- High management fees can chew up your investment growth
- You may also pay platform fees, underlying fund fees, inactivity fees, and exit fees
- Contributing the maximum salary amount possible into your pension investment fund can help
The prospect of “just getting by” with your pension may seem terrifying. Whether you work for a company that provides regular pension contributions or you are self-employed, you should always understand the facets of a quality pension plan. It’s never too early to start.
In this article, we’ll take a look at four factors that make up the anatomy of a great pension plan, including low fees, maximum employer contributions, diversification, and tax efficiency. These factors can help you prepare for the best pension possible.
Some individuals believe that in order to have a large pension, you must work as much as you can and contribute more. It’s true that it is valuable to contribute the maximum amount possible but it’s also a good idea to examine other aspects of your pension more closely, including providers and fees.
High management fees can chew up your investment growth, and it’s important to weigh up the costs and investments by comparing many U.K. pension providers to get the best deal. Do not underestimate even a slight percentage difference, as this equates to thousands of pounds over your working life.
Unfortunately, only 16% of U.K. adults think that they pay annual pension charges, according to Profile Pensions. A total of 84% say that they either “do not” or “do not know” if they pay annually. About half of customers receive charges up to 1% in annual management charges. You may also pay platform fees, underlying fund fees, inactivity fees and exit fees (if you switch to a different provider.)
Self-Investment Pension Plans (SIPPS) are “pension wrappers” that allow you to save, invest and build up money for retirement. SIPPs, which work like standard pensions, also offer more flexibility and allow you to invest in several investment types. It’s important to remember that an element of risk remains — you cannot predict the direction the market will go in the future.
Depending on your circumstances, you can choose a personalized, tailor-made pension plan or a ready-made portfolio. Pension providers also offer specifically designed portfolios for self-employed individuals.
Maximum Employer Contributions
Contributing the maximum salary amount possible into your pension investment fund can help you save more over the long term. Consider setting aside as much of your salary as possible in addition to your employer contributions.
Depending on your particular situation, your employer may offer the option to match your pension contributions. All U.K. companies must provide a pension to their eligible workers and contribute to it.
However, not all employers match pension contributions. Consider doing some research and speaking with your employer to ensure that you’re taking advantage of all of your options.
An excellent pension strategy and the key to financial freedom may also require a diversification strategy. Diversification means you spread your investments around so you’re not overexposed to a single asset or a small group of assets. This practice can help you reduce the volatility of your portfolio over time and help you invest your pension fund to get the best returns possible. Aim for a portfolio with wide diversification across multiple asset classes, including stocks, bonds, property, etc.
If you can, consider taking on riskier assets early in your working career and become more conservative the closer you get to retirement (such as investing in more bonds). A successful pension strategy requires continuous assessment.
A great pension plan will help you make the most of your tax benefits, and tax benefits throughout your working years can amount to hundreds of thousands of pounds of savings. For example, the U.K. government pays around 20% of the total pension contribution. Tax rules change from time to time, so get professional advice to make the most of tax benefits.
Put Together a Great Pension Plan
Remember that you are never too young to save for retirement. Spend some time developing a great pension plan so you have peace of mind that you can truly enjoy in the future.
Not sure how to proceed? Consider getting professional advice about your pension plan. A professional advisor can help you decide how to manage low fees, increase diversification and tax efficiency and maximize employer contributions.
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