The advisers, some of whom persuaded former British Steel workers to transfer out of their pension schemes, have been given fresh momentum following a series of recent corporate failures. Fears that the transfer frenzy could be running out of control caused the Work and Pensions Select Committee, led by Labour MP Frank Field, to accuse the City regulator of 'sleepwalking into another huge mis-selling scandal' - particularly in relation to the British Steel Pension Fund.
'My wife will need to work a further three years due to poor communication of child benefit changes...' A reader asks This is Money columnist Steve Webb how to get lost state pension credits back, and the Government explains why it only backdates them for three months when parents fall into this trap.
STEVE WEBB ANSWERS YOUR PENSION QUESTIONS
Beware official pension forecasts: Hundreds of thousands could be told the wrong sums - and they might not be accurate for another year
David Deabill, 62, pictured with wife Kim, was looking to boost his future payouts from £128 to £146 a week when he was told his latest state pension forecast was incorrect. Government staff said he must wait for a manual calculation that would take five to six weeks. Millions of people get state pension forecasts online or apply for paper versions from the Department for Work and Pensions, and rely on their accuracy when planning their finances in retirement.
My wife wants to keep our house while I get my pension in divorce, but I need somewhere to live - what should I do?
My wife and I are soon to have a 'clean break' divorce. Her lawyer wants me to sign over the house to the ex, that I have paid for all my working life in exchange for not touching my pension. My pension will not help me get a property until I retire as I would be too old to get a mortgage. Lawyer Caroline Elliott, pictured, replies.
I didn't seek a financial settlement on divorce because my ex-husband was threatening my life - can I get one now?
I need to claim from my ex-husband's private pension. I am 64. I have been divorced since 1992 with no child support or divorce settlement due to domestic violence. He threatened my life. I had an injunction with the power of arrest until I was divorced. Lawyer Jo Edwards, pictured, replies.
On reaching 65 in May 2015, I had a meeting with my financial adviser with a view to investing my private pension which amounted to just under £200,000. During our meeting I was advised the annual management charge would be 1.54% which sounded reasonable but after adding it up, it amounted to nearly £3,000 a year. Could you please advise if the management charges sound fair and if not are you able to suggest any alternatives.
Now 20,000 more savers can cash in their annuities: Victory for our campaign to extend pension freedoms to existing retirees
In a significant victory for our Unlock Our Pensions campaign, Phoenix Life will allow savers to swap their lifetime incomes for a one-off lump sum. We can reveal that around 20,000 savers with small annuities will be sent letters over the next six months outlining how much they could get. The offer is being limited to those with small pots providing an income of less than £300 a year and who are between the ages of 55 and 85.
In November 2014, on reaching 65, I deferred receiving my state pension. With the government scheme promising a return of 10.4 per cent on the accumulated amount and a weekly pension, it seemed a 'no-brainer'. I am also receiving a local education authority and teacher's pension. Could you advise me whether to take the three years' accumulated amount as a lump sum or to start taking my state pension at the new rate. Which would be the most advantageous?
How to invest in retirement: What you should do to get the best income and keep your pension pot intact
Elderly investors have to balance the need to make withdrawals yet keep a pot as intact as possible - whether to avoid running out of money or bequeath a pension to loved ones. We take a look at how much you need to change investing strategy in retirement, and round up some expert tips on keeping on top of your portfolio and cutting your tax bill.
Spend your pension pot last! We reveal the order to use savings in retirement to defend your cash from the taxman
Hoard your pension and spend other cash and investments first, to keep your money away from the taxman. That's the advice experts are dishing out to retirees worried about inheritance tax. But anyone who wants to minimise their annual income tax, or use up their capital gains tax allowance efficiently, might also benefit from not spending a pension first.
'I was hounded by sales calls after using a prepaid funeral website to compare prices': Beware fake sites preying on the fear of funeral costs
Most people looking to pay for their burial or cremation in advance do so to save their families the hassle, expense and heartache in future. But a lack of regulation over these plans and how they are sold has allowed for an eruption of websites claiming to be able to compare quotes. In reality, many are predatory number-catching websites known as 'lead generators'. Telephone numbers entered into the website can then be passed on to companies that deliver a hard-sell. Heather Bridger (pictured) felt pressured.
It's time to show will power! Six out of ten people don't have a will, but dying without one can risk all the family's finances
Millions of over-50s rely on inheritance or downsizing to fund retirement as they enjoy middle age rather than save into pensions
A new report suggests that although workers usually see their income peak in their early fifties, many fail to put that extra income into a pension, mostly because they don't earn enough or they still have to help out their children. About a quarter of over 50s said they relied on the extra cash they'd get from moving into a smaller home or in a cheaper area to pay for a comfortable retirement, a survey by Aviva has found.
