them) can go down as well as up, which would have an impact on the level of pension benefits available. Your pension income could also be affected by the interest rates at the time you take your benefits.

Source data: [1] Boxclever conducted research among 6,000 UK adults. Fieldwork was conducted 6 Sept – 16 October 2022. Data was weighted post- fieldwork to ensure the data remained nationally representative on key demographics.
[2] ‘The Gender Pension Gap’, House of Commons Library, 4 April 2022.
[3] ‘Caught in a gap: the role of employers in enabling women to build better pensions’, Phoenix Insights, December 2022.

Our Pension Services

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We offer help and financial advice on all aspects of pension planning, from the basics of pension savings and tax-relief to the more complex areas of pension sharing on divorce and estate planning.

There are various benefits of pension planning including tax relief, potential cost savings and legacy planning.

One of the main benefits is making sure that you are on track to meet your retirement goals. Our Financial Advisors use sophisticated cash flow forecasting software to help you bring your financial future to life.

How much of my pension can I take tax-free?

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Many over-55s are unaware that they can access 25% of their pension pot tax-free.

A surprising 43% of individuals over 55 need to be made aware that they can withdraw 25% of their pension pot tax-free, according to recent research[1]. Knowledge could lead to better decision making when it comes to accessing pension savings.

Similarly, 52% of those surveyed between the ages of 50 and 54 were also unaware of this rule, indicating a widespread lack of understanding about pension withdrawal options.

We answer the important questions regarding tax-free pension withdrawals.

How much can I withdraw from my pension tax-free?

Typically, most people can withdraw 25% of their total pension pot tax-free, although this may vary depending on the type of pension plan and if you’ve exceeded your lifetime allowance. The remaining 75% is subject to Income Tax when withdrawn.

When can I take my tax-free lump sum?

Generally, you can access your pension savings, including the tax-free lump sum, at age 55 (rising to 57 in 2028). In rare cases, you may be able to access your pension earlier due to ill health or a protected scheme.

Can I take my lump sum in smaller amounts?

This depends on your pension product and its terms. Taking smaller withdrawals over time can be beneficial in most cases, as it allows for potential growth and tax-efficiency.

Should I take my lump sum immediately?

It’s essential to consider the longevity of your pension savings throughout retirement. Taking too much too soon could result in running out of funds later in life. Delaying access to your savings may allow for additional growth.

Are there any implications to be aware of?

Accessing your pension savings can impact state benefits, such as Universal Credit or Pension Credit. Additionally, taking a tax-free lump sum won’t affect the amount you can contribute to your pension plan, but accessing taxable income may reduce your annual allowance.

Professional financial advice

Understanding your pension withdrawal options and seeking professional financial advice will help you make informed decisions and maximise your retirement savings. To learn more about how we can help you, please contact us today.

Source data: [1] Opinium conducted research among 2,000 UK adults aged 18+ between 12″16 May 2023 for Standard Life, part of Phoenix Group. Results have been weighted to be nationally representative.

Important information: A pension is a long-term investment not normally accessible until age 55 (57 from April 2028 unless the plan has a protected pension age). The value of your investments (and any income from them) can go down as well as up, which would have an impact on the level of pension benefits available. Your pension income could also be affected by the interest rates at the time you take your benefits.

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7 Benefits of Financial Planning

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7 Benefits of Financial Advice

Whether you want your money to work harder or if you are approaching retirement and want to make informed decisions about your pension options we will offer expert, qualified advice at every stage of your journey.

  • To help you build your assets
  • To help you achieve your financial goals
  • To plan the right investment strategy for you
  • To help you tax plan efficiently
  • To help you plan for retirement
  • To protect you and your family
  • To give you financial peace of mind

We will work together with you to create a holistic, comprehensive financial plan to achieve your goals. Please get in touch with us for more information.

Financial Freedom

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Professional financial advice matters by helping you make informed decisions about how to best allocate your resources.

Financial planning is a crucial step towards achieving financial freedom and security. By taking the time to thoroughly evaluate your needs and personal goals, you’ll be able to make informed decisions about how to best allocate your resources.

With a comprehensive professional financial plan in hand, you’ll have the confidence and peace of mind to pursue your short-term goals and work towards your long-term future. With professional guidance, you’ll be inspired to realise that you have far more resources at your disposal than you ever imagined.

Early retirement

According to a recent study, UK consumers who receive professional financial advice can expect to retire on average three years earlier than those who do not seek professional advice, with advised consumers planning for retirement at age 66 as opposed to non-advised consumers who expect to retire at 69[1].

This underlines the positive impact that professional financial advice can have on retirement preparations, with those who seek advice feeling better equipped for their later years. The study identified that twice as many people who seek financial advice create a detailed spending plan in retirement compared to those who don’t take advice, with 45% of advised people falling under this category as opposed to 18% of non-advised consumers.

Enjoying retirement

Financially advised consumers expect to fund their retirement for a longer period, with an average of 23 years, compared to 17 years for non-advised people before pertinent cutbacks must be made. In addition, the study reveals that financial planning tends to be beneficial for people already in retirement.

Almost all (96%) of wealthy retirees who did a great deal of financial planning or just planned their finances slightly say they’re enjoying their retirement, dropping to 72% among those who have done no financial planning.

How much do I need to retire

Regrets for non-advised retirees are more pronounced, with the majority stating that they require more money in retirement compared to their original estimates, and that they wished they had planned more thoroughly, compared to advised people.

