Pensions advice and guidance

The government scheme Pension Wise gives free guidance on pensions. You can be referred to this scheme by The Pensions Advisory Service or Citizens Advice. Our financial guides can also offer guidance about pensions. You can speak to them for free on 0808 808 00 00. Pension Wise, Macmillan’s financial guides, The Pensions Advisory Service and Citizens Advice are impartial and do not recommend products or services.

If you need advice, an independent professional financial adviser can help you find the best option. They can help you get the highest income from your pension. You will meet with an adviser to discuss your needs. They then research your options and make a recommendation. Financial advisers charge for their services, but many do 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 the adviser is authorised by checking their information on the Financial Services Register.

Free guidance

Our financial guidance team can give you free, independent guidance on all aspects of your personal finances. This includes pensions, mortgages, insurance, retirement, borrowing and savings. Our financial guides all have experience of the financial services industry and their role is to help people affected by cancer understand their options after a cancer diagnosis. You can call our financial guides on 0808 808 00 00 to talk about any financial worries you have.

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

Macmillan’s financial guides, The Pensions Advisory Service, Citizens Advice and Pension Wise are impartial. They do not recommend any products or companies, or tell you how to invest your money. They can discuss all your options so you can make an informed decision.

Macmillan looked at our finances and managed to get us an extra £20 a week as part of our pensions, which was really helpful.


We can help you understand your pension options.

David, Macmillan Financial Guide

Financial advice

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

An independent, professional financial adviser is a specialist who is legally allowed to give you recommendations about buying financial products. They can give you advice about the best option for your situation. They can also help 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 ask questions about your finances and situation. They then:

  • research the options offered by your pension
  • advise how the options could affect your taxes or 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 can do any applications for you. They may need to share your medical information and contact your doctor.

Using a financial adviser means you 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?

An independent financial adviser charges a fee for their service.

Financial advisers must agree their fees and how you will pay them in advance. You might agree to:

  • pay an upfront fee
  • pay in instalments
  • let the adviser take their fee from your pension savings.

Many financial advisers 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:

Always make sure the financial adviser is authorised. You can check they are on the Financial Services Register. Some financial advisers are linked to pension providers. Try to choose one who is independent.

Things you and your financial adviser should think about

  • What is the right choice, considering my cancer prognosis?
  • Could I get an impaired-life annuity?
  • Could an increase in savings or income affect any benefits I am getting?
  • How much tax would I pay if I cash in part, or all, of my savings?
  • Are my loved ones provided for if I die? Which option is best for them?

Back to Pensions

Understanding pensions

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

Accessing your pension

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