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National Emergency Advice

There is clearly a national state of emergency, but there is also a financial emergency for those approaching retirement with a money purchase pension and the over 70’s who are at high risk of suffering the worst effects of Covid 19.

As the well-known pension commentator Henry Tapper wrote: “pensions are about people’s lives and older people are living in particular fear right now". Justin Cash, editor of Money Marketing, tweeted; "We have all been caught with our pants down: @BillyBurrows on lessons for IFAs from the #coronacrisis”.

Pension emergency

There is a national pension emergency as many people have seen the value of their pension pots fall significantly and are worried if they have will have enough money to retire on. The average mixed investment pension fund is down by about 20% since the beginning of the year and could fall even lower.

Whilst this may not be an issue for younger people as they have time on their side, it is a real issue for those over age 55 who are approaching the time when they will be looking to convert their pension pots into cash and income.

It is only the financial aspects of the coronavirus induced stock market crash which we need to worry about, we must also worry about the emotional and behavioural aspects because anxiety and fear may result in irrational behaviour and poor decision making.

How to help the over 55’s at a time of national and financial emergency

Everyone who is concerned about the effect falling fund values will have on their retirement plans should be able to speak a qualified and regulated adviser.

Not matter how small or large their financial assets everybody who needs financial advice should be able to get the appropriate advice.

There are other sources of help available, e.g. from the Government’s Pension Wise service or from pension providers, but good as these are, they cannot give people what they need the most. What most people need at times like this is someone with whom they can have a frank discussion and get practical advice or get a second opinion about what to next. If this results in changes to their investments or new solutions, they want someone to arrange this for them.

A Guidance service cannot give an opinion or tell people what they should do. People are left to make their own decisions and make their own arrangements. Whereas an adviser will help them make the right decisions and take care of all the arrangements.

It can be difficult for the over 55’s to get the appropriate level of advice?

There are many reasons why the over 55’s don’t get the financial advice they need and deserve.

Speaking to a financial adviser can seem scary and the process may appear to be complex and expensive.

But good financial advisers like Better Retirement can give people advice in a way that is client friendly, uncomplicated and value for money.

The elephants in the rooms are trust and costs. Firms like Better Retirement can be trusted to help people to make the right decisions and choices not only do they have the technical expertise but they have many years’ practical experience in advising on all aspects of pensions and retirement options.

Advice doesn’t have to be expensive. The cost of advice is the cost advisers incurred in giving the advice plus the ‘added value’.

Those who think advice is expensive and of little value when times are good should think differently when times are difficult.

The value add is measured not only in financial terms but also in personal terms. How much is ‘peace of mind and financial security’ worth?

Our advice process

As we have over 25 years’ experience of advising clients over the telephone and my email we have developed our unique three step advice process:

  • Initial discussion – we will discuss your situation and plans
  • General analysis and research – we will review your plans and make some general comments without giving formal advice
  • Detailed analysis, research and advice – This is where the advice process formally starts and we will advise you in line with all the relevant rules and regulations

There is no charge for the initial discussion, and we normally make no charge for the general analysis.

When we formally start the advice process we will agree a fixed fee in advance and this can be normally taken from the pension pot when the advice is finalised.

Financial advice should be available to everybody

At Better Retirement, we believe that everybody should have access to financial advice no matter their amount of financial wealth or circumstances.

In order to make financial advice available to as many people as possible we have launched our Advice Hotline and offering a free initial consultation to anyone who is concerned about their pensions or retirement plans. There are absolutely no strings attached and we don’t expect people to appoint us as their adviser if they don’t need our services.

To take advantage of our free initial advice offer people can simply go to and book an appointment slot.

Customer champion

Our advice services to available to everyone; those with workplace pensions, personal pensions and self-employed pensions.

Sceptics may ask why a financial adviser would want to give advice to the mass market rather than concentrate a small number of high net worth clients.

I go back to Henry Tapper’s comment; ‘pensions are about people’s lives and older people are living in particular fear right now’ and at times of a national emergency it is only right that we do everything to we can help those who are need advice at these worrying time.

To anyone who questions my motives, I remind them what a previous pension minster told me: we have the scars on our backs to show our commitment to be the customer’s champion’.

William Burrows

About the author

William Burrows

Billy Burrows has been involved with retirement options for over 20 years, advising clients on all aspects of pensions and retirement income options.

He divides his time between advising individual clients as Retirement Director at Better Retirement and running Retirement IQ, which publishes guides including the popular ‘You and Your Pension Pot’ and ‘The Retirement Journey’.

He is frequently quoted in the national press and appears on radio, podcasts and videos and writes extensively on retirement income matters.

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