How to avoid pension scams in 2022

How can you be scam aware in the digital age? Here are our top tips for avoiding pension scams.

Scammers are becoming increasingly intelligent in the digital age. By designing attractive offers, they trick you into sending them money and personal details. Because of this, pension scams are on the rise.

More and more individuals are falling victim to advanced pension scams. By asking you to withdraw or transfer your pension pot, scammers can steal a large proportion of your savings.

According to the Financial Conduct Authority, scammers can persuade you to transfer your pension pot to them in a number of ways. From here, it’s then invested in unusual and high-risk investments – or even stolen outright.

Common methods include pension review scams or early pension release scams. For pension review scams, users are contacted out of the blue and offered a free pension review. Usually you’ll be contacted by phone, email or advert.

When it comes to early pension release scams, scammers claim to offer you early access to your retirement funds – before you’re 55. If you’re contacted with this information, it’s almost certainly a scam, so be vigilant. In these cases, you’re still liable to paying added tax on money you withdraw from pensions – even if you’re doing so as a victim to a scam.

Here’s how to avoid pensions scams in 2022.

Ignore cold calls or unusual attempts to contact you

If you receive a telephone call out of the blue regarding your pension, hang up immediately. According to the FCA, it’s almost always likely to be a scammer trying to obtain your details. It’s recommended to report these calls to the Information Commissioners Office, to protect others from falling victim to the same scams.

Equally, the same applies if you receive unsolicited offers via email or SMS. It’s incredibly uncommon for your pension provider or financial advisor to contact you in this way – especially if it’s out of the blue. If you’re still unsure, contact your provider directly using the number listed on their website.

Additionally, if a close friend or family member recommends abnormal pension advice to you, always be aware that they may also have fallen victim to a scam.

Check they’re FCA-certified

Most pension scammers falsely claim to be FCA-certified. Frequently, scammers even claim to be acting on behalf of the FCA. However, this isn’t always the case.

The Financial Services Register (FSR) lists all information regarding financial firms which are FCA-certified. Always check this register before making any decisions regarding your finances.

Additionally, be careful that the contact number used to get in touch with you is correct. It’s best practice to use the contact details listed on the FSR.

Get in touch with your financial advisor

Before making any decisions regarding your finances, we recommend getting a second opinion from a trusted financial advisor. By having a second pair of eyes on your decisions, you’re better equipped to make choices which further your personal wealth.

At Hamnett Wealth Management, we’re trained to stay scam aware. We can provide you with independent, impartial advice which helps you reach your financial goals. If you’d like to find out more about our services, you can get in touch here.

What to do if you’ve been scammed

If you sense you’ve fallen victim to a pension scam, contact your pension provider immediately. In some cases, they might be able to prevent a transfer from taking place.

It’s recommended to report the scam to the Financial Conduct Authority by contacting their Consumer Helpline on 0800 111 6768, or by using their reporting form.

As you’ve already been successfully scammed, it’s commonplace for scammers to target you once more. In some cases, they may even sell your details to others. Make sure to follow the tips outlined above and be extra cautious when it comes to your finances.

World Alzheimer’s Month

Every year World Alzheimer’s Month takes place in September. It’s an opportunity for organisations and individuals around the world to raise awareness, highlight issues faced by people affected by dementia and demonstrate how we can overcome them to help people live well with dementia.

The theme for World Alzheimer’s Month in 2021 is ‘Know dementia, know Alzheimer’s’. This World Alzheimer’s Month, the Alzheimer’s Society is encouraging everyone to learn more about dementia. They have factsheets and booklets about dementia available to read online, download or order to your door.

Globally, dementia is one of the biggest challenges we face, with nearly 50 million people living with dementia worldwide. People living with dementia may have always managed their own or their family’s finances. But at some point, they may need extra support to help them. You can find more information about the help and support available at: www.nhs.uk/conditions/dementia/finances/

Hamnett Wealth Management are working towards becoming a dementia-friendly business. All of our staff have completed online training that covered three key areas – people, processes and places.

Some areas of finance can be complex but we always speak in plain English and explain everything comprehensively. We encourage clients to ask as many questions as they need to until they are comfortable and able to make an informed decision.

Pension Awareness Live 2021

Pension Awareness Live is back and for the second year running, the Pension Awareness Campaign will be brought to you virtually. 

