If you have a defined contribution (DC) pension scheme, you are entitled to free guidance as you approach retirement, through the government's Pension Wise service.
How will I receive this guidance?
The Pension Wise guidance is delivered by independent organisations selected by HM Treasury, so is impartial of product providers. They include the Pensions Advisory Service (TPAS) and Citizens Advice. Guidance is available via a number of channels, including face-to-face consultations and on the phone, with a consultation taking roughly 25 minutes.
What’s the difference between guidance and advice?
You will have your retirement options explained to you in broad terms. Your guidance provider will help you understand the choices available under pension freedom and what these mean. However, your consultation will not recommend any particular courses of action. In other words, they cannot tell you which option might be best for your particular circumstances. This is why Pension Wise is described as offering guidance rather than advice.
Find out more about the differences in our Guidance vs. Advice table.
So how useful is this guidance?
If you are at all unclear about what pension freedom means, then you should find the Pension Wise guidance extremely useful. However, in most cases you will still need to consult a financial adviser as well. Following your Pension Wise consultation, you will have a clearer idea about what questions to ask your adviser, and you should find it a lot easier to discuss your situation with him or her.
Why you also need professional advice
Most people will find that the Pension Wise guidance is helpful, but not enough for them to make a confident choice about their income in retirement. Not only do you need to decide on the best course of action, you will probably also need someone to help you put those plans into effect. A financial adviser can help you with all of this, and also find the provider(s) from across the whole of the market that offer the best value for you.