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Has the retirement income landscape changed? / 2023-2024

11 December 2023

Understandably, many find the options for providing pension income and tax-free cash daunting, with many abbreviations, words and phrases that are simply gobbledegook. The desire to access funds and benefits is there; it's just a case of which option, or combination of options, is best suited. And there are many pitfalls, particularly for those who do not seek advice and guidance.

And there might be some big decisions to make to meet your overall financial needs.

Life junction

Accessing pension benefits is a big decision, indeed for many a life junction, perhaps at a point of ending or reducing working hours, mindful of some of the hobbies and pastimes that might be on the horizon with a little extra time. Our book, Coming in to Land: Runway to Retirement focuses on this life change and transition and more on this can be found here:

Annuity rate increases

One question that arises is has the landscape of retirement income options changed over the last year to eighteen months? Simply put, the answer is yes! One option that has come to the fore over this time is the purchase of a pension annuity for some or all of the funds (subject to your pension provider's rules).

Annuity rates have increased significantly over the course of the last year to 18 months (by an average of just under 40% on standard terms using the example of an individual aged 65). An annuity offers security of income on purchase; however, usually means that the fund value is extinguished. As with most things financial, annuity rates can rise as well as fall and this indicated uplift position may change into the future. However, at the time of writing (December 2023), annuities offer a value that they have been missing for many years.

State Pension check

Let's not forget that many rely on a few sources for their overall retirement income, and this can include the State Pension, particularly with the value that has been added by the triple lock over the last two years or so. Do check your State Pension forecast in good time, and if a shortfall is identified, then a top-up where available may offer value. More details can be found here:

Options & timing

We have detailed the way pension benefits can be accessed and used on our website here:

If you are approaching a time when you need to consider your pension options, then start early. Two or three years out or more if possible is ideal, appreciating that leaving it to the last minute may not give the time needed to get the best from your existing arrangements.


With the annuity market changes noted above, we recommend a regular review of your retirement strategy with a qualified professional. This is usually a sensible way to make sure that you are doing all you can for a comfortable older age, or to at least manage expectations as to the income that may be available to you, usually combined with other sources of income, into the future.

No individual advice is provided during the course of this blog.

Keith Churchouse FPFS
CFP Chartered FCSI
Chartered Financial Planner

Chapters Financial Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, number 402899.

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