Give away £24,000 - with no death duties: Our guide will help your family slash inheritance tax bills
It is one of the most hated taxes - and more and more people are being dragged into it as house prices rise. But couples can give away £24,000 a year without inheritance tax dogging their family. If the total value of your property, savings and other assets is below £425,000 - double that if you're a married couple - there's no need to worry about inheritance tax. But HM Revenue & Customs will levy 40 per cent on anything above this from your estate when you die.
Money Pit Stop: If I invest the profits from my business and buy-to-let, can I retire before I'm 50?
Savers snared by state pension trap... and even an ex-minister slams the taxman's penny-pinching ways
Today, This is Money and Money Mail lay bare the Government's shameful betrayal of savers who are desperate to boost their state pensions. Savers in their 50s and 60s handed over money under the impression that it would boost their weekly payouts, then were told they wouldn't qualify for any extra pension - and refused refunds. John Mullen, pictured, fought to get £3,500 back from the taxman and won his money after our intervention.
INVESTMENT CLINIC: I want to invest £60,000 for an income to supplement my pension. What is my best strategy?
10 ways to avoid inheritance tax: How to stop the taxman grabbing some of your estate from your loved ones
There are many legal ways to dodge the dreaded 40 per cent 'death tax' if you want to pass on the maximum sum possible and are prepared to plan ahead. Here's our round-up of 10 ways to reduce or avoid a large inheritance tax bill, some of which can be undertaken easily by any ordinary person without the need for elaborate arrangements or to pay for professional help.
Four tricks to build a fortune for retirement you can really enjoy: How to make the most of your pension saving
Building long-term wealth to see you though retirement is an essential part of life. Without doing it, you leave yourself dependent upon a state pension that will probably not kick in until your mid to late 60s. Even then it will not be sufficient to ensure financial security. Thankfully, we now have the tools necessary to accumulate investment wealth so that retirement can be enjoyed rather than endured. These tools come in the form of tax-friendly wrappers that reward long-term investing. If you adhere to our four-point plan, you will not go far wrong.
Why it may still be worth buying an annuity: Lock into an income that'll NEVER change (even if the stock market crashes)
You might be tempted if someone offered you an investment guaranteeing a secure income that would cover all your regular bills until the day you died. After all, that's the Holy Grail for savers trying to make their pensions last into old age. But would you be as keen if you heard that the name of the investment was ... an annuity? Possibly not.
Don't miss the great savings pension train: Millions are being left behind in the Government's auto-enrolment drive
Beat the annuity traps that could rob you of thousands: Lock down your retirement income with our brilliant guide
By the time you retire you should really have mapped out how you'll get an income that'll last as long as you'll need. Ideally, that means sitting down with a financial adviser and plotting a course for your investments before you stop work. But there is nothing stopping those who've already started dipping into their pot from coming up with a masterplan now.
Pensions to British expats could STOP if there is no Brexit deal: Influential MP Nicky Morgan and top firms warn of legal block on future payouts
Pension and insurance deals could enter legal limbo, leaving British expats and other EU residents facing financial hardship if their payouts are cut off after March 2019. The threat to UK expats has prompted influential House of Commons Treasury committee chair Nicky Morgan MP to throw her weight behind industry calls for the issue to be addressed in the Brexit talks.
Saver wins £8,700 as Footsie giant backs down after we investigate THIRD dispute over lost or delayed pension letters
EXCLUSIVE: Leah Gray, 29, was initially refused her company contributions on the grounds she hadn't acted on a letter giving a three-month deadline, but Reckitt Benckiser relented after our investigation. The hospital doctor protested she never received any communications, despite putting her new forwarding contacts in her notice letter.
My daughter will give her son £100k to buy a house, but can we protect it in case he marries and dies and his widow inherits?
My daughter is gifting her son £100,000 to help him buy a house. We are concerned that, if he marries and then dies, 'her' money in the form of the house may disappear to a third party, her son's widow. Which is the best way to safeguard the money? Lawyer James Antoniou, pictured, of Co-op Legal Services, replies.
For a sunny retirement, go south! West Sussex is revealed as the best place for pensioners to live with good weather and low crime rates
'Why did my pension fail to grow for 11 YEARS?!' Phoenix Life charges saver hundreds in fees on pot that hasn't budged from £15,333.96
James Hawken, 48, condemned Phoenix Life for levying hefty charges on a pension with zero growth for years - and demanding a quarter of the fund if he moves it before he is 55. He is among hundreds of thousands of savers left out of pocket after taking out 'with profits' products, which were touted as 'smoothing' returns during the ups and downs of financial markets.