Between the 13th and 17th September, you can join live webinars, Q&A sessions and 121 talks with friendly experts – all with the aim to help you make sense of your savings.  Topics covered will include pension basics, ethical investing and how to feel good about your money.  To join the thousands who have got involved with the campaign and now feel much clearer and happier about their futures, visit Pension Awareness Live 2021

If you would like pension advice, Hamnett Wealth Management are your local Independent Financial Advisers.  We can look at whether your current pension arrangements are likely to help you achieve your retirement goals. If not, we will recommend actions to take and the likely effect of them in order to secure your financial future.

We ensure that you fully understand all of your numerous retirement options and that you don’t have to take the first offer from your existing pension provider. There is nearly always better value to be had from the open market when considering annuities and the new flexible pension option should also be fully considered.

Our impartial advice takes into account all of this as well as the latest retirement and pension legislation, including the new limits on lifetime allowances. If necessary, we will also recommend any steps you can take to limit your tax liabilities.

We’re operating as normal but can also offer appointments by telephone or Facetime, Microsoft Teams and Zoom. Please call 0114 235 3500 to arrange a free review meeting or visit www.hamnettwealth.com

Confusion provides little incentive for pension saving

“Constant tinkering” and a confusing system provide little incentive for pension saving, leaving millions at risk of poverty in old age, new research suggests.

This is despite the government giving out ‘free’ money in the form of tax relief.  These tax reliefs cost the government £40bn a year, yet just one in three savers say they are the reason they save into a pension, according to a recent article in the Independent, while more than half have no idea how pension tax relief works or how much they get.

You can read the article here: Jargon and confusion mean millions miss out on ‘free’ old-age cash | The Independent

Many people see the pension system as complex. Savers are expected to know their annual allowance and tax rate, national insurance reliefs in salary sacrifice, the lifetime allowance, and whether tax reliefs are given at source or through a net-pay agreement.  At Hamnett Wealth Management, we always speak in plain English and explain everything comprehensively. We encourage clients to ask as many questions as they need to until they are comfortable and able to make an informed decision.

If you would like pension advice, we can look at whether your current pension arrangements are likely to help you achieve your retirement goals. If not, we will recommend actions to take and the likely effect of them in order to secure your financial future.

We ensure that you fully understand all of your numerous retirement options and that you don’t have to take the first offer from your existing pension provider. There is nearly always better value to be had from the open market when considering annuities and the new flexible pension option should also be fully considered.

Our impartial advice takes into account all of this as well as the latest retirement and pension legislation, including the new limits on lifetime allowances. If necessary, we will also recommend any steps you can take to limit your tax liabilities.

We’re operating as normal but can also offer appointments by telephone or Facetime, Microsoft Teams and Zoom. Please call 0114 235 3500 to arrange a free review meeting or visit www.hamnettwealth.com

What’s Important to You?

When we are asked about what is important to us, our priorities will be driven by our past experiences, our present position, or a mixture of the two. Knowing what matters and why is an important part of planning for your future.

So, when do you want this future to become a reality? Are you looking to retire at 45 and travel the world or are you happy to work till you are 65 so you’re mortgage-free and secured enough to help your children in the future? If you don’t have a specific time frame in mind, another approach is to ask yourself, what kind of legacy do you want to leave behind? How do you want to be remembered and by whom?

There are some useful concepts and actions that may be helpful to consider as part of that process. Ines Uwiteto, Private Client Manager at 7IM, has shared her thoughts on this matter:

What’s important to you? | Private clients | 7IM

Whatever stage of life you are at, we offer unbiased expert pension and retirement planning advice. Our professional, qualified Independent Financial Advisers will look at whether your current pension arrangements are likely to help you achieve your retirement goals. If not, we will recommend actions to take and the likely effect of them in order to secure your financial future.

We ensure that you fully understand all of your numerous retirement options and that you don’t have to take the first offer from your existing pension provider. There is nearly always better value to be had from the open market when considering annuities and the new flexible pension option should also be fully considered.

Our impartial advice takes into account all of this as well as the latest retirement and pension legislation, including the new limits on lifetime allowances. If necessary, we will also recommend any steps you can take to limit your tax liabilities.

We can also review all of your existing arrangements and look at the performance of the underlying funds, the charges being levied and assess the projected income at your chosen retirement date.

Call us now on 0114 235 3500 or email us at: advice@hamnettwealth.com to arrange a free consultation.

Choose to invest in green and ethical funds

Money is powerful and we can use it to shape the companies and businesses that do well in today’s society. We can influence our economies every day with what we buy and where we buy products from.  Whether it’s cutting back on meat and dairy, or switching to a green energy company, people are increasingly looking for ways to reduce their impact on the environment. However, most people are unaware that they are typically propping up the fossil fuels industry through their workplace pension.

