Happiness is freedom

October, 2020

With greater freedom comes greater responsibility

‘The secret to happiness is freedom’ wrote the ancient Greek historian Thucydides. And with the introduction of the pension freedom rules, those aged over 55 now have far greater freedom of choice over how they use their pension pot to fund their retirement years.

When pension freedoms commenced during the tax year 2014/15, it dramatically changed the pensions landscape. How people can now access their retirement income is substantially different from previous generations. On the one hand, pension freedoms have made it much easier for people to access their pension pots, and as a result some may think they can do it themselves.


On the other hand, the reality about how best to convert a pension pot into cash and income is one of the most complex decisions in personal finance, and it is simply too difficult for most people to do without expert, professional financial advice.

Worryingly, half of Britons aged 55 and over (51%) admit they know little about the pension freedom rules introduced in April 2015, according to new research[1]. A further one in ten (10%) over-55s say they know nothing about the changes, which represented a complete shake-up of the UK’s pensions system five years ago.


Just a third of over-55s (34%) can remember the changes taking place. The research also found that women are less likely to know about the rules than men, with 58% over the age of 55 admitting to knowing little about them compared to 43% of men.

The pension freedoms let people aged 55 and over access their Defined Contribution or Money Purchase pension pot in whatever way they want. The biggest change is that people aged 55 and over can withdraw their entire pension pot as one lump sum. However, there are likely to be charges (tax implications) for cashing in your whole fund, and not all pension schemes (particular workplace pensions) or providers will offer this option.


Money Purchase pensions include Personal Pensions and Stakeholder Pensions. Your contributions are used to build up a pot of money, and you choose how and when you want to use that pot. They don’t include Defined Benefit pensions, where the amount of income you receive is linked to your salary and length of service.

With greater freedom comes greater responsibility. There is now more onus on people to keep themselves informed of their options when it comes to accessing their pension money. You need to make sure you have enough to live on throughout your retirement, and that you can provide for any dependants after you die.


Affinity Integrated Wealth Management is a trading style of Buryfield Grange Limited. ‘Buryfield Grange Limited’ is authorised and regulated by The Financial Conduct Authority. Not all services provided by Buryfield Grange are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. ‘Buryfield Grange Limited’ is registered in England and Wales at ‘Inspire House, 20 Tonbridge Road, Maidstone, Kent ME16 8RT Company registration numbers 4568338.

What our clients say

"Many thanks for your part in all this and I will be mentioning, and I trust that this is acceptable to you, to my accountants, Applied Accountancy, that you have given me excellent advice and been most helpful and prompt about it all."

Mr Leigh-Pemberton CBE DL, Kent

What our clients say

"Ian has always been helpful and hugely knowledgeable. I am a woman on my own and I feel that Ian is someone I can trust with my finances as I find much of this area very difficult to understand. He is professional and competent, as are all his staff."

Geraldine, Surrey – Client for 7 Years

What our clients say

"Finances, investments, pensions etc are all complex issues and generally complicated & difficult to understand. We chose Ian Painter of Affinity to manage our savings because he is very professional in his approach and his knowledge covers every aspect of the market to offer the best advice to secure our investments. We are very happy with the service we are receiving from Mr Painter and his team and have no reservations in recommending him to others."

Martyn, Berkshire – Client for 5 Years