What is a pension?
Traditionally, the idea was that an employee had a secure job until retirement, and was then given a comfortable pension. Over the years, the security around pension provision has gradually been eroded, and there is an increasing burden on individuals to make their own pension arrangements. Retirees often have to make a trade-off between a guaranteed but low retirement income, or a higher income that entails more risk.
If a sequence of payments is said to be index linked, what does that mean?
Over the years, your retirement income will need to keep pace with inflation. One way of achieving this is by having index linked annuities. The downside is that these can be expensive, particularly for younger retirees.
Who is eligible to receive the new UK State Pension?
To be eligible for the new State Pension, you'll need to have paid National Insurance (NI) contributions for a minimum number of years. The amount you get will also depend on your NI record.
What is the volatility of an investment?
Almost all investments entail some degree of risk. When you invest in stocks and shares, the value of a company can sometimes skyrocket, but it can also sometimes crash. Even fixed-interest investments have risk, since the issuer might become insolvent and unable to continue payments.
If you take a job in the UK after state retirement age, how much National Insurance do you pay?
National Insurance (NI) was designed so that employees build up their entitlement to state benefits, including retirement benefits, over their working lives. After retirement age, no further NI contributions are required, even for people who continue to work.
What does a balanced investment approach mean?
Investment styles can be broadly subdivided into 3 groups.
- Cautious: Avoids most risk with the expectation of only modest returns.
- Balanced: Takes moderate risk with the possibility of good returns.
- Aggressive: Takes high risk with the possibility of high returns.
What is a Defined Benefit pension?
The two broad categories of pension plan are:
- Defined Benefit: The employer takes the market risk. Retirement benefits are determined by salary and length of service.
- Defined Contribution: The employee takes the market risk. Retirement benefits are determined by the investment performance of the contributions.
What is the 4% rule?
The 4% rule was created by William Bengen in the USA, to determine a 'safe' withdrawal rate for retirees. It was only ever intended as a rough guide, and the actual safe rate will depend on many factors specific to the retiree.
What is an annuity?
An annuity can be bought with the accumulated proceeds of a pension plan, in order to generate a regular income in retirement, guaranteed until the death of the retiree. You can also choose to buy an annuity for cash. The older you are, the higher the possible annuity income you can get.
What is inflation?
Inflation in most countries is measured by a Consumer Price Index (CPI), which tracks prices changes for a basket of consumer goods and services. The UK also sometimes uses a Retail Prices Index (RPI), which is based on a more restricted basket of goods and services.
On average, which of the following has the longest life expectancy?
On average, women outlive men in every country in the world. This is only a statistic, though. Individuals of either gender can have widely varying life expectancies, depending upon their family histories, states of health and lifestyles.
What is Monte Carlo simulation?
Retirement planning involves making future projections, taking into account a number of variables that for all intents and purposes are random. These include things like how long one actually lives, and year-on-year market fluctuations. Using Monte Carlo simulation, we can measure our confidence in the likely success of a retirement plan.
What is an online retirement calculator?
Online retirement calculators come in many forms. Some are very basic. Others over-simplify the underlying assumptions. Yet others, most notably EvolveMyRetirement, provide invaluable planning assistance to individuals.
What is compound interest?
With compound interest, money in a savings account grows exponentially. This is a great way to accumulate wealth for the long term, as long as interest rates are higher than the rate of inflation. Unpaid debts also accumulate compound interest, often at uncomfortably high interest rates. This means that not paying them off early can lead to severe financial problems later on.
What does drawdown mean?
Under the new UK pension freedoms, retirees are no longer obliged to take their pensions as annuities. They can now choose to keep their pension pots invested, and make gradual withdrawals over their lifetimes, which are treated as taxable income. This is known as pension drawdown.
In investment terms, what is a bond?
There are many different types of bond, though. Some are issued by governments, some by companies. Some are short-term, some long-term. Some pay interest regularly, others pay it all at once at the end of the term. Many bonds can be bought and sold, much like stocks and shares.
What is the minimum age at which you can retire in the UK?
Fortunately, slavery has been abolished, so no government can force anyone to keep on working. Anyone of any age who has accumulated sufficient wealth, and is able to access it, can choose to retire at any time.
What is a cash lump sum for a UK pension plan?
Most pension plans are able to offer a tax-free cash withdrawal of a percentage of its value at retirement. The remainder of the plan can either be used to buy an annuity or else remain invested and gradually drawn down, in both cases generating taxable income.
What is an ISA?
ISA stands for Individual Savings Account. It can be used to hold either cash, bonds or shares. The owner has no tax to pay on any income or growth of the ISA holdings, and can access the funds at any time.
At or after retirement, how much of a UK personal pension plan can be withdrawn tax free?
The figure of 25% applies to personal pensions. Different rules may apply to some other types of pension plan. You should consult a qualified financial advisor before withdrawing funds from your pension plan.
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