Changes mean free pension advice available for over-50s

MORAY CITIZENS ADVICE is welcoming new suitability rules over a service that provides guidance for people approaching pension age.

The ‘Pension Wise’ service had until now only been made available to people who were at or approaching 55 years of age – however, that has now been opened out to become available to anyone over 50.

This means many more holders of Defined Contribution pension schemes can book an appointment to receive phone or face to face guidance on the range of choices available since the introduction of the new ‘pension freedoms’ in April 2015.

Melinda Macdonald, local Pension Wise Guidance Specialist, said: “Until now, we have only been able to offer guidance appointments to people approaching 55.

“That’s been great for those people about to make decisions about how they are going to access their pension pots. I am delighted that we are now able to offer the same guidance service to people aged 50 and over.

“Many of us want to plan ahead, and receiving information about pension options can be a really useful part of that planning process.”

Since April 2015 people have been able to access their pension as they wish, and can now buy an annuity (a guaranteed, regular income), take all your pension out in one go as cash, or withdraw it bit by bit and leave the rest of it invested.

People can usually take out 25% of your pension tax free. For everything else they withdraw it will be added together with any other income you have in that year and taxed at your marginal rate.

Ms Macdonald added: “It’s important to be aware of the tax implications of any decision you make as well as watching out for any charges. Take your time to shop around for the best deal.”

Anyone aged 50 or over with a Defined Contribution pension scheme who wants to arrange a face to face guidance appointment should contact Moray CAB on 01343 550088, or alternatively, just call into the Citizens Advice Bureau at 6 Moss St Elgin.

They can also book a telephone appointment by calling 0300 330 1001.