MONEYBOX; LESLEY COLLINS, head of Independent Women Financial Advisers in Edinburgh and Glasgow, answers your queries.
I NEED to start a pension as I have worked for four years now and have cleared all my student loans. My employer has a stakeholder scheme but doesn't pay into it. I want to retain independence and start one of my own. What do I look for?
IT depends if you want to take the responsibility of choosing and monitoring the pension yourself.
If you do, there are lots of insurance companies who will allow you to take out a pension directly.
Look for premium flexibility, past performance of their overall funds and the financial strength of the pension company as this can determine the level of bonuses paid.
It might be an idea to consult an independent financial adviser who will take your circumstances into account and recommend the correct product for you.
They will also provide advice on the funds to choose and should monitor the investments on your behalf.
MY wife and I invested pounds 20,000 five years ago for the purpose of growth. We invested in a cautious fund, with the value now being pounds 25,525. I am due to retire in three years but the value is not as much as we were expecting. Should we reinvest elsewhere?
YOU have achieved a return of about 5 per cent a year, which for this type of low- risk contract is reasonable.
Any investment in an equity fund would have probably experienced a loss, therefore your growth is above average.
If you wish to stay cautious, a fixed-interest fund or property may give you modest returns over the next three years. If you want to change your risk profile, then equities are undervalued and may be seen as a good buy. With retirement only three years away, I would stick with a lower risk approach.
MANY years ago, I transferred my final salary company pension to an insurance company. I have been teaching abroad for six years and my pension fund is not good. I am due to retire soon and have been advised by them that my fund can either provide a single life pension and/or widows benefits. What do you suggest?
CHECK with your provider if the initial advice you received has been appropriate.
It is not too late for you to ask for a review. Explain your circumstances and make clear you have been abroad. With regard to the accrued fund value, you have various options, one of which is to consider buying an annuity from an alternative provider which may increase the annuity offered.
You have the option to elect for a widow's pension not to be paid which will increase your single life annuity. If you choose this option, your pension benefits will cease on death. Also, most providers will offer 0, 5 and 10- years guaranteed periods which you may wish to consider.
I HAVE a maxi ISA but want to stop this and start a mini ISA. What do I need to do for the new tax year?
CONTACT your bank immediately as you cannot hold a maxi-ISA and a mini- ISA in the same tax year.
To recap, you can have three mini-ISAs in any tax year, one part in cash, one part in stocks and shares and one part in life assurance.
You can also transfer your holdings to other mini-ISA managers if you are unhappy with the growth achieved.
|Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback|
|Publication:||Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)|
|Date:||Apr 6, 2003|
|Previous Article:||Mailmoney shows it's one in a million.|
|Next Article:||MAILBOX: Support our boys and not their enemies.|