If you are invested in the stock market (which you almost certainly will be if you have a pension) and have seen the value of your investments fall, it’s tempting to cut and run and put it all somewhere you think is safer. But if you do, you will be selling your investments at a loss and giving up the chance to make up those losses if the market starts to rise again.
Need to know
- If you don’t need the money right now – or within the next few years – think very carefully before taking your money out. Get advice from a regulated financial adviser before doing anything. You will have to pay for this advice, but it could save you a lot of money (and worry) in the long run. If you sell when you have made a loss – you will miss out on any increases in value in the future if the market recovers
- If you do need money now and have cash savings that are more easily accessible and could be used instead, then consider that route first. Is this the ‘rainy day’ that you have been keeping that money for?
- If not, then check out other options first. If you need the money to pay off debts or to keep afloat because your income has dropped, the Government has announced a range of measures to offer support to people during this difficult time. We can help you navigate the different schemes.
Useful to know
- If you decide to leave your investments where they are, it’s still a good idea to review the funds your money is invested in. Do they match the amount of risk you are comfortable with? Do you even know where they are invested and how risky the funds are? If the answer to either of those questions is “no” – get some professional help.
- Be very careful of scams during this time. For example, if you are under 55 and anyone tries to tell you that you can take a loan from your pension to tide you over don’t believe them – you can’t. Apart from in two very specific circumstances, if you take money out of your pension before age 55 you will end up paying huge fees to the company who suggested it AND face a large tax bill. You may even lose what’s left.
- Even if you are over 55 – don’t automatically think that using money from your pension to pay debts or bills is the right thing to do. There is other action you can take which may work better for you in the long run.
Action to take
- If you are worried, don’t suffer in silence. Get some help. You can speak to one of our Money or Pension Guides who can talk you through the options open to you or help you to find a regulated financial adviser.
- Consider taking regulated financial advice. Regulated Advisers can give you advice on what to do – that’s what you pay them for. But make sure they are regulated.
- Review the funds you are invested in. Make sure they match how much risk you are comfortable with and the length of time you have before you will need access to your money.
- Don’t interact with anyone who contacts you out of the blue and who asks for any personal or bank details – only deal with firms or organisations you have researched, and you trust.
This article is provided by the Money Advice Service.