Pensions are wonderful.
We love pensions. The way chefs love pasta, the way lawyers love fine print. Why? You could call the pension the most powerful financial tool available to Britons who hope not to work until they drop dead. They help you prepare for retirement, they reduce your tax bill, they allow you to take advantage of the financial miracle known as compounding so you can someday buy a giant gold-plated yacht (or at least a yearly vacation to the Canary Islands in perpetuity).
So we're proud to announce that we've built the perfect version of the thing. It's called the Wealthsimple Pension.
Still have some questions? Good!
Am I going to save an enormous amount of money on taxes, so much that I will realise that not having a pension should be considered a self-inflicted financial crime?
It's like we wrote this question ourselves! (We did.) There's a little ground to cover before we explain the (excellent) tax implications. But we wanted to let you know that yes, you will save money on taxes, in case anyone gets bored and doesn't read all the way to the end of this article. We hear people do that on the internet.
Is it embarrassing if I don't really know what a pension is?
No. When it comes to money, there are no stupid questions. Here's a simple definition. A pension is a type of government-sanctioned account that is meant to help ordinary citizens save for retirement. You can contribute a maximum of £40,000 a year. Since you can't contribute more than your salary, if you don't earn that much you won't be able to contribute the full amount; likewise, if you make more than £150,000 your contribution allowance begins to get smaller. The money you contribute reduces your taxable income. And the money you contribute also grows tax-free until you are ready to begin withdrawing it — which can't be before age 55. The rules are — unsurprisingly for those of you who are familiar with government programmes — a little confusing. Read this. Or better yet, sign up for Wealthsimple and one of our kind, smart and 100% human investment advisers will walk you through how it can best work for you.
There are two kinds of pensions. One called a workplace pension, which is provided by your employer as part of your package of benefits. That one you don't have any choice about. Then there's the SIPP — Self-Invested Personal Pension — that anyone can set up for herself. The Wealthsimple Pension is a SIPP.
What's so great about a pension?
There are a few things about pensions that make them extremely important to people who like money.
• You won't retire penniless
• You'll harness the power of compounding. Compounding means a big difference over time, so it's best to start right away. Early-bird pension savers can put away less now and make more later. For example, if a 25-year-old hopes to enjoy a £18,000 pension per year, which equates to a pot of £300,000, she’ll need to start saving £242 a month; if the same person waits to age 45 to start contributing to a pension, she’ll have to put away £1,275 a month to collect the same £18,000 at retirement.
• You'll get tax relief! Almost anyone who contributes to a pension will lower his or her tax bill. For most of us, the UK government will actually add 25% of whatever we contribute — a kind of instant tax return. So a £10,000 contribution will result in £12,500 in your account. Those lucky enough to occupy the two top tax brackets will also be able to deduct up to an additional 20 or 25% of their contribution at tax time. The rules are complicated, and more than a little dull, so consult our FAQ here.
Why are you so convinced Wealthsimple's pension is better?
If you’re already a client, you’ll find all the qualities you already love about us in the Wealthsimple Pension. If not, we humbly submit that you'll discover all the qualities that make Wealthsimple so loveable. Like:
• The low fees! Fees are the secret scourge of investment growth, and we’re proud to say that our fees are among the very lowest, and completely transparent. We charge a 0.7% annual fee for accounts up to £100,000, and 0.5% for accounts over £100,000. Other investment advisers charge an average of 2.56%*.
• The ease of getting started! Opening an account takes less than ten minutes. There's no paper, it's all online and you can start with as little as £1.
• A better portfolio: This is Wealthsimple's speciality. In just five minutes we will find the perfect mix of investments to suit your financial situation and risk level — made of a variety of low-fee, highly diversified international funds. And all our portfolios are customised to perfectly fit your financial needs.
• No paper, gorgeous app. In short, everything you love about technology.
• Plus actual human advice. Our highly qualified, human investment advisers are always there to pick up the phone and answer questions at no additional charge — something no competitors offer.
• Invest your values. Wealthsimple offers a Socially Responsible Investing portfolio that lets you build wealth by investing in companies that further socially responsible initiatives like clean energy and fair labour practices.
How do I get started?
Just click here. If you've got your national insurance number, home address, email, and phone number you can be done in less time than it takes to boil spaghetti.
But wait. I have a job. Why would I need a Wealthsimple Pension?
Great question! The Wealthsimple Pension is indeed a must-have for the growing membership of the gig economy who don’t have access to plans at work. But we think it's a good idea to have a pension of your own outside of the one provided by your employer if at all possible — so you can save more, and build a better investment portfolio than many employer plans provide for.
Should I still opt into my workplace pension?
If your employer matches your contributions, the easy answer is: yes you should.
Matching contributions means that, up to a certain percent of your salary (or a fixed amount of pounds), your employer will put their money into your account when you contribute to your pension. And one of our first rules is: never say no to free money.
Can I combine all my pensions from my old jobs into one perfect Wealthsimple Pension?
Yes! This is actually an excellent idea. Anytime you leave a job, you are free to transfer your workplace pension into your very own SIPP.
Here are a few reasons why it might be a good idea:
• Consolidating will allow you to pursue a coherent investment strategy, specifically tailored to your investment goals. Times change, and so do your circumstances and some pension plans will look about as attractive now as that pair of Gordon Brown-era jorts sitting at the very bottom of your drawer.
• Your old plan might be bad: Not only do we bet that our diversified, personalised portfolios are better, but chances are that our management fees are considerably lower than your prior employer’s plan.
• Perhaps best of all, you’ll be able to monitor all your retirement savings in one place on Wealthsimple’s double-Webby-Award winning interface, which is so beautifully designed you’ll never have to scrunch up your face trying to read it, which may prevent wrinkles — a Wealthsimple Pension could save you thousands on future cosmetic treatments.
So what are you waiting for? There are an infinite number of ways to spend five minutes online, but we can’t think of any that will reward you more decades from now than opening a Wealthsimple Pension.
*Source: Grant Thornton, 2016.