We provide tailored advice and guidance on pension planning, helping you understand your options and maximise your retirement savings. Our expertise allows us to navigate complex pension regulations and investment strategies to optimise your financial future.
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Why do I need a pension?

When you retire you still need food and shelter as an absolute minimum, but of course you will want to maintain the lifestyle to which you have become accustomed, so unless you can guarantee a large inheritance or windfall, then you need to provide yourself with a secure income for the rest of your life.

A well-prepared pension plan which is regularly reviewed should go some way to providing you with a reasonable level of income in your retirement.

A pension plan requires action as soon as possible, so start now - and if you have already started, take the opportunity to have a closer look at your existing arrangements to make sure you are on track.

How much am I going to need for my retirement?

The answer to this, of course, depends on your aspirations - what will you want to do? What will be the costs of day-to-day living for you (and your partner) in retirement? What else will you want to do now you have time on your hands? What expenses will disappear, for example children or mortgage repayments?

Once you come up with a figure, add in an amount as a buffer against the unforeseen and unexpected. Now you will have arrived at the amount of pension that you should ideally be planning for. Also, bear in mind that pensions are taxable, so you will need to allow for payment of Income Tax when arriving at your final pension figure.

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I already have a pension, so I'll be fine, won't I?

It is very important that you review the benefits of your scheme and the status of your personal plan, to establish if it is on track to give you the pension you want.

If you are in an employer's scheme you will be able to obtain a statement from either your employer or the pension provider outlining the scheme benefits. Alternatively, contact us and we can analyse your current provisions and make any recommendations with the aim of achieving your goals.

For a personal pension, the level of contributions you have been making to your scheme, investment performance and charges will determine the size of your pension, however, as the years go by, your fund should increase and could eventually get to a size where the investment returns come into play. The larger your fund, the more advice you may need on managing the fund for optimum performance, because every percentage point increase or decrease could potentially represent thousands of pounds.

We will be pleased to regularly assess your benefits to establish whether they still have the potential to meet your objectives and make appropriate recommendations to you.

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What type of pension should I have?

There is no simple answer as this depends on your employment status, e.g. self-employed, employed or director, and the benefits that are available through your employer’s scheme, if there is one.

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What tax benefits are available with personal pensions?The table to the right, outlines available benefits.
Tax BracketYou PayHMRC PaysPayment into pensionFurther tax relief claimed from HMRCCost to you
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Personal Pension Plans
A personal pension plan helps you save money for retirement and is available to any United Kingdom resident who is between the ages of 16 and 75 (Children under 16 cannot start a plan in their own right but a Legal Guardian can start one on their behalf). You, in conjunction with your adviser, choose the pension provider and make the arrangements for paying the contributions to the plan. You can start a personal pension even if you have a workplace pension or if you’re self-employed and don’t have a workplace pension. You don’t have to be working to take out a Personal Pension Plan and you can also provide a Personal Pension Plan for your spouse/partner or your child/children. When you contribute to a Personal Pension plan, your money is invested by the pension provider (usually an insurance company) to build up a fund/pension pot over a number of years.
Workplace Pension
Every payday, a percentage of the employee’s pay is deducted automatically from their salary or wages and invested in the scheme. The employer also contributes to the scheme on the employee’s behalf as does the government in the form of tax relief.
State Pension
A State Pension is a regular payment made by the government to people who have paid or been credited with a minimum amount of Class 1, 2 or 3 National Insurance Contributions and have reached State Pension age.
Which state pension do I claim?

There are currently two State Pension systems — each system has different rules.

The State Pension for individuals reaching State Pension age prior to 5 April 2016 (‘old’ State Pension).

The new State Pension (for individuals reaching State Pension age after 5 April 2016).

This summary applies only to women born on or after 6 April 1953 and men born on or after 6 April 1951.

Meet the team - Darren DixDarren Dix qualified as one of the youngest independent financial advisors in the country in 1997 when he established Sterling Financial Services. Initially specialising in Mortgages and protection he quickly added a wealth management arm due to the high demand from his clients