If you are single, then planning for your twilight years becomes a relatively easy task.
You just have to ensure that you follow the recommendations made by your pension provider and create a right mix of investments which should provide you with a fixed monthly income for the rest of your life.
But if you have a spouse, an ageing parent or children to provide for, then your retirement plans must make provisions to ensure that the income you receive must be enough for them as well.
Also, you must consider the fact that they might live on after your death, requiring a stable income for the rest of their lives. Factors like your current health, healthcare costs and increased life expectancy should be a deciding factor when you plan your retirement income if you have dependants.
There are multiple ways to do this and you must ensure that you consider the pros and cons of each option before you select it.
Nominate before retiring
If you have a defined benefit pension scheme at your workplace, such as a final salary or average career scheme, then it allows you to choose one or more nominees to receive your pension pot, if you were to pass away before retiring.
Ensure that you fill this form beforehand. You may also need to update the information in this form or change the names if your financial or familial circumstances change.
Plan your finances
Depending on the type of pension plans you have invested in and the amount of pension you have accumulated, you can get a good idea of the amount you can receive each month.
You can use online tools like Pension Calculators or use the services of a financial expert to get a better idea.
In addition to this, your spouse or civil partner may have a pension pot of their own.
Plan how you can use the pension pot to provide an income that allows the two of you to live comfortably. Once again, either partner can nominate the other to inherit the pension, in the event of death.
After the introduction of new reforms in April 2015, you now have multiple choices to access your pension pot.
Read our article – Options for using your pension pot
Invest in an annuity
You can choose to take 25% of your pension pot as a tax-free cash amount. The rest can be used to purchase an Annuity.
An annuity will provide you with a fixed monthly income for you and your spouse for the rest of your lives.
There are different types of annuities and ensure that you choose one that can provide for your dependant after your death.
- Joint Life Annuity: If you choose a Joint life annuity, any financial dependant or nominee you choose will continue to receive an income in the event of your death. (In most cases, for the rest of their lives). It can also be used to pay your dependent children until they reach the age of 23. The income your beneficiary will receive after your death will depend on the income paid out to you while you are alive. The lesser you choose to be paid while you are alive, the more your dependent beneficiary will receive and vice-versa.
- Guarantee Period Annuity: A guarantee period annuity will pay you a fixed income for a guaranteed period of time. This may be 5 or 10 or 15 years depending on the scheme you choose. So, if the annuitant (a person whose pension was used to buy the annuity) dies five years into the period, the dependent person will receive the guaranteed income for the remainder of the term. However, if your partner or spouse outlives this term, they will not receive the income. There is also an option to buy a Joint annuity together with an annuity.
- Capital Protected Annuity: A capital protected or value protected annuity will pay your dependant a lump sum cash amount rather than a monthly income, after your death. The cash amount will be the remainder of the pension pot after deducting the income already paid out to you before your death.