Pensions advice for over 50s

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Western Isles Citizens Advice Service has welcomed news that the Pension Wise guidance service is now to be made available to people aged 50 and over.

This means that many more holders of Defined Contribution pension schemes can now book an appointment to receive phone or face to face guidance on the range of choices now available since the introduction of the new ‘pension freedoms’ in April 2015.

Audrey Spittal, local Pension Wise Guidance Specialist, said: “Until now, we’ve only been able to offer guidance appointments to people approaching 55.

“That’s been great for those people about to make decisions about how they are going to access their pension pots.

“I’m delighted that we’re now able to offer the same guidance service to people aged 50 and over.

“Many of us want to plan ahead, and receiving information about pension options can be a really useful part of that planning process.”

Since April 2015 people have been able to access their pension as they wish.

You can now buy an annuity (a guaranteed, regular income), or take all your pension out in one go as cash, or withdraw it bit by bit and leave the rest of it invested.

You can usually take out 25% of your pension tax free. For everything else you withdraw, it will be added together with any other income you have in that year and taxed at your marginal rate.

It’s important to be aware of the tax implications of any decision you make as well as watching out for any charges. Take your time to shop around for the best deal.”

Anyone aged 50 or over with a Defined Contribution pension scheme who wants to arrange a face to face guidance appointment should contact their local Citizens Advice Bureau in Stornoway on 01851 705727, Harris on 01859 502431, or call into the office at 41-43 Westview Terrace, or Pier Road, Tarbert in Harris.