Pensions guidance and advice

The government gives free guidance on private pensions through a scheme called Pension Wise. You can book an appointment with a pensions specialist by calling them for free on 0800 138 3944. Our financial guides can also talk to you about pensions. You can speak to them for free on 0808 808 00 00. Both Pension Wise and Macmillan provide impartial advice and do not recommend products or services.

If you need advice, a professional financial adviser will be able to help you find the best option. They can make sure you get the highest income from your pension. You will have a meeting with an adviser to discuss your needs. They will research your options and make a recommendation. Financial advisers charge for their services but many will not charge for the first meeting.

Your family or friends may be able to recommend a financial adviser. Or you can search online. Make sure that the financial adviser is authorised by checking their information on the Financial Services Register.

Free guidance

The Pensions Advisory Service gives free guidance about pensions. If you are aged 50 or over, the Pensions Advisory Service can also refer you to a free government scheme called Pension Wise. This scheme can give you extra guidance and support.

You can also call our financial guides on 0808 808 00 00 to talk about your pension options, or any other financial concerns you have.

The Pensions Advisory Service, Pension Wise and Macmillan’s financial guides are impartial. They won’t recommend any products or companies, and won’t tell you how to invest your money. If you need help deciding on these things, you may want to contact a financial adviser.


Financial advice

Pensions can be a complicated area. Specialist advice is a good way of making sure you think about all your options and make the most of your pension savings.

A professional financial adviser will be able to give you advice about the best option for your situation. They can also make sure you get the highest income from your pension. This can be particularly important when you are making decisions about how to access your pension.

The financial adviser should arrange a meeting to talk about your needs. They will ask questions about your finances and situation. They will then:

  • research the options offered by your pension
  • advise how the options could affect your tax position and eligibility for benefits
  • decide what they would recommend
  • get quotes on the income or lump sum you can expect to get.

If you are happy with their advice, they will do any applications for you. In some situations, they may need to share your medical information and contact your doctor.

Using a financial adviser means you will get more protection if they give you advice that later turns out to be wrong. There is a system to deal with complaints and, where necessary, to put things right.

How much does it cost?

A financial adviser will charge a fee for their service.

Financial advisers must agree their fees with you and how you will pay them in advance. You may agree an upfront fee, pay in instalments, or allow the adviser to take their fee from your pension savings. Many financial advisers will offer the first meeting for free.

Finding a financial adviser

You can find a financial adviser by asking family or friends for a recommendation, or by visiting the following websites:

  • Unbiased
  • Wayfinder
  • Personal Finance Society
  • Money Advice Service 

Always make sure the financial adviser is authorised. You can check their entry on the Financial Services Register. 

Things you and your financial adviser should think about

  • What is the right choice given my cancer prognosis?
  • Could I get an impaired-life annuity? An annuity is a type of financial product. It gives you a regular income in exchange for your pension savings. An impaired-life annuity pays more to people with cancer and some other health problems.
  • Could an increase in savings or income affect any benefits I’m getting?
  • How much tax would I pay if I cash in part or all of my savings?
  • Are my family or loved ones provided for if I die? Which option is best for them?

Back to Pensions

Understanding pensions

There are many different pension schemes available, including the State Pension that is paid by the government.

Accessing your pension

There are different ways of accessing your pension. This depends on your pension type and your illness.