Expert Pensions

Protecting Your Pensions During A Crisis- If You’re Retired And Withdrawing Funds From Your Approved Retirement Fund (‘ARF’)

The COVID-19 crisis has taken everyone by surprise resulting in stock markets being significantly impacted. This is extremely worrying and stressful for all pension investors, both pre-retirement and post-retirement. It is highly recommended that you speak to a pension advisor and review your fund. Only then an appropriate investment strategy can be determined. Market downturns can also be a positive opportunity to enhance your pension investment value.

Approximately 62% of workers in Ireland are members of a Defined Contribution (‘DC’) pension scheme. This is where your contributions are paid into a fund that invests in the stock market. Funds typically achieve investment growth over the long term; however, in the short to medium term, the investment value can rise and fall due to global economic events such as COVID-19. The stock market has performed extremely well over the past 10-12 years whereby investments have achieved higher than average returns.

Here’s our advice for anyone who has already retired and is withdrawing funds from their Approved Retirement Fund (‘ARF’)

  • The impact of COVID-19 can be a very upsetting and stressful experience seeing your pension value reduce more than you ever expected.
  • The number one priority and focus is to limit the losses.
  • It is recommended that you speak to a pension expert to review your pension benefits and pension options.

Considerations

  • Withdrawing income from an ARF in times of a market downturn makes it extremely challenging for your fund to recover in the future. Monitoring your outgoings and reducing your withdrawals until market recovery is recommended, if possible.
  • Living off your tax-free lump sum, other savings, investments or other income sources such as rental income will allow you to supplement your income, avoiding you to withdraw too much.
  • When the markets recover, it is worth considering taking a higher withdrawal than normal and create an emergency fund if the market was to fall again.
  • Having a well-diversified portfolio within an ARF is vital – Cash fund to provide access to approx. 2-3 x annual income and a mix of low to medium risk multi-asset funds.

Making premature decisions without knowing all your options can result in further negative impacts to your pension fund value. Expert Pensions will understand your overall circumstances, review your pension fund(s) and outline all appropriate options for your consideration

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