An unexpected redundancy last year forced Roger Werner, 59 at the time, to think seriously about whether he could afford retiring early. A Director of a small arts charity for 23 years, he wanted to dedicate his time volunteering in local projects, starting with building a multi-purpose venue in his Devonshire-town Crediton.
Not one to take this decision lightly, Roger began his research. With five pensions in different places, it was difficult to understand exactly what he had and to calculate the impact different costs were having on his pension savings.
He’s now much happier having all his pensions in one place, and feels they are working that little bit harder for him.
Roger wasn’t alone in having multiple pensions. Around 6.6 million people with numerous pensions have lost track of at least one of their retirement pots, according to provider Aegon.
Researching his personal pension options
Taking advantage of the opportunity to have free face-to-face meetings with advisors from his company pension and a local independent financial advisor in town, Roger was told a digital wealth manager like Moneyfarm could be the cost-efficient financial solution he was looking for to manage his retirement income.
Thorough online research and regular, informative discussions with our Head of Investment Consultants, Will Hedden, meant Roger was confident in Moneyfarm’s ability to manage his pension savings. This personal service meant he knew real people were there to help him through what can be a financially daunting period of your life.
“In my working life I learnt very quickly that you need to be able to relate to people,” explains Roger. “Personal relationships make the world work.”
Cost is important to Roger. Although he doesn’t want to give a large chunk of his pension to his provider, he is happy to pay to have his pension investments managed in the best way to reflect his investor profile, risk appetite and retirement goals.
Of course, another option was to use an investment platform and manage his investment portfolio himself.
“I didn’t feel qualified,” Roger explains. “I lacked the confidence and knew I’d have to do a lot of research myself. Wherever you go, uncertainties in the world will be the same. It comes down to what you want to spend your time on.”
Instead, Roger gets to spend his time with his family, volunteer in his local community and play badminton, safe in the knowledge that he’s getting cost-efficient investment advice and experts are managing his pension on his behalf.
He doesn’t mind that he won’t earn any money from playing his part in building his local community hub, it will be rewarding in other ways. The project will take three-four years to complete, but by the end he hopes to have built a financially sustainable venue that will seat 200 people, giving all generations in his Crediton town a place to call their own.
How he uses the Moneyfarm Pension
Marrying later in life, both Roger and his wife had separate properties that they were able to sell and then invest the capital elsewhere. He relies on this for his regular income, which he supplements with flexi-access drawdown from his Moneyfarm Pension.
Roger plans on only crystallising part of his pension each year until he gets the state pension. He sees this as his pocket money, helping pay for badminton and meals out.
Many pension providers charge you to withdraw from your pension, which can add up quite quickly. With Moneyfarm Roger only pays the account management fee and ETF fee, there are no surprise extra charges. For someone who is aware of costs, this is a good match.
“By keeping my pension invested during my retirement, I can try and preserve the value of my pension instead of eroding it,” he explains.
Saving for his retirement
Roger had a company pension that he had saved into during the ten years he working in purchasing, but only started thinking about opening personal pensions when started his charity job as he was self-employed.
“I was starting to get a bit older, in my late 30s, and I wanted to make sure I had something put away. I set-up a monthly direct debit and just forgot about it. I then budgeted from the rest,” says Roger of his retirement savings habit.
When it comes to his retirement goals, Roger wants to see the world. “I’m not a typical case,” says Roger. “ I did a lot of travelling before adopting my children, who are still at school.”
It’s six years until the youngest should fly the nest, which is when Roger and his wife plan to go back to travelling around Europe and further afield. So far, his favourite place he’s been to is Cambodia – he’s been three times.
Short-term, he wants to see his son leave school with GCSEs to give him some security to go into the world, and wants to support his youngest through education.
He concludes: “My short-term goals are my family.”