Sober reading today…
There are some real horror stories of people who have unwittingly lost money when buying annuities, but in some cases some have even lost the WHOLE annuity and pension pot they thought they had entitlement to in the first place.
Don’t think it can happen to you?
With increasing numbers of people turning to choose “self-select” pension products and annuities for themselves online, it’s not so much a case of mis selling, it’s more like honourable misadventure instead.
However the consequences of not checking the fine print when you buy an annuity can be very severe indeed as in the case of widow Liz Beattie which was recently reported in the Mail on Sunday.
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This lady lost £260,000 of her husband’s remaining pension pot (the entire amount of the pension left… every last penny).
Aviva sold Keith Beattie the annuity and then he died within 20 months of taking it out. However, because he did not take out a joint-life policy, once he died, Aviva kept the rest of the pension (£260,000) for themselves.
She was left to grieve not only the death of her husband, but to try and make sense of how the man she loved, who had worked his entire life to provide for her, was now gone and she was left penniless.
Apparently in this case, Aviva say they suggested Mr Beattie take out a five year guarantee to guard against his early death and provide an income for Liz Beattie. They say their suggestion was not heeded… yet was it because the gravity of what was at stake had not been properly understood by Keith and his wife?
The STRONG possibility of the early demise of the husband because of serious health issues was known to Aviva, yet these skilled insurers somehow seemed incapable of being able to convey how dire the consequences would be to Liz should Keith die early, should he buy a single life annuity from them.
How so Aviva?
Clearly, Liz and her husband would have benefited advice from sitting down with a suitably qualified financial adviser who would have alerted them to the potential dangers of choosing a single life annuity… especially when it was clear Keith’s ill health was seriously reducing his life expectancy.
Therefore a joint life enhanced annuity would have proved more sensible for the couple. It would have given Liz secure income for the rest of her life, and protected her from much sorrow and heartache at a time when she was least able to cope.
The moral of the story?
Check the fine print and income payout rules of any annuity you choose to sign, and GET SUITABLY QUALIFIED ADVICE FIRST if you are unsure at any stage of whether a policy that is recommended by an Insurer is best suited to your circumstances.
If you need to brush up on the different types of annuities available and their benefits look at these two articles. They should bring you up to speed.
If you have any questions on whether buying an annuity will suit you, or what the alternatives are, then you are welcome to call me free from a landline on 0800 321 3508 or direct to my mobile on 07803 508 187.
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