How to stop the coronavirus crisis from affecting your pension pot

However, for those seeking to retire in the near future, the crisis has created additional levels of uncertainty. With job losses and furlough sadly becoming the norm for so many within working life, a huge number of people have found the end of their careers severely disrupted. After decades of work, people could see their pension income altered by the effects of the virus.

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However, fortunately the state pension is unaffected by fluctuations in the stock market, so this remains safe.

But for those who are paying into a workplace pension, or another arrangement, perhaps in addition to what is offered by the government, there may be certain ways to future proof their income.

The timing of withdrawing money from a pension is always important, however it has become more necessary to take caution.

If the pension pot has been negatively affected by the coronavirus crisis, it will need time to recover.

Because the pandemic is so severe, this may take longer than expected, so biding one’s time is key. 

Whilst market volatility is normal, planning ahead is important. 

Claire Trott, Head of Pensions Strategy at St James’s Place said: “It can be a worrying time if you need your pension savings to meet livings costs. Market swings do disproportionately affect older investors who are taking income from their retirement pots.

“If you can, you should try to avoid taking money from your investments during periods of volatility. If you can reduce your level of pension withdrawals – or even put them on hold for a while – it could be better to dip into cash savings rather than sell investments you might hold outside your pension plan.

“The more you can leave invested, the more time it has to hopefully recover.”

Another option is to delay when an individual claims the state pension, for those who can afford to make this decision. 

The gov.uk website offers advice for those who are looking to delay their pension.

Delaying the state pension could leave a person with significantly more money, and therefore assist them with income in their later years.

The government can also point people in the direction of trusted financial advisers who provide individual tips and tricks to suit their situation. 

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By deferring the new state pension, even by a year, a person could increase it by 5.8 percent.

And if a person continues to work, even part-time, or from home, the pension would likely gain more contributions. 

It is important to assess what funds one has, and how urgently one needs them.

By analysing all retirement assets, retirees can look at the level of income they will receive if they withdraw their pension now, as opposed to later down the line. 

Cashing out early as a lump sum could damage the pension for some, as it also risks paying high taxes. 

This is because only the first 25 percent of a defined contribution pension is tax free, with the rest taxed as earned income. 

The state pension and other assets can provide retirees with reassurance in the short term. 

Taking advice in these turbulent times is therefore vital.

The Pension Advisory Service hotline on 0800 011 3797 provides assistance for those who have questions.

Additionally, Pension Wise, a free and impartial service set up by the government, offers appointments to discuss pension details.

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