The Atticus Papers

Bringing clarity to finance

Tuesday 3rd August, 2021

What is a pension? - A guide to the pension and retirement options in the UK

I was recently confronted with this question by one of my clients, who explained that in my articles I frequently assume a level of knowledge amongst my readers that simply isn’t there. I was shocked to hear this and quite frustrated with myself. Here I am, happily making articles and videos about the more complex areas of pensions, investments and Inheritance Tax planning, when it had never occurred to me to put together an article explaining the basics of what pensions actually are, what they do and the options they offer. We do have a free pension guide available under the resources section of our website, but this is largely a users guide to defined contribution pensions, with little focus on the other pension options available, like the State Pension and Defined Benefit Pensions. In order to address this oversight, I have put together this article where I will look at the most commonly asked questions I come across relating to pensions. In the article I will look at the following areas: • What is a pension? • The State Pension • Defined Benefit (Final Salary) Pensions • Defined Contribution (Money Purchase) Pensions When looking at the pensions, I will consider: • What they are • Eligibility • How they work • Your retirement options • What happens to the pension when you die?

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Tuesday 6th July, 2021

How much can I contribute to my pension? - A guide to funding your pension (UK)

How much can you contribute to your pension each year? This is a crucial question, as knowing the answer will put you in a strong position to build your pension pot and take advantage of the fantastic tax reliefs on offer. However, there are also many pitfalls and if you contribute too much to your pension, this can result in an unforeseen Annual Allowance tax charge. It is therefore very important that you have a broad understanding of the rules relating to pension contributions and what your options are. The article below will explain the pension Annual Allowance, pension carry forward principles, The Tapered Annual Allowance for high earners, the Money Purchase Annual Allowance and the impact of exceeding your annual pension allowance. It will also cover how contributions are made and tax relief provided.

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Monday 5th July, 2021

Pensions and divorce - how are pensions treated when a marriage breaks up?

"Do pensions form part of the marital assets?" This is a question I am frequently asked by clients who are unfortunately getting divorced. It is a really important question, as pensions are often the most valuable asset that has been built up during the course of a marriage, quite frequently worth more than the couple's house. Unfortunately, these are assets that are also frequently ignored in divorce discussions and the final financial settlement, leaving at least one of the parties in an unenviable position when it comes to funding their retirement in the future. In the article below, I will discuss which pension benefits may be taken into consideration when getting divorced, how they are valued and the options available when dividing the benefits between the two parties.

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Monday 28th June, 2021

Should I stop paying into my pension if it exceeds the Lifetime Allowance?

"Should I keep paying into my pension if it reaches the Lifetime Allowance" This is a question I am frequently asked by clients who are approaching (or have exceeded) the pension Lifetime Allowance threshold and are concerned that they may trigger a 55% tax charge on their pension. This is a very valid concern, but for many people, the implications of exceeding the Pension Lifetime Allowance are not as horrendous as they may think and there may be far more benefit in continuing to fund their pension. In the article below I will discuss the various options available when the Lifetime Allowance is exceeded. I will also highlight through calculations and examples, circumstances in which it is potentially better to continue funding your pension.

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If you would like further information, please don’t hesitate to ask us for one of our more complete digital guides to finance.