A 78 PER CENT fee to move a pension? Saver, 36, condemns Friends Life's 'scandalous' £477 exit penalty to transfer a £615 pot
Horrified saver, Russell Jones, pictured, discovered he faced a 78% exit penalty to move an old Friends Life pension pot built up through work. It exposes the large loophole in the Government's drive to stamp out excessive fees. It banned exit fees on all new pensions and capped them at 1 per cent for over-55s, but the cap doesn't apply to older pots held by younger savers.
State pension age rise to 68 will cost fortysomethings £10k - but you can slash that loss by TWO THIRDS if you top up investments now
If you are in your mid-40s, it will cost you £3,340, or £21 a month if you set aside money gradually, to build up an extra £10,000 lump sum before you hit the new state retirement age.That assumes 5 per cent investment growth, net of fees, over 22 years. The Government announced last week it was bringing forward a rise in the state pension age to 68 by seven years. That means the increase will happen in 2037-2039, affecting everyone currently aged 46 or under.
How much should you save for decent retirement? Young workers told, put 18 PER CENT of your salary into a pension
Young workers must save a fifth of their wages to achieve an 'adequate' retirement income - 70 per cent of your average earnings over the course of a working life, according to think tank ILC-UK. People retiring today are doing so on incomes worth 76 per cent of their average earnings, because many still get generous and guaranteed final salary pensions not available to most younger workers.
ED MONK: Hit middle age and saved nothing into a pension? Here's how a cash-strapped average earner can build a £116k pot from scratch
How do you rescue your retirement if you've hit middle age and saved nothing into a pension yet? Ed Monk, associate director for personal investing at Fidelity International, says people in the 'squeezed middle' can still retire with peace of mind about their finances. He explains how an average earner in their forties can build a pot of well over £100,000 - or even double that if they try a bit harder - over the next couple of decades.
Don't let your pension savings dwindle: Five of the best funds to invest in for income in retirement
The financial watchdog has sounded the alarm over savers using pension freedoms to move cash to ordinary bank accounts, or into drawdown plans without getting advice. So what's the alternative? We have asked Darius McDermott, director of investment research house FundCalibre, to take a look at where you can invest for a better return.
Research claims investing £59,700 into a mortgaged buy-to-let property could grow by 237% over 20 years, while a 40% tax payer could see 435% if they invested the sum in a pension.The findings take into account the tax crackdown on buy-to-let that has seen stamp duty hiked and mortgage interest relief start to be hacked back.
Grandparents are the number one provider of childcare ahead of nurseries and pre-schools as the cost hits £4.5K per year
Childcare costs for children under the age of 13 are an average of £85.90 or £4,500 per year which is equivalent to a sixth of the average salary. Mounting childcare costs are putting parents under pressure and one in ten say it's their biggest monthly expense, behind rent and mortgage costs.
As a pensioner I don't have a huge income and I'm considering asking my daughter if she would give me some money for the days I look after my grandson. But I don't want to offend her, or risk her telling me she'll send my grandson to a nursery instead, so am very wary about doing this.
Do YOU know about the cash boost for your retirement? Half of workers are unaware of pension tax relief that can be worth thousands
Half of workers are unaware the Government helps people save for retirement by not taxing pension contributions and could be missing out on free cash paid into their pension as a result, a new survey reveals. Anyone making the UK average wage of £27,000 a year and putting 2% in a pension would get £5,400 from the Government over 40 years. But throw in 5% of your salary, and it would give you £13,520, says fund manager BlackRock.
Should the self-employed be auto-enrolled to avert a savings crisis? Plan to divert 4% of business profits into pension schemes
An opt-out system - placing business profits straight into a pension - is being pushed for because only one in seven of the UK's 4.8million-strong self-employed workforce is doing this at present. That means many will simply be unable to afford to retire, warns a report by pension giants Aviva and Royal London, which arrives as the Government confirms plans to include self-employed savers in the auto-enrolment system for workers.
Should you take your 25% tax-free pension lump sum? And are fears the Government could axe it justified?
The chance to pocket a tax-free 25 per cent lump sum from your retirement fund when you stop working is one of the most popular perks of saving into a pension. But there is another option - to not take the lump sum, but leave your pension alone to continue growing or provide a higher income over the course of retirement. We look at what to weigh up when you are deciding to take some, all or none.
Pension freedom is here: Half a million people can spend, save or invest money as they wish - but beware of tax traps and fraud
The huge overhaul allows older savers unrestricted access to their whole pension pots, and removes the need to buy an annuity to provide guaranteed income for life. But pension experts warn freedom reforms bring big and serious risks, like fraudsters stealing people's life savings, baffled retirees paying far too much tax, and the possibility of some treating their savings like a cash windfall and blowing them too fast.
