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Flexi-Access Drawdown Calculator - work out the effect of taking varying levels of income from a Flexible Drawdown plan.

 

Click here to launch the calculator

The purpose of this calculator is work out the following factors relating to drawdown pension fund withdrawal:

 
The effect of taking varying levels of income of a Flexible Drawdown pension plan.
 
  • Calculate Regular Income Withdrawals
  • Calculate Ad-hoc Cash Withdrawals
 

IMPORTANT NOTE

 
This calculator is only to be used for Flexi-Access Drawdown plans that were commenced or altered after April 2015. For existing Capped Pension Income Drawdown contracts that commenced before April 2015, use the Capped Pension Income Drawdown Calculator.
 

About Flexi-Access Drawdown

 
As the name implied, the rules around Flexi-Access Drawdown plans were designed to be more flexible and less onerous than under previous Pension Drawdown arrangements.
 
(If you need a complete overview about what Pension Drawdown is, view this page first.) Originally, Drawdown plans were designed to allow individuals to access their pension funds at retirement without the need to commit to purchasing an annuity. Whilst considered a great step forward when they were first introduced, they have faced increased criticism due to the fact that income levels were often considered restrictive. This is in part due to the fact that levels of income were dictated by GAD Rates, currently at an all time low.
 
Under Flexi-Access Drawdown, there are NO LIMITS on the levels of income that can be taken, including the whole value of the pension fund. (However, you will still be charged tax on the withdrawals). Some commentators have compared it to a bank account, but the charges levied and tax consequences means that it is not a like-for-like comparison. Also, unless you plan to withdraw your entire pension on day one, it is likely you will be invested in assets other than just cash.
 

Tax Issues

 
Freedom to withdraw whatever you want does not alter the tax consequences, which have not significantly changed. The main points to bear in mind.
 
  • The Tax-Free Pension Commencement Lump Sum remains the same, which means 25% of your pension funds can be withdrawn free of income tax at the outset.
  • Any further withdrawals are subject to your income tax at your marginal rate, just like other income.
  • Therefore, care should be taken if you are considering taking your entire pension fund as a lump sum, as this could inadvertently trigger a large (and possibly unexpected) higher rate income tax liability. If you are considering such an option, you should take a look at our Flexi-Access Drawdown Tax Calculator
 
The other other significant change is in relation to the death benefits. If you were to die whilst taking benefits from a drawdown plan, individuals previously faced a penal 55% tax charge on the fund when passed to beneficiaries. The new rules are:
 
  • On death before age 75 the fund can be passed on tax-free, whether as a lump sum or as a drawdown pension.
  • If death occurs after age 75, if the fund is passed on as a lump sum, a tax charge of 45% will apply. However, if passed on as a drawdown, the beneficiary will pay tax on the income at their marginal rate.
 

How to use the calculator

 
This calculator allows you to calculate the effect upon your pension fund of taking varying levels of income. This could be a fixed percentage or amount each year, or you can specify ad-hoc lump sums over various years.
 
There are various controls that can be adjusted, and each one will have an effect upon the ongoing value of your pension fund over the years. Many of the dropdown boxes contain the most common options, but are editable by clicking on the x in the box and over typing the options. The options are:
 

Set-Up Charges

 
If you seek Independent Financial Advice, you will be charged a fee for the advice. This could be a flat fee that you pay outright, but it could be an amount deducted from your pension fund, either as a percentage of the pension fund (usually after any tax-free lump sum has been taken) or a fixed amount. Also, many Insurance Companies and Pension Providers charge make an initial charge to set up the plan (this would still apply if it was your intention to encash the whole fund) This is often a fixed amount, usually in the hundreds of pounds, but can vary.
 

Ongoing Charges

 
If you are receiving regular Independent Financial Advice about your Drawdown plan, your advisor will most likely make an annual charge. Again, this could be a fixed fee that you pay yourself, but most commonly it is taken directly from your pension fee and expressed as a small percentage. Also, some Pension Companies levy an Annual Administration Charges, and may make further small charges for items such as ad-hoc withdrawals. Such charges should be entered, as they will have some impact upon your overall fund value over time.
 

Annual Management Charges

 
If you invested long-term in order to provide regular or ad-hoc income, you will need to keep a significant proportion of your pension funds invested in other assets than just cash. The most common way this is achieved is by investing in Investment Funds.
 
Each Fund Manager will levy an Annual Management Charge for managing the fund, and this can range from a fraction of a percent for tracker funds to a few percent for specialist funds. The average is somewhere around 1.5%. It is possible to invest in other assets such as Shares and Bonds directly, but there are still transaction costs involved.
 

Rate of Investment Fund Growth

 
This is the amount that you hope your investments would grow over time. Whilst the performance of investments do vary from year to year, this rate is more of a long-term average rather than a fixed yearly increase.
 
For example, you would expect Government Bonds to provide steady but unspectacular returns over time, whilst higher-risk funds that invest in the shares of smaller or specialist companies can experience wildly different levels of performance from year-to-year. These funds may provide spectacular investment returns or equally spectacular losses. You can select any rate of investment return, but you should be realistic and base it upon your actual attitude towards investment risk.
 

Withdrawals

 
This is relatively straightforward. You can specify that you wish to take a regular income, either as a fixed amount or a percentage of the pension fund, either on a monthly or annual basis. However, if you plan to take different levels of withdrawals, i.e. quite large withdrawals in the first couple of years and lower levels in subsequent years, click on the checkbox next to the 'Add Different Fixed Withdrawals for specific years' option and enter the figures for each year.
 

The Calculation

 

The Calculator will display the effect of the withdrawals on a year by year basis, and indicate whether the withdrawals are likely to exhaust the fund, or whether it is likely to last the period that you have specified. Please note whilst this calculator will give a good indication of the effects of the withdrawals upon your pension fund based upon the variables that are input, it is not as detailed as a quotation that you would receive from an Insurance Company or Pension Provider. If you are seriously looking at taking such a course of action, you should get some actual quotations and / or take Professional Financial Advice.

Important Points

 
Use of this calculator does not constitute a recommendation to use pension fund withdrawal. If you are considering going down this route, we recommend that you seek Independent Financial Advice in the first instance, as there may be more suitable options in your particular circumstances.
 
The figures projected by this calculator are only for guidance purposes - whilst we aim to ensure the accuracy of our calculators, we can take no responsibility for the usage made of the calculations generated on this site.
 
 
 

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