Advice Column: Pensionwise

Thursday 14th December 2017

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 I can have full access to my pension pot. How do I work out what I should do with my pension savings?

 Pension reforms have given 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 guidance is available through Pension Wise, a government-funded service offering people aged 50 or over free specialist guidance on their defined contribution pensions. We provide face-to-face Pension Wise appointments in our office in Dix’s Field. The appointments are pre-booked 45 minute sessions tailored to individual circumstances. Guidance is impartial, meaning that we will not recommend products or services, but we will discuss your options and help you consider the impact.

A recent major report about Pension Wise looked at the different outcomes for those who have used the service compared to those who haven’t. Some of its key findings include:

  • People are more aware of their retirement options after a Pension Wise appointment
  • People make positive decisions following an appointment
  • People are happy with the service Pension Wise provides

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. To book your free guidance appointment, go to

 Look out for our column next week when we focus on our Talk About Abuse campaign.

 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