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Pension freedoms complicate retirement decisions

Unadvised retirees who are now able to dip into their pension are having to return to work to cope with juggling their finances, according to Zurich.

The insurer says the drive in retirees returning to the workforce since the introduction of pension freedoms four years ago is due to the amount of options available and the lack of financial advice.

A quarter of retirees who have returned to work since April 2015 say they were faced with financial pressure.

Figures from HM Revenue and Customs show around one million over 55s withdrew a 25 per cent tax free lump sum from their pension in the last year, up 23 percentage points from the 12 months prior.

Zurich head of retail platform strategy Alistair Wilson says: “There is a lot to think about when you’re planning for retirement, and your circumstances will change over time, which is why it is often best to speak to an adviser.

“There’s no doubt the pensions freedoms have been hugely popular but for some retirees they have come at a high price. People now face more complicated decisions in retirement and it’s clear not everyone is getting it right.”

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Zurich figures show other common reasons for returning to work include reigniting a sense of purpose and boosting social relationships.

A report from the Pensions Policy Institute last week shows women particularly are continuing to struggle with pensions savings.

The average pension for a woman is currently £100,000 lower than for men.

AJ Bell analyst Laura Suter says: “We’ve long known that women’s pensions savings are hit by a combination of the gender pay gap, part-time working and the increased burden of childcare costs, but this figure lays bare the scale of the problem.

“Women face a triple whammy when it comes to pensions: first, they are not saving enough, second, they are not investing that money and third, they live longer and so on average need bigger pots than men at retirement.”


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There are 5 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. The lack of financial advice?? There is plenty out there, be it free guidance from PensionWise (as was) or paid for from financial advisers. Should this not report the lack of intent to seek financial advice?

  2. Individuals are returning to work as they do not have enough pension savings to support them.

  3. From the evidence given, i can’t see that it’s pension freedoms which have driven people back to work. The evidence does not give any example of someone running the pot dry and then having to return to work.
    My view is they would have returned because they don’t have enough income to live how they would like to. Had they chosen an annuity, it’s unlikely to have made a difference to the need to return to work. For me this story is more about encouraging customers to take advice. Then we return to the same argument. Some won’t pay for it, some (genuinely) don’t need it, some advisers won’t touch the business as it’s too small and so on.
    I’m a fan of pension freedoms. Customers should have choice. The industry needs to do better at making it easier to consumers, but where customers want and need advice – make it available (for a cost).

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