Get ready for your Pension Wise appointment

This advice applies to Scotland. See advice for See advice for England, See advice for Northern Ireland, See advice for Wales

Pension Wise can help you if you:

  • have a defined contribution pension pot

  • are aged 50 or over

You can book a Pension Wise appointment on the MoneyHelper website.

To get the most out of your Pension Wise appointment at Citizens Advice, you'll need to do some preparation before you speak to one of our guidance specialists.

Step 1: find out what your pension pot is worth

The first thing you'll need to know is the value of your pension. You can find out by using your:

  • latest pension statement - your pension provider should send you a statement through the post every year, detailing the value of your pension

  • pension provider website - some providers allow you to log in and view your statement online

  • ‘wake up pack’ - your provider will send this out 4 to 6 months before your selected retirement age

If you haven’t got any documentation, give your pension provider a call.

If you don’t have any information at all about your pension, use the government's free Pension Tracing Service to find your pension provider.

Step 2: find out if there are any special features or terms and conditions attached to your pension

Some pensions have special features or conditions attached, like guarantees as specific dates or penalties for drawing your pension earlier than planned.

Check your paperwork for any special features and terms and conditions or contact your pension provider for information.

Step 3: find out how much state pension you’ll receive

State pensions vary from person to person, and depend on things like your National Insurance contributions. Before your Pension Wise appointment, it's best to get a State Pension forecast on GOV.UK.

Find out more about your state pension

Step 4: think about your personal circumstances

You could be entering retirement without any financial pressures, or you may be paying off debts or supporting your children financially. You may also have other income to consider, like benefits. Think about any immediate financial needs, and any future needs you anticipate, like care costs.

Step 5: how do you want to spend your retirement?

Many people look forward to a change in lifestyle at retirement. It’s important that you consider the costs of any essentials, such as housing, energy and food, along with leisure time and one-off costs like home improvements. This should help you come up with a realistic sense of your expenditure, and what income you need.

Step 6: have the relevant information with you

Pension Wise appointments last up to 1 hour. Bring all your relevant documents with you, for example your most recent pension statement. It’s important to bring your documents so our guidance specialist can:

  • understand your situation

  • discuss your options and next steps with you