UK Property Investment Versus Pensions: Which is better for your retirement? | Get Financial Freedom Tips

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Wednesday, December 5, 2018

UK Property Investment Versus Pensions: Which is better for your retirement?

With an ageing population, it is now more important than ever before to determine which investment opportunities offer the most attractive returns for those looking to enjoy a steady income stream during their retirement.

Unfortunately, there is no straight answer to this burning question, and it simply depends on your own preferences and the risks you’re willing to take. This article evaluates the pros and cons of both property investments and pensions in a bid to help you understand the options available to you so that in turn, you can make informed investment decisions for your retirement.

Can property investment really beat pension investment when it comes to long-term growth?

The short answer is yes. But there are many factors to consider and questions to ask yourself before embarking on your journey as a property investor.

Property Investment

The value of UK property has dramatically risen in recent years, so much so that investors are now expanding and diversifying their portfolios which are worth hundreds of thousands, even millions, of pounds.

On the surface, property investment seems like a great way to make easy money. However the somewhat volatile UK property market has suffered in recent years when it comes to average house prices, with London property experiencing a 2.5 percent year-on-year price drop.

However if you’re serious about committing yourself to property investment, then it isn't all doom and gloom as some UK regions (such as the Midlands) have benefited from a staggering annual house price growth year after year.

What are the drawbacks of property investment?

Whilst there is an endless list of opportunities within the UK property investment sector, it does not come without its risks and problems.

More recently, landlords and investors have fallen victim to a number of savage and punishing tax reforms and changes to investor responsibilities, including stamp duty surcharges, changes to mortgage interest relief and new HMO licensing reforms – and this is a key factor to take into consideration when weighing up the pros and cons of buy-to-let property investment to fund your retirement.

Just like with any other investment, you should take time to research the problems and pitfalls you could encounter to make sure you’re fully prepared for all possible outcomes.

A breakdown of the pros and cons of property investment

The Pros:
  • As an investor you have the opportunity to enjoy a steady monthly income due to rental demand as well as capital growth upon the resale of a property.
  • You have more control over when and how you invest, as well as when you wish to cash in your investments.
  • House prices continue to grow year-upon-year.
  • It is easy to sell a property if you later choose to invest in an alternative sector.
The Cons:
  • Property investment can be time consuming when you factor in buying, selling and property maintenance.
  • There is always a risk that the market could crash and you could be left in negative equity.
  • Property counts as an asset and will therefore be subject to inheritance tax.
But what about pension investment?

These days, pensioners have much more flexibility when it comes to accessing their money and with a number of different pension investment opportunities available, it remains a popular choice for many. Whether you've invested in a workplace, private or final salary pension, there are a number of different ways in which you can claim from you pension pot – cashing in your investment in one lump sum, drawing down when you wish, buying an annuity – it’s your choice.

The great thing about pension investment is that it is almost impossible for you to lose any money you have already invested. A survey by comparison site Moneyfacts found that last year 95 percent of pension and drawdown funds saw positive growth, alongside an average growth in the pension fund following auto-enrolment. Furthermore, unlike some property investments, pension investments are fully protected – so you don’t have to lose sleep worrying about the fate of your hard-earned money.

A breakdown of the pros and cons of pension investments

The Pros:
  • There are a number of different pension schemes you can invest in.
  • You have more freedom than you used to when accessing your pension fund.
  • Pensions aren't regarded as an asset and are therefore not subject to inheritance tax.
  • You get 25 percent of your pension income tax-free.
The Cons:
  • You cannot access your pension pot until you are 55.
  • There is a chance that the government could alter the rules on accessing a pension.
  • If you have invested in a workplace pension and the company you work for go out of business, then you could face the financial consequences.
  • You don’t always have as much say in when and how your pension is invested as you would with property investment.
So, which is better? Property or pension?

When it comes to wise investment decisions, the old clichĂ© rings true – don’t put all your eggs in one basket. With both the UK property investments and pensions performing well, it comes down to the investment which most suits your needs, expectations and budget – and now we've taken a look at all the pros and cons you should be ready to make a decision.

Despite pensions arguably being a safer investment opportunity, property investment guarantees to deliver attractive and lucrative returns that pensions simply can’t offer now or in the future – so ask yourself, ‘do I value return on investment or financial safety more?’

Of course, you should always seek independent financial advice before committing to any financial investments to avoid hardships later on. And if neither property nor pension investment is the right option for you, then there are a range of alternative investment opportunities that will help to fund a comfortable retirement.

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