Mike

Preparing for retirement

Scenario

Mike approached us as he had six personal pensions. He was 15 years from his planned retirement date and wished to look at consolidating his pensions into a single arrangement.

He had heard about flexible drawdown and was keen to be able to access his pensions this way when he retired. He also wanted to understand how much he needed to contribute each month in order to achieve his desired retirement income.

Actions

We investigated each of the pensions to understand their structure, associated costs and whether any contained any specific guarantees which would be valuable for retirement.

We discovered that none of the plans offered flexible drawdown, but one had guaranteed annuity rates that would provide a relatively high level of income in retirement. We also conducted a detailed income and expenditure analysis in order to determine Mike’s minimum and desired income levels for retirement.

Analysis

We then performed a cost analysis to understand the impact of charges on Mike’s future pension values. From this, we could see that three of Mike’s workplace pensions were very cheap to run, as this cost was primarily met by his previous employers. His three private pensions were all more expensive than alternative options that were available.

From this analysis, we recommended that he transfer two of his pensions to a new arrangement but retain the other four; the three workplace pensions and the personal pension with guaranteed annuity rates.

We reviewed the investments in the pensions that were to be retained and advised that two should be switched as they didn’t align with Mike’s stated attitude to risk.

We then projected what these pensions could be worth at his planned retirement date, along with his personal assets, in order to understand his current shortfall. This allowed us to put together a contribution strategy to achieve his target income going forward. It was agreed to keep this under regular review to ensure he remains on track over the next 15 years.

Outcome

Although none of the pensions allow for benefits to be taken in Mike’s desired manner, he is in an accumulation phase and accessing benefits is not a primary concern at this stage. He could transfer his pensions in 15 years and access the benefits in the manner that he desires.

At this moment in time, the important thing is to establish where Mike’s pension capital should be held to help achieve the highest possible fund value in 15 years’ time. This will be dependent on two factors: costs to the pension and investment returns. Whilst we can advise on suitable investments, we cannot say with certainty that one will outperform another over a future period of time. What we can control is the costs, as these will act as a drag on the fund value. Keeping the costs as low as possible will give the maximum potential for the funds to grow, assuming investments largely perform in-line with each other.

Although one of Mike’s personal pensions was more expensive, it was felt that the guaranteed income that it could provide should not be discounted at this time. This could be used to underpin his income and give greater balance to his overall retirement portfolio.

What our clients say

The people we help are at the heart of what we do. Here are some of their testimonials.

I knew I needed to begin saving and planning for the future but didn’t know where to start. Stratton helped me to understand my finances and put together a savings plan that is affordable and works for me. I now have and an ISA and a pension, and whilst retirement is many years away, I have the peace of mind that I am saving for my future. I look forward to working with them for many years to come.

Martin Corrigan -

A client since 2016

I have been impressed with the advice and service provided by Stratton Wealth Management and have always found Darius to be approachable, dependable and highly professional in his approach. It is reassuring to be able to have such a high level of confidence and trust when it comes to financial advice.

Russell Jones -

A client since 2018

Many thanks indeed for your in depth report for my client Mrs H – it is most thorough and above all readable. This might sound particularly strange; however you may well gather that in my profession we see many such reports, and I often feel that if the adviser fills it with charts and graphs it evidences a level of research. In truth most of what is produced is readily obtainable from the internet.

I would like to thank you (and your organisation) for your prompt and professional attention to my requirements on behalf of my client. As a practice we shall definitely be putting Stratton Wealth Management on our “preferred supplier list".

Colin Dunstall, Donaldson Dunstall Solicitors -

A client since 2015

I would highly recommend Darius and John. I’ve used a financial adviser previously and could never get in contact with them when I needed their help. Stratton Wealth Management have been excellent from the start. They are always available to talk, and they also don’t talk in financial jargon!

Dave Rigby -

A client since 2015

Having recently transferred my financial management to Stratton Wealth Management, I have been extremely impressed with the highly professional service I have received. I feel I have been fully involved in all decision making, and the company's highly skilled advisers have shown commitment and patience in any dealings I have had with them. I have also always found them to be easily accessible for any discussion I may require.

Denise Thornton -

A client since 2019

As a business owner and father of four children, finances are usually the last thing we think about. Stratton oversees and manages our finances, both in terms of advice for my business and our personal investments. It is comforting to know that our retirement, investment and life insurance planning has been taken care of. Darius and John are always so efficient in dealing with our affairs. As someone with no real understanding of the ins and outs, it has been fantastic to have experts giving us great advice and making sure our best interests are always the top priority.

Lee and Claire Parkinson -

Clients since 2016

Darius deals with my family’s finances and is a very trusted adviser. We meet a number of times a year, but I know I can call him any time if I have any questions. He is proactive, helpful and friendly!

Jonathan Dennis -

A client since 2019

Darius has been our adviser for a number of years, and when he told us he was starting his own firm, we had no hesitation in moving with him. We had a number of areas that we needed help with, including the complexities around an employee share scheme, investments for us and our new child, in addition to our retirement planning. Darius has continually provided us with a first-rate level of service and we would highly recommend Stratton.

Eamon and Holly O’Hara -

Clients since 2017

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