According to a recent article in the Guardian, each year the average UK pension pot finances 23 tonnes of COemissions through the businesses it invests in – the equivalent of running nine family cars each year or burning 1,100 coal fires annually.  You can read the full article on the Guardian website: Do you want your pension to invest in companies harming the planet? | Pensions | The Guardian

Ethical investments are moving into the mainstream marketplace. Putting your money where your morals are is on the increase. When you choose to invest in green and ethical funds, there is a choice of funds that can be used to fit your individual requirements. The majority of families that we deal with use our portfolios which have worked well. The risk of these funds changes depending on the risk each individual wishes to take and the funds are monitored on a 6-monthly basis. These portfolios can be used for ISAs, onshore and offshore bonds and pensions.

Our service is very focused on the individual so we can set up bespoke investment solutions to suit you. We are a member of the Ethical Investment Association which means we’re committed to increasing access to green and ethical investment advice. 

Interested in finding out more? Please give us a call on 0114 235 3500 or email us at advice@hamnettwealth.com for more information.

How much do you need for a happy retirement?

New research revealed today states that couples typically need £26k a year and single people need £19k a year to have a comfortable retirement.  This amount would cover essential bills plus regular short-haul holidays, leisure activities, alcohol and charity donations.

In order to achieve this, a couple would have to save private pensions worth £154,700 between them whilst an individual would need to build a pot worth £192,290 according to the study by consumer group Which?

You can read more about the study at This is Money: https://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/pensions/article-9640827/Couples-need-26k-single-people-19k-year-happy-retirement.html  It’s worth bearing in mind that this model overlooks issues such as care costs and declining homeownership.

There are several ways that you can look to boost your pension:

• Check for missing funds: The Department for Work and Pensions estimates that there could be 1.6m lost pension pots, containing a total of £19.4bn. The government offers a scheme to track down lost pensions at: gov.uk/find-pension-contact-details.

• Make use of pension freedoms: From the age of 55 you can do what you want with your retirement savings: you can draw an income, buy an annuity, take a cash lump sum or a combination of these options. Making the best use of a mixed approach to your retirement income could boost your income, and an adviser can help with this.

• Inform your pension provider: If you are considering delaying your retirement, tell your workplace pension provider in plenty of time. This will prevent your pension moving into lower-risk assets and missing out on further opportunities for growth.

There are plenty of free resources out there that can help you plan for retirement. For example, you can speak to the government-backed free guidance service Pension Wise about any concerns. You can find out what you are on track to receive from the state pension, and when it will be paid, by using the government’s online forecast tool at: gov.uk/check-state-pension.

Whatever stage of life you are at, Hammett Wealth Management offers unbiased expert pension and retirement planning advice. Our professional, qualified Independent Financial Advisers will look at whether your current pension arrangements are likely to help you achieve your retirement goals. If not, we will recommend actions to take and the likely effect of them in order to secure your financial future.

We ensure that you fully understand all of your numerous retirement options and that you don’t have to take the first offer from your existing pension provider. There is nearly always better value to be had from the open market when considering annuities and the new flexible pension option should also be fully considered. Our impartial advice takes into account all of this as well as the latest retirement and pension legislation, including the new limits on lifetime allowances. If necessary, we will also recommend any steps you can take to limit your tax liabilities.

We can also review all of your existing arrangements and look at the performance of the underlying funds, the charges being levied and assess the projected income at your chosen retirement date.

Please call us on 0114 235 3500 for a free initial meeting. Our office is operating as normal but we can also offer appointments by telephone or Facetime, Microsoft teams & Zoom.

Dementia Action Week 17th – 23rd May

Led by Alzheimer’s Society, Dementia Action Week is a national event that sees the public coming together to take action to improve the lives of people affected by dementia. The word ‘dementia’ describes a set of symptoms that may include memory loss and difficulties with thinking, problem-solving or language. These changes are often small to start with, but for someone with dementia they have become severe enough to affect daily life. As dementia progresses, there may come a time when the person will struggle to manage their finances and affairs.  You can find more information about the help and support available at: www.nhs.uk/conditions/dementia/finances/.

Hamnett Wealth Management are working towards becoming a dementia-friendly business. All of our staff have completed online training that covered three key areas – people, processes and places. 

