Beware of adopting short-term strategy on retirement

02 April 2003
Beware of opting for a short-term strategy when planning for a long-term retirement, says independent financial adviser The Annuity Bureau.

The bureau has launched a fact sheet to help retirees weigh-up their options and discourage people from basing their retirement investment plans on short-term economic problems.

Peter Quinton, managing director of The Annuity Bureau said, 'I am worried that many retirees are so concerned by the continuing market uncertainty and the pressure of having to buy an annuity - an irreversible decision that will determine their pension income for the rest of their lives - that they are making long term investment decisions based on short term outcomes.'

In 'What to Consider in Today's Market' The Annuity Bureau lays out the many annuity types and key strategic considerations to be taken into account by retirees in the present global economic slump.

The bureau is concerned that many soon-to-be pensioners are worrying about their future livelihood in a volatile and uneasy market.

Mr Quinton added, 'I am particularly concerned that many people are rushing to safety and buying level conventional annuities, the majority without even researching the best deal. This is despite the fact they are likely to be retired for some 20 years or more.'

The latest figures from the Association of British Insurers show that fewer than 35 per cent of retirees shopped around in the last quarter of last year - even after the new rules on open market disclosure came into effect on September 1st 2002.'

The Annuity Bureau urges those planning retirement to shop extensively for their annuity and to take stock of all the annuity types and strategic options available to them.

They advise that shopping around, even for conventional annuities, can add 30 per cent to the value of your pension income and to be aware that funds can be split between two or three life offices to spread the risk.

It also warns consumers to consider how much lower can the stock market fall and whether an investment linked annuity is appropriate and consider the financial strength of the life office you are purchasing your annuity from.

'No-one can predict how the market will turn and, understandably, consumers are very cautious. However 20 years or more is a long time to live off savings so the importance of making the right decision is vital to every retiree,' Mr Quinton explained.

'Yes, it is important to look at what's happening in the market, but it is also important to understand that you are likely to be retired for a long time. As much as possible, your decisions need to embrace all considerations,' he concluded.