Pensions are a private matter

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The Independent Online
If your job does not provide a pension scheme, you need to set up your own. The first thing to remember is that if you talk to a company direct, or see their representative, you will receive advice on what sort of provision you need to make, but you will be told only about that company's products. Their "appointed representatives" - are just company salesmen.

To find out what is on offer in the whole pension market, you will either need to devote a lot of time to collecting and analysing information - or take the easy route, and go to see an independent financial adviser (IFA).

IFAs can help you work out how much pension provision you already have, and how much you need to save to achieve the standard of living you want in retirement. He or she will then consider suitable pension plans. For example, you may want to invest only in ethical funds. If nearing retirement you may want funds with a low risk, whereas a younger investor may take on more risk in the hope of achieving better rewards.

The IFA can be paid either by a fee, or by commission. A fee is often cheaper in the long run. Expect to pay about pounds 100 an hour, for around three hours of the IFA's time. For details of three IFAs near you, call IFA Promotion on 0117-971 1177, and it is worth asking for a pensions specialist.

Abigail Montrose

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