Dreaming of an early retirement is what keeps many of us going through the daily grind, whether it’s looking forward to a round-the-world cruise, or simply doing the things we want to do when we want to do them.

The need for advice

Now in the second year of the pension freedom reforms, which took effect from April 2015, some retirement savers say they are still confused by the rules. The changes of April 2015 represented a complete shake-up of the UK’s pensions system. You now have greater choice and flexibility from you pension savings and deciding how you access these is an important step.

Those who receive financial advice are on average £40,000 better off than those who don’t.

A recent research report branded, ‘The Value of Financial Advice’, published by the International Longevity Centre – UK (ILC-UK) and Royal London found that those who received financial advice between 2001 and 2007 accumulated significantly more liquid financial assets and pension wealth than those who didn’t by 2012 to 2014.

The report examined the impact of advice on two groups:

  • the ‘affluent’, who are wealthier and more likely to have degrees and be homeowners; and
  • the ‘just getting by’, who are less wealthy and more likely to be single, rent and have lower education levels.

It found that the ‘affluent but advised’ accumulated on average £12,363 (17%) more in liquid financial assets than the affluent and non-advised group, and £30,882 (16%) more in pension wealth, making a total of £43,245.

Meanwhile the ‘just getting by but advised’ accumulated on average £14,036 (or 39%) more in liquid financial assets than the just getting by but non-advised group, and £25,859 (or 21%) more in pension wealth, bringing a total of £39,895.

Sir Steve Webb, director of policy at Royal London and former pensions minister, said:

“This powerful research shows for the first time the very real return to obtaining expert financial advice. Financial advice need not be the preserve of the better off but can make a real difference to the quality of life in retirement of people on lower incomes as well.”

Plan for the future

The message is clear, if you want certainty about your future and control over when you retire then it is important to make your own plans to save for the retirement you want. Retirement should be one of the most enjoyable and fulfilling stages of your life. It should offer exciting new opportunities and the financial freedom to fulfil your dreams – if you have planned well enough in advance.