When George Osborne announced changes to pension rules last year, we realised they were significant. Now the enormity of the changes is evident – amounting to nothing less than a complete reappraisal of the philosophy behind pensions, a shift that should benefit many people.
In order to understand why the changes are positive, we have to understand the system beforehand. Pensions, until this year, were seen solely as savings vehicles to help people sustain themselves and their families through the years after they retire.
Pensions now challenge ISAs as a cost-effective way of saving. The main distinction is in the tax treatment at entry and exit: ISAs don't benefit from any tax relief when money is placed into them, but money can be taken out without paying any income tax.
A pension is now also a very good way of passing money down the generations. A pension pot can quite easily be transferred to a dependent spouse or child, and when he or she dies, the remaining money can then be passed on tax-free to grandchildren. During all this time, the money can remain invested, growing tax-free.
Overall, the government has made pensions more attractive and a lot more flexible than before. The increased freedom to spend your money as you see fit, or pass it on without punitive taxes, means that many should be seeking assistance on how they can best benefit from the changes.
This content was generated prior to Turcan Connell Asset Management Limited operating as Tcam.