Protecting your money
You’ve seen the small print, but what does it mean? Who’s protecting your money, and where do you stand if things do go wrong?
How do I protect my money?
You want to make sure that you protect the money that you've worked hard to save. And there are several things you can do to make sure your money stays safe, ranging from protection connected with investments to simple ‘protect my assets’ measures you can take.
If you are in any doubt about protecting your money, then we recommend that you talk to a professional adviser. If you don’t have one at the moment, don’t worry, you can find an impartial adviser on thepfs.org or unbiased.co.uk.
Protecting your investments
You can take out an insurance policy to protect your estate against the risks presented by Inheritance Tax, but it’s harder to protect ‘pure investments’.
That’s why you’re encouraged to make sure you understand all of the risks involved in investing: the value of your money may go down as well as up and you may get back less than you originally invested. You can find out more about investment risk here.
Protecting your cash
It’s surprising, how many people still keep some cash at home ‘just in case’. But actually, your money should be relatively safe in a high street bank or building society.
Every banking institution has processes in place to help protect your money and, as a consumer, you’re protected by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, too. Find out more about organisations that protect your money.
What else do I need to know?
It’s important to make sure you’re comfortable with the decisions you are making about your money, and that includes being confident that it’s invested with reputable providers, or being looked after by an institution that’s governed by the Financial Conduct Authority. If you’re in doubt, talk to a professional adviser and ask for more details about protecting your money.
Protecting yourself against 'scammers'
Of course there are people out there who will not have your best intentions at heart. There are certain things that you can do to avoid fraudsters who are looking to exploit you and your pension savings. Pete Matthew explains which common signs you should look out for:
Who are pension scammers?
They are anyone who is looking to trick you out of your pension savings. They may make you big promises about how much money they can make you but they may also disappear with your hard-earned cash.
What should I look out for to avoid 'scammers'?
Things to look out for include:
- Cold calling – most trustworthy financial advisers avoid cold calling. If you are in any doubt simply hang up the phone. You can search for an impartial qualified adviser on thepfs.org or unbiased.co.uk.
- Offers of free pensions advice or a free pension review that are probably too good to be true.
- If someone is rushing you into a decision. A good adviser would never do this so the best thing to do here is to walk away or hang up.
- If they are encouraging you to take a large lump sum without explaining how this will affect the tax that you pay.
- If they are using words such as 'loophole', 'opportunity' or 'pension liberation'.
- If they keep calling you and try to keep you on the phone for as long as possible.
- If they promise an offer that is exclusive to you and tell you not to tell anyone else about it.
What can I do to avoid 'scammers'?
- Check your adviser is registered with the FCA. Every adviser and their company should have individual registration numbers. You can look these up here www.fca.org.uk/register. Make sure that you do this before you meet with them.
- Educate yourself – there are lots of useful resources on this website to help explain the complexities of retirement. But if you can't find what you are looking for here, then the Pension Wise website has lots of useful information and the FCA Scamsmart website will also be able to provide you with more information about what you need to look out for.
- Speak to an independent adviser by searching on thepfs.org or unbiased.co.uk.
- Visit The Pensions Regulator website. They have lots of useful resources that can help you spot a scam including an interactive tool.