close menu

What is your pension really worth?

by Sable International | Dec 11, 2013
  • It’s no secret that retirees are struggling to keep up with the UK’s rising costs of living. In a Channel 4 Dispatches special, Michael Buerk asks what your pension is really worth. We take Buerk’s findings one step further by offering our own analysis by Gary Clayton, Independent Financial Planner at Sable International.
    tracker vs stock picker

    Michael Buerk’s Channel 4 special uses secret filming, aided by the advice of industry insiders, to investigate the practises of less-scrupulous retirement providers; companies that offer their clients poor returns and exorbitant fees as part of their pension plan. When coupled with stagnating salaries and an increase in life expectancy, it becomes clear that most retirees are fundamentally ill-prepared, and ill-advised, for retirement. 

    The program warns us that we can be in for a big shock when we retire if our income expectations do not match the reality of our retirement income. According to Clayton, the program highlights the fact that people do not know how much they need to save to have a basic standard of living during retirement.

    “Cost of living and increasing life expectancy are two big risks that people should be aware of. To provide minimum wage in retirement, you ideally need a pension pot of roughly £250, 000,” says Clayton.

    UK pensions expert and campaigner Ros Altman also features on the show. Sable clients may remember Altman from the popular DC Time Bomb seminars, which were held all over the UK. “The miss-selling of pensions,” says Altman, could be at least as big as the miss-selling of payment protection.”

    Clayton, too, believes that the miss-selling of these pensions is a risky exercise if the advantages and disadvantages are not fully explained to the client. Below, he lists the changes to your life that can negatively affect your retirement pension – changes that retirement providers often keep secret.

     If you pass away after buying a pension, your pensions savings can be lost, leaving your beneficiaries without benefit

    Clayton identifies a further four factors that influence the size of your pension pot:

    • The size of your contribution
    • The period of time that you contribute (taking into account compound tax-free returns on all your contributions)
    • Your returns on the underlying investments
    • The costs of implementing all of the above.

    Clayton agrees that Buerk's findings underline the importance of skilled financial advisers in guiding retirement decisions.

    “Almost every bit of research out there confirms that people who take financial advice are far more in control of their financial futures than those who don’t. That’s because they are guided to make the right savings and investment decisions, which pay dividends in the future.”

    However, he also emphasises that many clients are still at the accumulation phase of their wealth. In this regard, purchasing an annuity is an option for retirement, and not something that you are forced into purchasing. 

    Our wealth team is committed to bringing a new era of financial services to foreign nationals based in the UK. You can reach Sable Wealth on 020 7759 7514 (UK) or

    We are a professional services company that specialises in cross-border financial and immigration advice and solutions.

    Our teams in the UK, South Africa and Australia can ensure that when you decide to move overseas, invest offshore or expand your business internationally, you’ll do so with the backing of experienced local experts.

    • Magnifying glass over house
      14 things to check and questions to ask when viewing a house [checklist]
      Nov 22, 2019  |  by Sable International
    • Hand depositing coin depicting Pound symbol into house-shaped piggy bank
      Should you remortgage or consider a product transfer?
      Sep 23, 2019  |  by Neil Ambrose
    • Town- houses
      How Shari’ah (Islamic) mortgages work
      Sep 06, 2019  |  by Ian Henning
    • Home Model
      4 things first-time homebuyers should do
      Aug 20, 2019  |  by Neil Ambrose
    • Property with price tage
      It’s a great time to buy your first UK property – here’s why
      Jun 03, 2019  |  by Marlon Borez
    • Handing over house keys
      Contractor mortgages: What you need to know for a successful application
      May 31, 2019  |  by Ian Henning
    • House rent protection
      Rental guarantees: What lenders think about rent protection schemes
      Apr 24, 2019  |  by Bill Monty
    • blended-families
      How “yours, mine and ours” complicates the estate planning process: Advice for blended families
      Apr 17, 2019  |  by Sherron Alexander-Bedingfield
    • Mortgage Concept
      The perfect time to secure a better interest rate on your remortgage
      Apr 03, 2019  |  by Ian Henning
    • growing tree
      The boom behind ESG investing – what’s actually driving the demand
      Mar 26, 2019  |  by Mike Abbott

    South Africa

    Cape Town

    Regent Square
    Doncaster Road
    Kenilworth 7708 +27 (0) 21 657 2120


    25 Richefond Circle
    Umhlanga 4320 +27 (0) 31 536 8844

    United Kingdom


    One Croydon
    12-16 Addiscombe Road
    Croydon CR0 0XT +44 (0) 20 7759 7514



    9 Yarra Street
    South Yarra
    VIC 3141 +613 (0) 8651 4500

    Sable International is a trading name of 1st Contact Money Limited (company number 07070528), registered in England and Wales. We are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK (FCA no. 517570), the Financial Services Conduct Authority in South Africa (1st Contact Money [PTY] Ltd - FSP no. 41900) and hold an Australian Financial Services Licence issued by ASIC to deal in foreign exchange (1st Contact Group - AFS Licence number 335 126).

    We use cookies to provide the best website experience for you. Using this website means that you agree to this. How we use cookies.