Profile Pensions answer your pension questions

old couple and money

No matter how you plan to spend your ahem 'golden era', making the most of your pension fund is vital for a happy, comfortable retirement. We sat down with Profile Pensions so they could answer your burning pension questions

Who are Profile Pensions?

Profile Pensions are an independent pension adviser with a mission to help people better understand – and improve – their pensions.

They provide a pension tracing service that finds any pensions you may have lost track of through moving employer, moving house or changing your name and tell you about them for free, with no obligation. You can trace your pensions yourself through HMRC, but it's quite a convoluted process and can be time-consuming. Once Profile Pensions have thoroughly investigated your personal situation, they will review your pensions against the whole market and offer impartial advice to help you get the pension deal that's right for you. You will only be charged if you choose to switch your pension with Profile Pensions.

Trace your pensions

Is it possible to have all of your pensions transferred into one?

If you have multiple pension pots and you're toying with consolidating them, you have a few options available to you. Profile Pensions do recommend that you talk to a professional about your specific situation in order to find a solution that works for you, but we have also outlined the different ways of managing multiple pensions below:

  • Your previous pensions are transferred into your current workplace pension
  • Your pensions are consolidated in a completely different pension

Is it safe to have a large pot with just one provider?

Putting your money into the care of a professionally-managed fund should actually lower the level of risk attached to your investments, as the provider is responsible for ensuring that your pension is invested in the right fund for you. This means that they will consider the level of risk you are comfortable with, the performance of your investments, and any associated charges when choosing a fund for you.

If you spread your pension across lots of different funds, you are responsible for keeping track of your own investments and ensuring that they still work for you.

How much should I be putting into my pension monthly?

Unfortunately, there is no simple answer to this question, because it is so dependent on your individual circumstances. Ensuring that you save enough for a comfortable retirement is a nagging worry for many people, but pension payments often get deprioritised in favour of more pressing financial demands; making sure that you are putting something into your pension each month is key and a great habit to get into. It's worth noting that pension payments are flexible and can be increased or decreased to reflect any change in your circumstances, and you get tax relief on your pension contributions so some of the money that you would have paid in tax on your earnings goes into your pension pot.

How do you plan for retirement with multiple private pensions?

Keeping track of multiple private pensions can seem overwhelming, but Profile Pensions will contact all of your providers, collate the information and present it to you so you can make informed decisions about your financial future. They also stress the importance of regularly checking on the status of all of your pensions, which is why they offer an ongoing review service to keep you in the loop.

What advice would you give to couples considering a pension?

If neither you nor your partner have a workplace pension, you need to sit down and work out what your retirement plans are and how much money you will need to fund them. Professional advice can be helpful for determining how much you each need to contribute to individual private pensions and what kind of joint retirement income that will yield.

Making the most of your pension

If you'd like to find out whether you've got missing pensions, would like professional advice on managing your pension, or have a question that wasn't covered in the video, you can give Profile Pensions a call on 01772 804 404 or visit their website. On average, they uncover £25,000 per missing pension so it's definitely worth a try.

Trace your pensions

Video Transcription

[Mumsnet] Today we’re talking pensions – we've got Michelle Gribbin who is from Profile Pensions and we're going to be covering some of the questions that come up about pensions on the boards.

Is it possible to have all of your pensions pots transferred into one?

[Mumsnet] Our first question comes from somebody who's got several pension pots – four in total – is there any point in her transferring them in across into a current workplace scheme?

[Profile Pensions] The key answer to the question is in seeking advice. So for me there are a couple of different options available and I think at the point that you're actually considering transferring the pensions and consolidating, which may well be a very good idea, it's worth getting professional advice. So that advice may be either that the monies are consolidated and go into the workplace pension, or that they go into a completely different pension. The issue with the workplace pension is that it may or may not be the right solution, but of course it is an employer's choice of solution. So it might be worth considering whether there is a more suitable personalized solution.

Is it safe to have a large pot with just one provider?

[Mumsnet] I think this is a really interesting question. Somebody's asking: is it a risk allowing a pension pot to go large with just one provider?

[Profile Pensions] In terms of actually talking about the risks of having your monies invested with one provider, I think actually you're lowering your risk by doing that because you're putting your money into a professionally managed fund. This means that the provider and that the person who houses that fund for you is responsible for making sure that that pension is invested in the right fund, in the right fund for your attitude to risk, into something that performs adequately, and where the charges are actually the right charges for you. So if you were to go away and to diversify into lots of different funds you're taking the responsibility of monitoring those funds on an ongoing basis and making sure they remain suitable which is quite difficult thing.

How much should I be putting into my pensions monthly

[Mumsnet] Somebody's asking how much they should be saving theoretically every month into a pension so that they don't retire penniless.

[Profile Pensions] There is no magic formula in terms of paying into a pension and it all depends on individual circumstances – so factors such as how much you earn and what you want in retirement when you're looking to retire – but I think the key point to make here is that people should pay something into the pension. It is flexible, it can be increased, ad-hoc payments can be made into a pension, and, of course, there is always the added benefit that there is tax relief going into that pension so whatever you pay in more money goes in before it even starts to grow.

[Mumsnet] Okay, that's really useful to know – absolutely.
How do you plan for retirement with multiple private pensions
[Mumsnet] This is quite a complicated question; it's from somebody who's asking – she has got multiple private pensions – but what she's asked me is basically: is there an app that maybe can stitch all of this stuff together, in terms of savings and pension-planning, so that she can kind of get an overall picture of what she should be doing?

[Profile Pensions] No matter how complex your pension situation is, at Profile we offer a telephone service where we review your pension. So we write off to your existing providers, pull all the information together, and put you in an informed position to make a choice about the right way for you going forward. But I think it's really important to mention: the key to this is keeping on top of that and reviewing it on an ongoing basis and, again, we offer an ongoing review service where we will do that for you

What advice would you give to couple considering a pension?

[Mumsnet] And the final question is from somebody – neither she or her partner have a workplace pension – and she's wondering what is the best way for her to save for the future?

[Profile Pensions] It's very important that you and your partner sit down together and determine what it is that you want in the future, what that income is going to look like, and what your retirement plans are. I think in terms of professional advice that can bring it together so you're deciding how much you each need to contribute to an individual pension and how much that will contribute to your total joint retirement.

[Mumsnet] Thanks Michelle, it's really interesting and also good to know that you can actually get this kind of advice on the phone – so, basically, if you haven't got time to actually to go in and make an appointment to visit somebody in person. Thanks very much – it's great – thank you. And thank you for spending the time to talk to me about pensions – really interesting.

[Profile Pensions] Thank you – and thank you for taking the time to talk to me about pensions.

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