On Watchdog last night the presenter said to the Pensions Minister Dr Ros Altmann, “There is a big issue about advice” and went on to say “there is guidance that the government offers for free and there is advice, that costs money, why doesn’t the government pay for people to get proper advice?”
Are you being serious?
I own a car and I am not fortunate enough to own a car that is under 3 years old. Therefore it falls under the government policy for MOT’s. Why doesn’t the government pay for my MOT?
My car needs servicing every year to make sure it is in the condition I expect and will do the job I originally purchased it for. Why doesn’t the government pay for my service?
I guess if I wanted to do the service myself I could study as a mechanic, buy the tools required and conduct the service once I was competent to do so. I could take on the risk of the car failing and if it does be stuck at the side of the road on a cold winters evening when I may need it the most! I could have joined a roadside recovery firm. Why doesn’t the government pay for this for me? I could decide that the fee for this service is too high and save money and hope a friend might help me and give me a tow. This is providing they aren’t the ones that gave me the “do it yourself” advice in the first place and find themselves in a similar situation the other side of town!
The government have given you a gift in terms of a tax refund when saving into a pension. They have also opened up the regulations to allow you to access it more freely to suit your needs and lifestyle at retirement. They offer guidance should you require it about the ways to access your pension and there are companies and providers of services that will allow you to access the benefits or make the investment choices on your own without using a financial adviser. You could ask your friends what they have done but maybe their situation is different to yours or maybe you will make the same mistake they did.
If you are not comfortable with this (like myself and fixing my own car), you do not want the risk of a do it yourself service and would rather seek the advice of an expert to make one of the biggest financial decision of your life when deciding how to use your accumulated pension, then why should you not pay for this.
Will the press please get over the negative stance on charges for advice and look at the benefits to consumers for seeking professional advice and making an informed decision about their retirement. If the press continue to report that advice is expensive it will encourage people to do it themselves and potentially make huge mistakes when accessing their benefits. The truth is the cost of not seeking advice for people who do not clearly understand pensions could be far worse.