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Pensions guidance prompts more people to manage finances

Kit Klarenberg
Written By:
Kit Klarenberg

One in four people who have sought guidance on their pension have also asked for help on other issues such as help managing money, benefits and debt, new evidence reveals.

Figures from Citizens Advice suggest 27 per cent of consumers who have had a face-to-face meeting with Pension Wise, the free government service in England and Wales, also booked a Citizens Advice appointment for help on other issues.

Of those who booked a separate Citizens Advice appointment, the most common reasons for seeking further help included:

  • Benefits and tax credits (42 per cent)
  • Financial capability including help managing money (29 per cent)
  • Debt (14 per cent)
  • Employment (4 per cent)

The charity will today give evidence to the Work and Pensions Select Committee inquiry into pension freedom guidance.

In its written submission, Citizens Advice said access to free guidance on pensions has been crucial in helping consumers take control of their finances.  It also identified opportunities to provide additional support, including reviewing the one free appointment policy.

If a person visits Pension Wise at 50 to understand their options but then doesn’t want to access their pension until they are 60, Citizens Advice suggests they should be allowed to make another Pension Wise appointment.

The charity also highlighted how Pension Wise sessions could be better tailored to an individual’s personal circumstances, including offering answers on issues affecting pensions such as divorce and debt.

“People don’t make decisions about pensions in isolation – our evidence shows people are also thinking about how their pension choices relate to tax, debt and how they wish to support their family,” said Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizens Advice.

“Guidance can be key to people making pension choices which are right for them. It’s vital the support they receive recognises the competing pressures in their lives.

“We know people are getting what they need from a Pension Wise session, but there is an opportunity to provide further support, whether that’s another appointment later in life or, for example, extra help around the implications for someone’s pension if they are divorced.”