#enterprise Steve Webb looks back at his most memorable reader questions as he celebrates 300th pensions column
That was then… Steve Webb celebrates his 300th pensions column for This is Money with a glance at a few of the finest and most memorable reader questions
Steve Webb has answered his 300th query from This is Money readers, and we’re celebrating with a sequence on subjects such as what it’s wish to be our pensions columnist.
Here, he recounts what sort of questions he obtained from readers back within the early days, and what has modified.
When I began writing my common column for This is Money in February 2016, the pensions panorama appeared very totally different.
The new state pension was nonetheless but to be launched, while the flexibility to entry your ‘pot of cash’ pension in a versatile manner beneath pension freedoms was nonetheless a novelty.
What has modified? Steve Webb looks back at the reader questions he has loved answering over the previous six years
One of the primary questions I answered was whether or not individuals may blow their pension on luxuries after which come back and declare advantages.
The column was accompanied by photos of cruise liners and sports activities vehicles, simply to extend the temptation!
The new state pension has been a constant supply of questions all through my time writing the column.
Although it’s designed to be less complicated than the system it changed, with most individuals ultimately simply getting the identical flat charge determine, the early years of the brand new system contain fairly advanced transitional guidelines which have created some confusion.
Steve Webb: Find out the right way to ask the previous Pensions Minister a query about your retirement financial savings within the field beneath
Probably the most widespread query I’m nonetheless requested concerning the new state pension is why individuals with greater than 35 years of contributions can nonetheless discover themselves wanting the total charge. You can learn my try to clarify this right here.
Although the brand new state pension has been in place for over six years, the vast majority of retired individuals are nonetheless receiving pensions based mostly on the previous system, and there’s a world of complexity to be mined.
Common subjects embody whether or not you possibly can declare for a state pension utilizing the contributions of your ex husband or spouse, whether or not residing collectively or marrying later in life impacts your state pension and the way delaying taking your pension can entitle you to an even bigger payout.
One subject that got here up recurrently within the early days of pension freedoms was the professionals and cons of transferring out of a conventional ‘ultimate wage’ pension right into a ‘pot of cash’ pension association.
Although some individuals have transferred out and performed nicely, many individuals have been poorly suggested over time and have regretted their determination to surrender a assured and safe supply of revenue in retirement.
I might say that curiosity on this subject has died down for the reason that early days, although I do nonetheless recurrently hear from individuals complaining about the price of acquiring switch recommendation, particularly on a comparatively small pension.
Most of my columns attempt to present factual info and steerage, however I’m often tempted by readers to do a little bit of crystal ball gazing.
Before most Budgets there may be normally hypothesis about modifications to pension tax aid, with the way forward for the 25 per cent tax free lump sum being an enormous concern for readers.
STEVE WEBB ANSWERS YOUR PENSION QUESTIONS
There can also be a variety of concern about whether or not the ‘triple lock’ coverage for the state pension is more likely to survive – a query which stays stay to at the present time with the arrival of double-digit inflation charges.
Although I’ve lived and breathed pensions for a few years, I additionally attempt to have interaction with those that are deeply sceptical about pensions, generally due to the scandals which the trade appears to generate each few years.
Perennial questions embody how saving in a pension compares with saving in a Lifetime Isa or the extra elementary query of whether or not property or different investments could be a greater various to both.
An situation that has develop into progressively extra vital has been deciding what to do with a handful of small pension pots.
Back in 2016 many employees in smaller corporations had but to be robotically enrolled right into a office pension however at present an additional ten million individuals are saving in a pension in contrast with when the coverage began.
This is nice information however does imply that individuals who have modified jobs a number of instances have already got a number of pensions and really feel the urge to tidy issues up.
I’ve lined the professionals and cons of consolidating your pensions a number of instances in my column, however have additionally not too long ago written a more comprehensive guide which you can find here.
Reading the questions which readers ship in every week is a reminder of simply how onerous it may be for individuals to navigate the complexities of the pensions and advantages system.
Whilst I significantly get pleasure from responding to your questions and serving to you to navigate these uneven waters, it will be nice for me to be redundant sooner or later as a result of the entire system had been simplified a lot that folks may make excellent sense of it with none assist.
Unfortunately, I feel that day could also be a way off!
Ask Steve Webb a pension query
Former Pensions Minister Steve Webb is This Is Money’s Agony Uncle.
He is able to reply your questions, whether or not you’re nonetheless saving, within the means of stopping work, or juggling your funds in retirement.
Steve left the Department of Work and Pensions after the May 2015 election. He is now a companion at actuary and consulting agency Lane Clark & Peacock.
If you want to ask Steve a query about pensions, please e-mail him at [email protected]
Steve will do his finest to answer to your message in a forthcoming column, however he will not be capable of reply everybody or correspond privately with readers. Nothing in his replies constitutes regulated monetary recommendation. Published questions are generally edited for brevity or different causes.
Please embody a daytime contact quantity along with your message – this will probably be saved confidential and never used for advertising and marketing functions.
If Steve is unable to reply your query, you can too contact MoneyHelper, a Government-backed organisation which provides free help on pensions to the general public. It might be discovered here and its quantity is 0800 011 3797.
Steve receives many questions about state pension forecasts and COPE – the Contracted Out Pension Equivalent. If you’re writing to Steve on this subject, he responds to a typical reader query right here. It contains hyperlinks to Steve’s a number of earlier columns about state pension forecasts and contracting out, which may be useful.