The choice of which vehicle can provide the best savings returns over time – the Pension Pot or the ISA – is a long talked about topic. Standard Life recently published research which identified and compared tax and interest rate factors in relation to both options. With recent changes to rules governing inheritance, the research has also been updated to compare what can be passed on to family members on death and how tax efficient each method is.
According to HMRC, 45% of savers in stocks and shares ISAs are aged 55 or over. These savers already understand the mantra of ‘gross is good’ and have chosen an investment on which there’s no additional tax due on investment growth and income. What many investors seem to be unaware of is that the exact same tax treatment is available on funds held within a pension.
Women retiring in 2015 expect a retirement income 25% lower than men, according to the Prudential’s annual ‘Class of’ research. However, the research also reports that the retirement income gender gap is at its lowest since 2009, when Prudential first started tracking the difference between male and female retirement income expectations as part of its ‘Class of’ research. Women appear to be increasingly optimistic about their finances in retirement.
The Chancellor, George Osborne, has confirmed that from April 2016, some five million existing annuity holders will be given the right to sell their annuity in return for a lump sum. The move should give those pensioners who are already locked into potentially poor-value annuities the same freedoms as those retiring after April 2015, who will be able to spend their savings as they wish. Like any other saver taking cash out of their pension, the money will be subject to tax at their marginal rate – that is, the highest rate of income tax that they pay.
The New Pension Freedoms Checklist: Four Things You Must Do Before Making Any Decision About Your Savings
The new pension freedoms are great news for savers, with more flexibility and options for retirement now available. However, the freedoms also come with a level of risk, particularly for that first wave of savers looking to exercise their new rights in the next twelve months or so.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), on 4th March 2015, published a consultation paper on proposed changes to its pension transfer rules, designed to reflect the Government’s new flexible pensions regime. This regime will bring advice on transfers from defined benefit (DB) schemes to occupational defined contribution (DC) schemes into the FCA’s remit. Consumers will be required to take advice before transferring out of a DB scheme and it will be the responsibility of trustees to check that people have taken advice.