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Holly's Blog: Meet The Pension Planners - and a confession

By Mike Narouei, Content Producer at Boring Money

20 Nov, 2020

Have we got a treat for you this week. We have a whole new Money Tribe to unveil, sponsored by those knowledgeable and nice folk at AJ Bell Youinvest. Meet our “Pension Planners”.

Oh my goodness have we got a treat for you this week you lucky people. We have a whole new Money Tribe to unveil, sponsored by those knowledgeable and nice folk at AJ Bell Youinvest. Meet our "Pension Planners”.

This cornucopia of pension delights is a financial bag of Pick’n’Mix and should have something for everyone. First up, I talked to pensions expert Tom Selby (who at the tender age of ‘something beginning with 3’, knows more about pensions than it is socially acceptable to admit). We took 3 reader questions and recorded a 10 minute audio guide to tackle each – tune in as you do the washing up or other lockdown thrills this weekend:

Mo – who in his early 40s, has a pension set up through work but not much else. He's had his head in the sand up until now but knows this stuff is important, so what does he need to know and where should he start to improve his savings?

Lucy – she’s in her late 50s and wants to retire in about 7 years. So what should be on her to-do list now to most benefit her finances in retirement?

Mark – he’s reached retirement and is ready to cash in his pension. He's considering an annuity, which buys him a set income for the rest of his life. But is this the best option?

We also tackled a number of reader questions on topics from consolidating pensions, to missing National Insurance contributions and investing your pension in “more woke” ways – lots of juicy answer from the Boring Money team, independent financial advisers and the guys at AJ Bell. And we’ve prepared top tips for us all depending on lifestage – under 45s, 45- 55, 55+ and working and 55+ and retired. Thanks to the lovely Boring Jamie for doing such a cracking job with this content.

We know when we carry sponsored content we open the Pandora’s Box of Trust. So as always you can choose to ignore us, and read what other investors have to say about AJ Bell YouInvest and indeed any other pension providers here on our Best Buy Tables. Our costs and charges calculator will also provide a cost comparison for you of what you will pay any provider, given your pension size and your trading behaviours.

Think about the Free Money question…

As a personal view, I would add that it’s worth understanding and thinking about your pension contributions now – and how tax relief (aka ‘free money’) can work for you. I don’t know what 2021 brings. But I do know that Dishy Rishi will be scratching his head and wondering how to claw back some money as he stares into the abyss. He of Bambi eyes has got to find a socially-acceptable gun from somewhere.

Should and could you make a move before he (potentially) does and lock in some tax relief your pension with those Government top-ups? Particularly worth investigating for higher-rate taxpayers.

My investments….

In other news, markets continue to be all about the Vs. Virus and Vaccine. Expect ongoing seesaws as the mood music swings from jolly vaccine-induced exuberance to miserable virus-induced misery.

Against this backdrop of volatility, I have to confess that I have been doing a little bit of buying and selling over the last 3 months. Largely boredom-induced and not really behaviour which I’d recommend. 2 weeks ago, one eagle-eyed reader contacted me after I wrote about holding a Nasdaq100 ‘Exchange Traded Fund’ (or ‘ETF’). He observed that this was not in my list of disclosed personal investments on the site, which had last been updated in June 2020. He liked the fact that I was open about what I held, he thought this was unusual and he did pay attention to this. He suggested I might update the list more regularly.

This makes me a bit nervous. I am far from perfect, much like the chef that eats baked beans at home – I’m broadly OK but cannot be bothered to muck about with any garnishes at the weekend. I have also been naughty – and been fiddling around with some short-term trades despite a belief that this is generally quite silly behaviour. In normal times, my list of investments held wouldn’t materially change over any 6 month period, but the markets have been far from normal this year. I thought the observation was a valid one and so my list of holdings ( is duly updated. To be clear – this is because sunshine is the best disinfectant – not because I labour under any illusion that I am the Messiah of Markets.

Finalement, a little present to give out. Thanks so much to everyone who shared their experiences of pensions providers last week. Ian P – you have a £100 John Lewis voucher winging its way to you as our lucky winner. This is all part of some work we’re doing to help you make better choices with your pensions- especially when it comes to retirement and taking an income out…coming to a cinema near you SOON.

Have a lovely weekend. I’m not quite sure what we’ll be doing. Making another cake? Going on another walk? Watching more Netflix? Tra la la la la. Next year I am going to raves, people. Big. Filthy. Noisy. Raves! (Although hopefully ones which start before 1am and with a decent wine list and toilets ha ha ha).