Get ready for your Pension Wise appointment
To get the most out of your Pension Wise appointment at Citizens Advice, you'll need to do some preparation before you come in.
Step 1: what’s your pension pot worth?
The first thing you will need to know is the value of your pension. You can find out by using your:
- pension statement - you should get 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 terms and conditions attached to your pension
Some pensions have conditions attached, like penalties for drawing your pension earlier than planned.
Check your paperwork for any 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 how many years you have been in employment.
From April 2016, the most you will get will be £119.30 per week.
You can calculate your state pension on the GOV.UK website.
Step 4: think about your personal circumstances
You could be entering retirement without any 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: bring just the relevant information with you
Pension Wise appointments last 45 minutes. Bring just what’s relevant, for example your most recent statement, giving you more time to discuss your options and next steps.