How to book your free Pension Wise appointment

Deciding what to do with your pension savings at retirement could be one of the most important financial decisions you ever make.

To help you navigate the options available to you, the government created Pension Wise, a free, impartial guidance service. Now, new rules mean that everyone over-50 must be prompted to consider a Pension Wise appointment if they want to access their savings or transfer their pension out.

These changes mean we can’t send you your retirement quote and forms until you have either received guidance following a Pension Wise appointment or officially opted out and notified us that you are opting out using the declaration form. You’ll receive a Pension Wise declaration form in the pack we send you, so it’s important you consider carefully and make a decision about the appointment swiftly to avoid any delays in moving forward with your plans.

Making the right choices

Decisions about retirement should not be taken lightly. There are several options on offer, and the path you choose could influence everything from your income tax bill to what you can pass onto loved ones when you die inheritance-tax free.

Making the wrong choices can be costly, for instance, withdrawing too much at once could mean 45% of your savings go directly to HMRC.

There are four main options, and it is possible to combine them. These are:

  • A 25% tax-free lump sum
  • Drawdown – keeping money invested while accessing a flexible income
  • UFPLUS – flexible lump sums when you need them
  • An annuity (guaranteed income for life)

You can find out more about the different choices in our explainer.

The benefits of Pension Wise

The Pension Wise service can help you understand your overall financial situation and the important factors you should think about before deciding what to do with your savings.

The appointments typically last between 45 and 60 minutes. To make the most of it, come armed with details of all your pensions pots. It’s handy to know how much is in each and whether they have any special features. Think carefully about what you want retirement to look like, and what annual or monthly income you might need to achieve it.

A specialist will then:

  • explain your pension options
  • explain how each option is taxed
  • discuss things you need to consider before deciding
  • warn you about scams and how to spot them
  • tell you what your next steps are

You may also be prompted to seek independent financial advice. This can be a good idea, particularly if you have significant savings or want a personalised recommendation. An adviser can go much further than a Pension Wise expert, because they will offer you tailored, bespoke advice based on your circumstances and goals. This can include specific products that might suit your needs.

It’s well worth accessing the guidance. It’s free and it can make sure you’ve considered your options. This can help ensure that the path you take is right for you.