Research published by annuity provider MGM Advantage suggested that as many as 1.85 million people aged over 55 will have to delay their retirement.

They have been hard hit by plummeting stock markets and property prices and now cannot afford to stop working.


On the job

As a result, many of these people will continue working to build up their pension fund before calling it a day in the world of work.

Understandably many of these people are upset with the finance firms that manage their pension pot. They argue that if you passed your money to a professional investor they should be able to make it grow rather than see it evaporate.


Self control

If you prefer to have control of your own money matters then there are options. A Self Invested Personal Pension or SIPP for short, allows you to allocate your money to the places you think it will grow. SIPP providers such as Suffolk Life and James Hay, part of bank Abbey will give you the tools to manage your own money.


Pension portal

Using your own website, you can act as your own fund manager. The SIPP provider will give you access to all the various asset classes such as shares, bonds, cash, property and even alternative assets such as wine or art. You can then choose where your money sits. The SIPP provider will charge an annual management fee for the service.

Check before you sign up to any deal that you are comfortable with the fees as they can vary from provider to provider.


Running the risk

The advantage of a SIPP is that it allows you to move your money around as you like. You can choose the types of risk you are willing to take with your cash. If for example you believe that stock markets are set to fall you can move your money to safer assets such as bonds or cash savings accounts. If on the other hand you have an optimistic outlook, you will be able to select the funds or shares which you believe are likely to grow in value.


Take a buffeting

The downside of SIPPs is that unless you have some experience of managing money or are very financially astute then you may not know which types of asset to invest in or be able to assess the risk you are exposing yourself to. You might fancy yourself as superstar money manager like Warren Buffet or George Soros but unless you really know what you are doing then a SIPP could be a bit of a gamble.

SIPPs are not normally recommended for people with smaller pension pots and many will have a minimum investment level of around £50,000. As with all financial products, if you do your homework and ensure you know what you are signing up to, a SIPP can be a way of putting yourself in control of your retirement income and a way to maximise your money.


To view SIPPs products click here.

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