‘Only a third have ever taken financial advice’

The managing director of Axa Life Invest warned that the majority of well-off pensioners did not take financial advice before they locked themselves into an annuity.

Figures released by the life company revealed that 67 per cent of pensioners had never received financial advice, challenging the notion that advisers could count on people planning for major life events.

The research found at 67 per cent of households with an income of between £50,000 and £90,000 were prepared to take financial advice, the highest figure in the report.

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The poll of 200 people found that women were less likely to consult an adviser as 71 per cent were not interested in this service, compared to 65 per cent of men.

It also found that 18.5 per cent took advice before the age of 40, compared to just 3 per cent in the decade before they retired. Only 0.5 per cent sought financial advice after they were 60.

Almost 40 per cent of pensioners did not start saving for retirement until they were 40, and 15.5 per cent had never saved for retirement at all.

Mr Smallcombe said: “Although our survey focused on UK pensioners who are not reliant on state benefits, only one-third of our survey respondents had ever taken financial advice in their lives.

“But the benefit of financial advice is huge. You could get 15 per cent to 20 per cent more from your retirement income if you look at all the options which might be right for you. It pays to assess all the options available to you in advance and plan for your retirement early.”

Adviser comment

Rosemary Heaversedge, director of Shropshire-based Shropshire Independent Financial Services, said: “I am not surprised that so few do anything with their pension pots when they approach retirement, given the small number of inquiries that I get. Industry figures such as Tom McPhail [of Hargreaves Lansdown] have worked hard to remedy this. The problem is that it tends to be those with larger pension pots who are aware that they need advice. Helping those with small pension pots is just not economical. Many men are also leaving their wives at risk by taking single life annuities.”