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Only a fifth of retirees plan to use Pension Wise

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Only one in five over-55s intend to use the government’s free advice services to aid their retirement planning, according to research issued today by OnePoll - meaning as much as 80 per cent of retirees won't use Pension Wise.

Research conducted by Sanlam Wealth Planning revealed that over a third (37 per cent) said they would conduct their own internet research into the retirement options available to them; 17 per cent said they would seek advice from their families.

The significant number of people who say they won’t use Pension Wise is at variance with the attitudes of 55s toward the pension reforms. 49 per cent of those polled said they welcomed the changes, and 34 per cent acknowledged they will likely exhaust their savings in their retirement.

A separate study published by the University of Birmingham recorded a similar discrepancy in what consumers say and the actions they take in respect of their retirement income; respondents tend to favour regular, steady income over flexibility, yet in practice tend to withdraw larger blocks of income at infrequent intervals. Dr. Paul Cox, who led the study, warns that about a third of over-55s with pensions either don’t know or can’t decide how they would prefer to consume their retirement savings.

Commenting on the figures, Alex Morley, chief executive of Sanlam Wealth Planning, said such confusion and uncertainty “exposes the risk that many over-55s could begin making significant changes to their lifetime savings without any form of professional advice or guidance.

“As the cost of living goes up and people are living longer, we could end up with a large amount of people exhausting their private pensions and having to rely on the Government to support them in their later years.

“Much more needs to be done to demonstrate to consumers the impact of the new pension legislation and the benefits of seeking advice before making any big financial decisions. A good financial planner will look at a person’s investment strategy over the long term, with the right level of protection in mind.”

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