Advice Column: Pension Wise

Thursday 22 December 2016

As part of the Citizens Advice Exeter and The Express and Echo weekly advice column this week we focus on pension freedoms.

 I’ve heard that pension reforms mean that I can have full access to my pension pot when I turn 55. How do I work out what I should do with my pension savings?

 The pension reforms give people the freedom to access their defined contribution pension how and when they want. You can buy an annuity, or take your pension out in one go, or withdraw it bit by bit and leave some of it invested. Planning for your retirement can be complicated so it’s important to get guidance on your options.

The good news is that the Government has introduced Pension Wise, a free service offering guidance online, over the phone with The Pensions Advisory Service, or face to face with Citizens Advice. The appointments are pre-booked 45 minute sessions tailored to your individual circumstances. Guidance is impartial, meaning that they will not recommend products or services, but they will discuss your options and help you consider the impact.

To get the most out of Pension Wise guidance, preparation is key. First, work out the value of your pension pots. Look at your most recent statement, or contact your provider. Check if there are any restrictions attached. Next, get a state pension forecast, and gather the details of any benefits you receive.

The next step is to work out your likely expenditure. Include the cost of essentials like housing or utilities, and leisure activities. This should give you a rough budget.

Ensure that you have this information available for your Pension Wise appointment. Your guider will help you think through your circumstances, and discuss the options available to you.

For more information and advice go to or telephone the Pension Wise team on 01752 502 695.

 Look out for our column next week when we focus on cutting gas bills

 The information contained in these articles does not constitute advice. Citizens Advice Exeter and The Express and Echo accept no liability for the information published. Citizens Advice Exeter is unable to respond to individual requests for advice through these columns. Copyright Citizens Advice. For the most up-to-date information, please visit