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Pensions guidance prompts people to do more to manage their finances

7 September 2015

One in four people seeking guidance on their pensions are also asking for help on other issues such as help managing money, benefits and debt, new evidence from Citizens Advice reveals.

Figures from the national charity show over a quarter (27.3%) of people who have had a face to face Pension Wise appointment in England and Wales also booked a Citizens Advice appointment for help on other issues.

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

  • Benefits and tax credits (42%)

  • Financial capability including help managing money (29%)

  • Debt (14%)

  • Employment (4%)

Citizens Advice delivers face to face Pension Wise guidance sessions in England and Wales.

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

In its written submission, Citizens Advice says that access to free guidance on pensions has been crucial in helping people take control of their finances.  It also identifies 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 could be able to make another Pension Wise appointment.

Citizens Advice also highlights how Pension Wise sessions could be more tailored to an individual’s personal circumstances including offering answers on issues affecting pensions such as divorce and debt.

Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, said:

“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.

“Guidance can be key to people making pension choices which are right for them.  It’s vital that 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.”

Notes to editors

  1. Written evidence submitted by Citizens Advice to the Work and Pensions Select Committee inquiry into pension freedom guidance.

  2. The Citizens Advice service comprises a network of local Citizens Advice, all of which are independent charities, the Citizens Advice consumer service and national charity Citizens Advice. Together we help people resolve their money, legal and other problems by providing information and advice and by influencing policymakers. For more see the Citizens Advice website.

  3. The advice provided by the Citizens Advice service is free, independent, confidential, and impartial, and available to everyone regardless of race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, religion, age or nationality.

  4. To find your local Citizens Advice in England and Wales or to get advice online, visit citizensadvice.org.uk.

  5. You can get consumer advice from the Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 04 05 06 or 03454 04 05 05 for Welsh language speakers.

  6. Citizens Advice Bureaux in England and Wales advised 2.5 million clients on 6.2 million problems in 2014/15. For full 2013/2014 service statistics see our quarterly publication Advice trends.

  7. Citizens Advice service staff are supported by more than 21,000 trained volunteers, working at over 2,500 service outlets across England and Wales.