The open market option is the right of the consumer to shop around before choosing an annuity. An annuity cannot be changed or cancelled once it has been bought – so it is immensely important to choose correctly the first time around! After all, an annuity can have an impact on your financial security for the rest of your life, and is therefore one of the most significant financial investments in life.
Research shows that a huge proportion of people are not aware of the open market option and that many people still continue to commit to the first offer made to them by their existing pension provider. This is not to say that the offer made by your pension provider will not be competitive. But according to some research, shopping around could help you get up to 20% more income than your existing provider, depending on which annuity and provider you choose, and an impaired or enhanced annuity could mean getting up to 46% more! Using the Open Market Option and shopping around for the best annuity scheme can therefore help you to save thousands of pounds over the year and a vastly significant amount of money over time.
There are many different types of annuities and choosing the most suitable annuity can seem a bit daunting. This is probably why some people simply choose to stick with their existing pension provider for an annuity. But thanks to all the information, resources and tools available today, understanding the annuity market and making an informed choice is not difficult at all.
There are many comparison and advice websites out there which can offer objective information about different types of annuities. You can learn about fixed annuity options, variable annuity options, as well as different bells and whistles that you can choose to add to an annuity. You can also use online tools like the pension calculator, to work out the maximum income you can get for your pension savings lump sum. These free tools and resources can really help you make the best of the open market option. Most insurance companies and annuity providers also offer lots of information on their websites, as well as offering free instant quotes based on your individual case.
Shopping around and using the open market option has never been easier or more convenient than it is today, thanks to the wealth of resources and information available. If you need more help and guidance when choosing, you can also consult an independent financial advisor. In fact, for certain types of annuities, such as investment linked or escalating annuities, it is essential to take independent advice from an expert. An IFA can help you understand your own needs, different products and how they work, and ultimately make a considered decision.