The number of people seeking help with pensions from Citizens Advice has doubled in the last year, according to new figures from the charity. Citizens Advice has been badly depleted in parts of Cornwall, but there is online help.
Citizens Advice say they helped people with 12,898 issues related to personal pensions in the last year, compared to 6,658 the previous year – a massive rise of 94%. Queries ranged from questions about the tax implications of different pension options through to auto-enrolment issues.
Visits to Citizens Advice’s website from people seeking advice on how to choose a pension also rose by nearly a third (27%).
Citizens Advice has been offering face-to-face Pension Wise appointments to anyone over 50 with a defined contribution pension since pension freedoms were introduced in April 2015. The Citizens Advice figures published today are for enquiries independent of Pension Wise.
The new figures come as Citizens Advice releases its latest Advice Trends report, focusing on money matters. In the last year, Citizens Advice helped almost 170,000 people with money management and financial services issues, from insurance questions to help with income tax.
The new figures also show there has also been a rise in the number of people turning to Citizens Advice with enquiries about savings and investments – up 14% on last year with 2,000 issues.
People used Citizens Advice’s website nearly 19,000 times to find out the best ways to save – up almost 4,000 on the previous year.
Those seeking help from Citizens Advice often needed guidance on more than one issue. For example, of those seeking help with personal pensions, 39% also asked for support with money management skills, while 37% sought help for benefits issues.
Citizens Advice Chief Executive Gillian Guy, said:
“People are thinking more and more about the future of their money. From pensions to other savings and investments – it’s good news that people are seeking help early and looking ahead to the future when it comes to their finances. In the last year, we helped twice as many people with pensions, and many of them also asked for help to improve their overall money management skills – from budgeting advice to support with online banking.
We know that timely guidance on money management can be key to people having a better grasp of their household finances as well as a more secure future. It’s crucial money guidance isn’t just available at crisis points, such as when dealing with problem debt. People should be able to access it at key moments in their lives, like when they move jobs or have a baby.
Citizens Advice offers a wide range of support to help people understand their financial circumstances, plan for tomorrow and become financially secure for the future.”
The Advice Trends report also reveals:
Issues with credit reference agency up 9% to 6,100
Issues with wills up 7% to 13,290
Issues with income tax up 16% to 23,000