About The UK Pensions Blog
Welcome to the UK Pensions Blog, a journey into the brave new world of pension freedoms and pension income drawdown.
The New Drawdown Pension rules introduced in the 2015 Budget offer unprecedented freedom to manage your pension as you wish – from withdrawing all of your pension pot in one go, to managing your investments carefully so that your pension pays out a regular income for the rest of your retirement – and everything in between!
Why a Blog about UK Pensions?
The UK Pensions Blog is a story of discovery, written by a moderately financially literate, newly enabled pensioner keen to take control of his future prosperity in retirement.
When starting to research the options for managing my own pension I realised that there were no sites that collated all the information available and kept it up to date in a comprehensive, non-commercial, yet easy to understand manner – so I created the Blog. I have included in the Blog all my research into the options now available under the new rules, and happily share it, together with my calculators, frustrations, trials and tribulations. Hopefully it will be of value to you if you are in the same boat, and should certainly save you time in researching your option. I hope some of you will feel inclined to share your own experiences and comments so we can build an independent and valuable resource for everyone keen to maximise the return on their pension pot.
If you are over 55 and planning to take your pension you will need to make it last for upwards of 25 – 30 years, so getting it right is crucial to your future prosperity. Having access to the right information at your fingertips is invaluable in helping to make right decision, whatever your own particular circumstances. In the UK Pensions Blog my aim is to share with, and invite you to contribute to a comprehensive resource of information, news, drawdown calculators, reviews and tips that will help us all to manage our drawdown pension in the most profitable manner possible.
Managing a pension for perhaps 30 years is not everyone’s cup of tea, nor is everyone psychologically suited to the task. I would encourage you to look at the Risks and Psychology of Investing section of the Blog before making such a commitment – I managed to tick off at least a few of the psychological ‘Pooh traps’ that investors can fall into if they are not aware of their existence. If you decide after reading it that managing your own drawdown pension is not for you – Great! At least if you entrust it to a regulated and professional adviser you will probably still have some money left in the later stages of your retirement. If you do decide to go ahead, knowing the psychological pitfalls of investment can help you avoid making them, and an understanding of the risks will hopefully let you navigate them better.
If you are relatively new to investing I hope you will find the general information covered in the blog of value (just let us know if there are areas we haven’t covered, or where you would like more information ). If, on the other hand, you are a sophisticated investor and have already done some research, then feel free just to use our Income Drawdown Calculators, UK Pensions News Magazine, copious links to useful and up to date third party content, and regularly updated Platform Best Buy tables.
With most of the content on the Blog we are not planning to reinvent the wheel if we don’t have to – there are some excellent commentators and writers on Pensions out there, so where a journalist, analyst, fellow blogger or pension provider has done the work already, for example in creating a SIPP provider Best Buy table, we will seek out the best and most comprehensive examples and provide links so you can read them at the original source. A word of caution though – it is clear that some commercial companies create tables in such a way as to show their own company in a particularly good light. Fair enough! If we think this is the case, but believe it is worth sharing anyway, we will highlight it in our comments.
Our Newsletter will provide a regular update of all the latest Pensions news from newspapers, the Pensions Blog Forum and online sources. We will include content from industry or Government that we think is worth a read, information on funds and platforms, and will liberally sprinkle it with a miscellany of interesting views and thoughts. You can sign up for it over on the right hand side of the page or when you leave the site.Wealth warning!
Do please seek qualified financial advice if you are serious about managing your own drawdown pension – pensions are complex financial products and getting it wrong can have potentially disastrous consequences. Also, please note that nothing in The UK Pensions Blog should be considered, construed or treated as financial advice or encouragement to invest. We are not regulated by anyone and, apart from a passion for pensions, we have no financial services qualifications. We just seek to provide information, and collate useful tips from our readers that will allow you to make the best decisions for your own circumstances. For more on the philosophy of the site and disclosure details on which providers and resources I use to manage my own pension, please read on.
A Little About Me
After a career spanning 20 years in the Army, Corporate Communications and Marketing roles with major corporations and an exciting spell as a tech entrepreneur I have reached that age where, thanks to the new Government drawdown pension rules I can now take my pension and manage it flexibly. I have a DB pension from the Army (which I can’t transfer) and a variety of pensions from previous employments, all now consolidated and invested with Hargreaves Lansdown.
There is enough in the pot (hopefully) to make it last throughout my retirement if I manage it carefully. The new rules give me the freedom to invest it and manage it effectively, but doing so is not a trivial matter and there are lots of factors to consider – everyone’s personal circumstances will be different, and it’s certainly more complicated than it should be.
I have created The UK Pensions Blog partly to provide me with the information I myself needed to manage my pension effectively. In doing so I hope that you too can take advantage of the research, news, calculators and investment ideas l curate from across the Pensions world to manage your own drawdown pension and meet your own personal needs and aspirations.
Important Disclosure Note
I consider myself financially literate, although far from an expert, and I have neither a financial background nor any relevant financial qualifications. More importantly perhaps from the perspective of the blog I am not bound by the regulatory constraints imposed on financial institutions such as pensions providers. I can therefore say what I want in this blog and draw on the experience of our readers, as well as collating the most insightful and useful content and news from the many advisers and providers out there.
It is not the role or intention of the Blog to make any pension recommendations or provide advice – for both of these you need to be properly qualified and regulated. I would however strongly advise you to take proper financial advice from someone who is before embarking on pension drawdown – it is after all a major decision that will impact your financial health for several decades to come.
Which Providers do I Use and Pay for?
For many years I have used the Hargreaves Lansdown investment platform to manage my investments. I like their online service and their really neat HL Live App for smartphones which is great, whether you are an account holder or not. I also like the comprehensive information and newsletters they provide on all aspects of retirement and pension drawdown planning. I quite accept that there are many other providers and platforms out there – some of whom will almost certainly be cheaper, and others that may offer more information (both of which key considerations we will be reviewing in the blog). You will no doubt see some of their advertising on the blog, as they are the biggest provider of pensions and investment services in the UK and they advertise a lot – but I have no relationship with them other than that they are included in the site’s wider affiliate program.
I also use the Saltydog Investor web site for monitoring my investments and helping me to make investment decisions. They have two model portfolios, created using their investment philosophy of momentum investing. Their ‘tugboat’ portfolio has increased by 48% since launching in 2010 and they provide a weekly comprehensive update to members with extensive and easily accessible data for over 21,000 UK Unit Trusts and OEICs. There is more about Saltydog in the Investment Approaches to Consider section of the Blog.
Which Free Services do I Use?
The other services and tools l use are drawn from a combination of personal recommendation, those I have read about online, those I have researched myself to identify the ones that meet my particular needs, and finally those that have advertised online in some form or other.
A lot of the services I use are to allow me to monitor my portfolio (FT Portfolio), plan and research my investments (Trustnet), and collate and curate all the relevant news about Pensions that apears in the UK media or is issued by providers (Flipboard and YouTube).
With so many providers and companies in the pensions sector it is almost impossible to try out every tool available, so those companies that promote themselves well or advertise effectively are at a significant advantage. Hopefully, drawing on your feedback we can come up with the optimum set of tools and services for the active drawdown investor.
So – if you use any free services that you like (or paid ones that you consider exceptional value), do please share them with us in the appropriate Forum topic.