Is it a good time to purchase an annuity?
“Is now a good time to purchase an annuity”?
The thinking was that now fund values have increased since the March 2020 crash it might make sense for some people, especially those with relatively small drawdown pots, to purchase an annuity.
I understand from several annuity providers that annuity sales have increased significantly so it will be helpful to see if there is a case for purchasing annuities at the moment.
Engage with advice
I want to help people make the right decisions at retirement but it seems many people don’t want to help themselves by properly engaging with advisers.
In the old days (whenever that was), people were more open to taking advice and more trusting of experts but nowadays many people have a closed mind to advice and don’t necessarily trust advisers. This has not happened overnight but has crept us on us over the years, but the lack of engagement has been accelerated by events such as RDR which created the so-called advice gap and by changing attitudes and customer behaviour.
Fixed Term sales
The big picture – Fixed term income plans are popular because they don't lock people in for life.
What's the problem? – Lifetime annuities have a poor reputation because of miss-selling. Could fixed term suffer the same fate?
What can de done? – Make sure they are sold / advised properly e.g. end commission bias.
I once had a client who said: “Give me a one-handed adviser”. He went on to explain that I kept on saying ‘on the one hand this and other hand that’, but he just wanted the answer.
I understood his frustration but as soon as I explained there was not one right answer and it was important to consider both sides of the argument he was happy with my two-handed approach.
Advice in the workplace
When presenting to trustees I always know when I have got their attention because I get a strange look when I ask; “Do you want your members to a second-class service”?
I go on to explain that if people contact me for help as they approach retirment because they may have seen my name in the papers on heard me on the radio ask one of the team will give them a personal service. This involves explaining all of their options and an offer to tailor our advice to their individual circumstances.
Think of your pension as a long salami – OK think of a £ 100,000 pension pot as being made up of 10 separate pots with £ 10,000 in each pot.
Instead of chopping off 25% of the salami and eating it (sorry, spending it) without giving any of it to the tax man, you can just chop of a slice of the salami (e.g. £ 10,000) and take 25% (£2,500) tax free.
Fixed Term Plans
Historically, the only way to convert a pension fund into income was by purchasing a lifetime annuity or investing in pension drawdown. One is totally secure but inflexible, the other completely flexible but has a number of risks.
Then in 2007 the first fixed term annuity or fixed term income plan in 2007 was launched.