70% of people want free face-to-face advice when they retire

16 April 2014

Around seven out of ten retirement savers would prefer to receive face to face advice when the government's free pensions advice service is introduced in April 2015.

While 69% of savers would prefer the personal touch when it comes to discussing their retirement income options, just 3% of people would prefer a purely online advice service, according to Consumer Intelligence research.

It also shows that people would be willing, on average, to travel a total of 11.4 miles to receive face to face advice.

In his March Budget, chancellor George Osborne announced a revolutionary raft of measures designed to hand more control to pensioners.

From April 2015, people who have saved into a money purchase or defined contribution pension scheme will no longer be forced to buy an annuity.

Instead, they will be able to take the whole lot as cash (subject to a tax charge equivalent to their marginal rate of tax), leave it invested, or purchase an annuity - although a recent Moneywise.co.uk poll of 1,000 people indicates that just 7% of people will still purchase an annuity once the changes take effect next year.

The government also announced that everyone who retires with a DC pension will be offered "free and impartial" face-to-face guidance at the point of retirement.

Consumer Intelligence says just 8% of people will be happy to travel more than 25 miles to receive this advice.

Its findings also indicate that only 5% plan to blow all their pension money and rely solely on the State for their income in retirement; 44% of those with a pension pot of £30,000 will use it all to provide retirement income whereas only 14% of those with a fund of £250,000 would do so.

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David Black of Consumer Intelligence said: "Decisions about retirement income are ones that people literally have to live with so it is clear that people want to take them seriously.

"Face to face guidance is by far the preferred option for the free advice proposed by the government with most people willing to travel to ensure they get as much help exploring their options as possible.

"However, it does appear that claims about people blowing all their cash on Lamborghinis are not going to come true. Most people realise that they will be retired for a long time and that they will need to ensure that they have enough income to last."

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