We have also committed to the Financial Vulnerability Taskforce Charter which sets out how professionals are expected to work with customers in vulnerable circumstances. You can find out more about the Financial Vulnerability Taskforce at: www.fvtaskforce.co.uk

Our Director Jonathan Rowley is also a SOLLA Accredited Later Life Adviser.  SOLLA (Society of Later Life Advisers) helps people in finding trusted accredited financial advisers who understand financial needs in later life.  For more information on SOLLA, please visit their website: www.societyoflaterlifeadvisers.co.uk.

Few of us think about the possibility of long-term care, never mind having the resources to pay for it. By taking appropriate action now, you and your family can face the future with peace of mind. Long-term care planning gives you choice, flexibility and dignity when care is needed. It protects the assets of your family, ensures stability for the future and can protect against future potential fee increases.  We know all the issues involved in this delicate subject and our professional, qualified and Independent Financial Advisers can provide workable solutions to the problems of long-term care funding and the preservation of the remaining estate.

We are specialists in structuring your affairs so that your assets are protected and more of your money passes down to your family members and beneficiaries. We can also provide you with expert impartial advice on wills, trusts and protecting your assets, including your property.  Some areas of finance can be complex but we always speak in plain English and explain everything comprehensively. We encourage clients to ask as many questions as they need to until they are comfortable and able to make an informed decision.

Our office is operating as normal but we can also offer appointments in the comfort of your own home, by telephone or by Facetime, Microsoft teams and Zoom. Please call us on 0114 235 3500 to arrange a free initial meeting. 

Dying Matters Awareness Week 10th – 16th May 2021

Dying Matters Awareness Week, running from 10 – 16 May, is a chance for individuals and organisations to open up the conversation around dying, death and bereavement. This year focuses on the importance of being in a good place to die.

Dying Matters want people of all ages to be in a good place when they die – physically, emotionally and with the right care in place. Getting there means having some important conversations and taking some careful decisions. You can join in the conversation on social media by sharing your story on social media using the hashtags #InAGoodPlace and #DMAW21. Alternatively, visit the campaign website, Dying Matters, for more information and resources.

During the awareness week, there will be daily themes, including financial, to explore what it means to be in a good place, and how you and your loved ones can plan for the end of life.

At Hamnett Wealth, we can help you answer this question on a practical level by assisting you with long-term care planning, wills and protecting your assets.

By taking appropriate action now, you and your family can face the future with peace of mind.  Long-term care planning gives you choice, flexibility and dignity when care is needed. It protects the assets of your family, ensures stability for the future and can protect against future potential fee increases.

To talk to us about long-term care planning, wills and protecting your assets, please call 0114 235 3500.

Stress Awareness Month April 2021 – Regain Connection, Certainty and Control

Stress Awareness Month has been held every April, since 1992, to increase public awareness about both the causes and cures of our modern stress epidemic. Despite this running for 29 years, we have got a long way to go. According to the Mental Health Foundation, 74% of UK adults have felt so stressed at some point over the last year they felt overwhelmed or unable to cope.

Millions of us around the UK are experiencing high levels of stress and it is damaging our health. Stress is one of the great public health challenges of our time, but it still isn’t being taken as seriously as physical health concerns. Stress is a significant factor in mental health problems including anxiety and depression. It is also linked to physical health problems like heart disease, problems with our immune system, insomnia and digestive problems. Individually we need to understand what is causing us personal stress and learn what steps we can take to reduce it for ourselves and those around us.

The theme for Stress Awareness Month 2021 is ‘Regaining Connectivity, Certainty and Control’.  The Stress Management Society recently collaborated with Huawei to conduct a study on stress, gathering data from 2000 British adults. The research identified that 65% of people in the UK have felt more stressed since the COVID-19 restrictions began in March 2020.  The three key causes for concern are feelings of disconnection, uncertainty and a worrying loss of control.

This year the Stress Management Society will be hosting a 30 Day Challenge to encourage you to pick one action each for your Physical, Mental and Emotional Well-being to carry out every day.  It takes 30 days to turn actions into habits, which is why this is a month-long programme.  The 30-day challenge will maximise your chances of turning useful knowledge and techniques into positive behavioural change.

Hamnett Wealth Management could help you reduce your financial worries by working with you to plan for your future financial situation. We are passionate about making sure your finances are in good shape. We provide a bespoke personal financial planning service. Our extensive portfolio of advice covers areas from pensions to inheritance matters and tax-efficient investments. We are Chartered Independent Financial Advisors (IFAs) and are not restricted in any way. We are dedicated to building long-lasting relationships to help you secure your future.

To find out more about stress awareness and take a look at the fantastic resources available to help, please visit:  https://www.stress.org.uk/stressawarenessmonth/