Steve Lewis, LV= Head of Retirement Distribution commented: “The current economic environment creates a real challenge for someone retiring today. The Governor of the Bank of England has clearly stated that the outlook for inflation in 2015 may well be negative and yet in the next few years inflation will return to target and then rise a little further. The impact on interest rates in the short term has been negative and the knock on effect to annuity rates has been inevitable. Some may therefore take the view that higher rates in 3 to 5 years’ time may provide more attractive conditions for locking into long term guaranteed returns.
“The retiree has to recognise that inflation is perhaps the biggest risk to their retirement income plans. Setting out for a lifetime in retirement based on an expectation that today’s environment will continue would just be wrong. Individuals and advisers need to understand and plan for inflation.
“Pension Freedom regulations coming into force on the 6th April do offer a helping hand to anyone looking to access their pension funds today. The ability to secure a baseline income to cover the household essentials and use the balance of the retirement savings to provide a fund for lifestyle expenditure is now possible. It is still of course essential for individuals to make sure they are underwritten before they look to secure any annuity. Identifying health issues, or lifestyle factors, is not only a good thing to do, but can also result in a significantly higher guaranteed income from an annuity.
“One of the most popular solutions in the LV= portfolio today is the guaranteed income drawdown, commonly referred to as a fixed term annuity, as this offers the individual a guaranteed income for an agreed period of time, with a guaranteed maturity value. It is of course not without risk. Inflation is a very important factor, but predicting inflation for the next 5 years is a lot easier than for the next 25 years.”