Guidance and advice

We would recommend that you seek guidance or advice when you’re making a decision about your retirement income, to help you make the right choices for you, and your long-term plans.

What’s the difference between guidance and advice?

The main difference is around how specific it is. Guidance is usually not tailored to your circumstances. It will help you assess your options and ask the right questions, but there’s no recommended outcome at the end. It’s also usually free, so can be a good option to help set you on the right path.

Advice will usually end in a recommended approach for you to take. Working with an adviser means sharing your financial information and your goals for the future and will result in expert advice on which outcome is best for you. This option usually has a fee for the adviser's time and expertise, although often your first meeting will be free or heavily discounted, to see if working with an adviser is right for you.

Where to get guidance

Pension Wise is a government service that offers free, impartial pensions guidance about your defined contribution pension options. An appointment will help you understand what your overall financial situation will be when you retire. It will focus on your options to help you make the right decision for you, and also allow you to find out about the other factors you need to consider when deciding on your options before retirement. During a Pension Wise appointment, an independent pension specialist will:

If you are not taking regulated financial advice, we strongly recommend that you book an appointment with Pension Wise to discuss the options available to you. The appointment will take between 45-60 minutes and can be over the telephone or somewhere local to you.

These appointments can be booked online directly with Pension Wise, or you can call them on 0800 138 3944 to book an appointment. Alternatively, you can contact Embark to book an appointment on your behalf.

How to choose an adviser

An adviser will charge for their services. But that expense can be worth it in order to ensure you’re making the best decisions for your future. Financial advisers are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, so they must follow strict rules when they give you advice – make sure you check that they’re registered before you start planning.

An adviser will ask you plenty of questions about your finances and what you’ve got planned. Once you’ve found a potential adviser, make sure you ask them questions too. Here are some things you could ask:

How to find an adviser

You can find a list of financial advisers here: Unbiased If you find someone you like, make sure you look them up separately – see if you can find testimonials or reviews of the individual/firm (the same way you would with any other service you’re thinking of purchasing).