Armchair guide to the great shake-up: Are you sitting comfortably? Then here is how pensions are changing
It's taken 20 years of campaigning by this newspaper - sometimes against governments of the day, other times against big corporate vested interests in the financial world. But after all the battling - and going a little greyer on top - it's time to raise a glass of prosecco and toast a new era. The great pensions revolution has arrived: goodbye unwieldy, straight- jacketing pensions; hello pensions fit for a modern, flexible Britain. From April 6, the pension pendulum swings firmly from provider to you, the consumer, the investor. Rejoice.
How to invest your pension and live off it in retirement: A 12-step starters' guide - and the pitfalls to avoid
While many people dislike the idea of an annuity, the alternative means keeping your pension invested in retirement and managing it yourself - a process that can be confusing and full of pitfalls. So here's a checklist, from investing, to income, taxes, the state pension, inheritance, illness, financial advice and much else.
Don't get stuck in the inheritance tax maze: We answer the questions you must ask to pass on as much as possible
Inheritance is an area of personal finance that can get very complicated, very quickly and what might seem relatively straightforward at first glance, often isn't. Worse, getting it wrong could have a big impact on the amount of money your family actually receives when you die. We've put together a comprehensive Q&A to help you navigate the rules.
Why more families are going to court over inheritance: But our free guide can help avoid costly rows
Modern family dynamics are also causing more rows, with divorce, second marriages, stepchildren and half-brothers and sisters now common. The more extended the family, the more likely it is that arguments will arise. One of the most recent high-profile cases is a dispute over the legacy left by Lynda Bellingham, who starred in the Oxo adverts in the Eighties.
Are you ready to embrace income drawdown in the wake of pension freedom? Here's how it works and what schemes are available
Instead of being stuck with stingy annuities, retirees now have the freedom to dip into their pensions using income drawdown. These schemes allow you to take sums out of your pension pot while the rest stays invested. So what are the advantages and risks of doing this, and what schemes are on offer? We run through the main options now, and look ahead to what might become available in future.
Should you take the risk out of your pension investments before retirement? Six steps to help you decide
People nearing retirement traditionally switch savings out of risky investments and into safer assets, but pension freedom reforms are likely to prompt a big rethink of this practice. That's because derisking - or 'lifestyling' as it's also known - is normally done in preparation for buying an annuity, but many more people will be opting to stay invested an draw down an iincome in future.
Making the most of your pension savings: What should you do with a retirement pot of £30k, £50k, £100k or £150k-plus?
Pension freedom reforms will give people more decision-making power over their retirement savings from next year. The options to access your money, spend or invest it will widen - although your choices will still largely depend on the size of your pension pot. Financial experts Mark Stone of Whitechurch Securities and Ben Westaway of Jessop Financial Planning explain both your opportunities and the limitations on them.
Are you at risk of leaving your family with nothing but legal bills because of a badly written will? Find out what your options are and how to guard yourself against an invalid will.
My mum and dad are separated and living apart now for years. Dad was emotionally abusive and unfaithful to mum for years. She now wants rid of him from her life - through divorce. But she is retired and lives off her pension, plus her state pension. Can my dad potentially make a bid for mum's pension if she were to divorce him? Jacqueline Major (pictured), solicitor and Partner at London law firm Hodge Jones & Allen, replies.
I want my late grandfather's war diaries, but my aunt refuses - can I make her hand them over because my mother is the eldest sibling?
On a recent trip to South Africa my mother requested that my aunt give me my grandfather's war diaries. She refused. As far as I know these were not specified in any will. Is she entitled to them because she has power of attorney for my grandmother? Can I make her hand them over because my mother is the oldest and so she should have claim to them?
My father died and now my stepmother plans to leave everything to her two children, can I do anything?
My father passed away in 2010. His second wife is 85 and still living in the house they bought. My father's half was left to myself and two sisters, possibly grandchildren. Now my father has passed away my stepmother is saying we will not get anything and everything will go to her two adult children. Is there anything we can do?
If I die and my husband remarries, how do I make sure my four kids inherit my money not their future stepmother?
I want to ensure that if I die before my husband he gets the money, but if he remarried and then died my half would end up with my children not any new spouse or her children. How can I safeguard so that any new wife would not reap the rewards of what we have built up and at some point my children will get something from my estate?
Can I dispute the will of a deceased relative? One family member persuaded her to rewrite her will in his wife's favour, kept her death a secret, held a shotgun funeral and cleared out her house before anyone else had been informed...
He suddenly kept turning up on my relative's doorstep prior to her death after ignoring her for years, redid her will to leave all assets to his own wife and appointed himself executor. By the time family members had been informed of the death, he and his wife had the house cleared out and all family items sent to an auction, and had a fast funeral with no announcement or attendees apart from him and his kids. We have no idea how much the assets were worth but there were valuable paintings, antiques and at least £50,000 in cash. Is this legal and what action can be taken?
Premium Bonds winners
|Prize value||Winning bond No.||Area|
|£50,000||249NH027648||Tyne and Wear|