No More Pension Changes, Urge Shell-Shocked Over 55s

Pension savers feel they have been bombarded with changes over recent years and find retirement options confusing.

Two thirds of over 55s do not understand pension freedoms and three-quarters want no more changes.

Many also fear the government will meddle with the state pension and tax relief on pension savings will be cut.

But they favour the new option to spend some of their pension cash on professional financial advice to boost their savings.

The research was by financial giant Prudential, which asked 867 over 55s for their views on retirement saving two years after pension freedoms were introduced in April 2015.

Unaware of new rules

The survey found that many over 55s were unfamiliar with many of the new rules:

Although 68% knew they could access 25% of the pension savings as a tax-free lump sum and savers knew they no longer had any obligation to buy an annuity (58%), awareness of other rules was not so widespread.

Only 48% knew they had to pay tax on the remaining 75% of their pension fund after taking the tax-free lump sum, while a similar number (47%) realised they could take their pension cash from the age of 55.

But only 30% understood they could transfer workplace retirement funds to a private pension; three-quarters had no idea they could leave their pension as an inheritance and 84% did not know they had to take advice before they cashed in or moved pension funds of £30,000 or more.

Too much tax paid on savings

Since April 2015, around 550,000 retirement savers have taken £9.2 billion from their pensions.

“Two years on from the introduction of the new rules there is also widespread confusion with two out of three over-55s admitting they don’t fully understand the reforms. This lack of understanding may be a contributing factor in pension-related tax paid to the Treasury being higher than originally expected,” said Vince Smith-Hughes, a retirement income expert at Prudential.

“That underlines the importance of advice and guidance in ensuring that the pension freedoms are a long-term success and it is encouraging that many savers recognise how advice can help them to make the most of their retirement pot.

“The pension freedoms provide a framework of rules but it is down to individuals to seek help where needed to enable them to plan how to meet their financial goals.”

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