Despite having a higher household income, 23% of wealthier pensioners, with an income of between £40,000 and £49,999, wished they had planned more thoroughly, indicating that the value of advice remains consistent regardless of income.

Retirement Planning Services

Planning for retirement can be overwhelming, leading to several considerations, making financial advice crucial for people to feel more confident and prepared about their future. The research results underscore the significant variation between the retirement plans and experiences of those who have taken advantage of financial advice and those who haven’t.

The research findings demonstrate the value of professional financial advice in terms of the retirement age and the enjoyment of one’s retired life. Start planning today, and take the first step towards a brighter tomorrow.

Financial Planning Services

Financial planning can certainly feel complicated at first glance, but with the right guidance, it can be a smooth and stress-free process. At every step of your financial planning journey, we’re dedicated to providing you with accessible financial advice to support you in making informed decisions about your finances.

Cash Flow Forecasting

Our Financial Advisers use sophisticated cash flow forecasting software which helps you to visualise your expenditure, income and preferred lifestyle. It also allows us to simulate different scenarios and stress test how much financial resilience you may have to factors outside of your control, such as life events, economic changes and volatile markets.

If you have any concerns about your financial future or would like to find out more, please contact us.

Source data: [1] Boxclever conducted research for Standard Life among 6,000 UK adults. Fieldwork was conducted between 6 Sept–16 October 2022. Data was weighted post-fieldwork to ensure the data remained nationally representative on key demographics. Comparisons to data from last year are taken from Boxclever research among 4,896 UK adults conducted between 16-23 July 2021.

Cost of living and retirement

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Cost of living and retirement

Over 2.5 million people aged 55+ think they will work beyond their state pension age.

  • 23% are uncertain of how long their retirement savings will last.
  • 18% admit to not having made preparations for when they stop working.
  • 45% worry their health will deteriorate as a result of continuing to work.
  • 35% are concerned their health will affect their ability to remain employed.
  • 16% are concerned about being treated differently because of their age.
  • 16% worry about not being able to spend enough time with their family.

If you are concerned about the cost of living and retirement then please get in touch to discuss how our retirement planning services can help you.

How to decide when to retire

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A couple sat working through their finances and pension planning

Over a third of over-55s think they will work beyond their state pension age.

We are witnessing a surge in the number of people giving retirement a second thought due to inflation rates and the cost of living crisis. Not only are more individuals looking to work beyond their State Pension age, but some are returning to employment after retiring due to increasing financial pressures.

Over 2.5 million people aged 55 and over will be impacted by the long-term effects of financial insecurity and think they will continue to work past their State Pension age. Additionally, half of those aged 55 and over don’t believe their pension is enough to fund their retirement, a survey has revealed[1].

Increasing cost of living

Nearly four in ten over-55s who are not retired anticipate having to work past their State Pension age due to the increasing cost of living. Financial concerns surrounding retirement funding are the top drivers behind working beyond State Pension age.

A quarter (23%) are uncertain of how long their retirement savings will last, and almost one-fifth (18%) admit to not having made any preparations for when they stop working.

Ability to remain employed

Nearly half (46%) of the millions of older workers expecting to work past their State Pension age are apprehensive that doing so will mean they can’t enjoy their later years.

Health, too, is another major concern, with nearly half (45%) worrying their health will deteriorate as a result of having to continue working and more than a third (35%) concerned it will affect their ability to remain employed.

Heavy financial strain

Worryingly, 16% are concerned about being treated differently or worse at work because of their age and the same number worried about not being able to spend enough time with their family due to work commitments.

Looking ahead, the older workforce is expected to be crucial to the UK’s economic recovery as it will help ease severe labour shortages, yet this warning sign points to heavy financial strain many are facing.

Cash flow forecasting

We all want to be in control of our retirement plans and feel confident we can stop working when we want to so that we can enjoy the retirement we deserve.

We use sophisticated cash flow forecasting software and together we can plan and analyse your financial goals, review how changing circumstances could impact this plan and to see how likely it is these financial goals can be achieved.

If you are worried about how your current situation and the cost of living could impact on your retirement savings, we are here to talk through your options. To find out more, please speak to us.

Important information: A pension is a long-term investment not normally accessible until age 55 (57 from April 2028 unless plan has a protected pension age). The value of your investments (and any income from them) can go down as well as up which would have an impact on the level of pension benefits available. Your pension income could also be affected by the interest rates at the time you take your benefits.

Source data: [1] Survey conducted by Opinium among 2,000 UK adults between 21-25 October 2022.

State Pension boosting deadline extended to April 2025

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State Pension boosting deadline extended to April 2025

  • Ensure you are eligible to receive the full State Pension
  • Consider buying extra National Insurance Contributions. You have until April 2025. The standard cost for a week is £15.85
  • Check to see if you can receive the maximum amount of £203.85 (how much you will get depends on how many ‘qualifying’ NI years you have)
  • State Pension Forecast Calculator – check your NI payments record at https://www.gov.uk/check-state-pension

Get in touch with us today for independent financial advice on your retirement planning.

The deadline to top up missing National Insurance years has been extended

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Check you are entitled to full State Pension, the deadline has been extended for topping any missing National Insurance Contributions.

Chartered Financial Planner, Colin Welsh, discusses the increase to the State Pension, why it is an important part of retirement planning and how you can check what you are entitled to.