Shetland Islands Citizens Advice Bureau   Shetland Islands Citizens Advice Bureau
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Pension wise was launched in April 2015 as a new government-funded service to help guide people aged over 50 years in planning their retirement and understanding the complexities of pensions. The service is completely free, impartial and fully confidential.

A Pensionwise appointment typically lasts around 45 minutes and seeks to guide clients through the potential minefield of accessing pensions, tax implications, impact on benefits, inheritance issues or sometimes just understanding the confusing paperwork sent by pension companies. Often, the meetings are an opportunity for folk to ask for some of the complex terms to be explained or weigh-up the pros or cons of different decisions.

The sessions are most useful to people aged 50 or over who have ‘defined contribution’ pensions – those are pensions (e.g. workplace or stakeholder/personal pension) with pots built by regular cash contributions by the individual and often their employer. New legislation from April 2015 meant that these types of pensions have new ways of accessing the pension offering more flexibility than before.

Over the last year guidance has been provided on the following issues:

  • Tax and pensions – understanding the taxation of pensions – especially the impact on lump sums or the timing of withdrawals to minimise tax charges;
  • State Pension – this changed from 1 April 2016 – over the last year we have supported clients in understanding the existing and new scheme, how to access a pension statement and the impact of periods of employment when ‘contracted out’;
  • Scams – the risks of cold-calling and mail scams offering free pension reviews or transfers. Many of these contacts are from un-regulated companies recommending high-risk investments;
  • Impact on Benefits – how your choice of how you take a pension could impact on existing benefit entitlements; and
  • Tracing Pensions – tracking down old or lost pensions, or finding out about pension entitlements earned whilst working abroad.

We offer free unbiased guidance and do not recommend any products/services or provide any financial or pensions advice.

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Our Pensionwise Guidance Specialist is available by appointment. If you would like a session, get in touch with the bureau on 01595 694696, email sicab@shetland.org or just drop by to make an appointment.

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