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Navigating Pensions for Psychologists and Mental Health Professionals

This article has been adapted from episode 109 of The Aspiring psychologist Podcast. If you prefer you can listen here or watch here. 

Understanding pensions for psychologists with a phot of Ian Dempsey
Thumbnail for Episode 109

Introduction: In a recent episode of the Aspiring Psychologist Podcast, host Dr. Marianne Trent delves into the complex world of pensions with guest Ian Dempsey, a qualified independent financial advisor. The podcast aims to unravel the mysteries of pensions, offering valuable advice and insights for mental health professionals, both qualified and unqualified. The conversation covers various aspects of pensions, providing practical tips and strategies for financial freedom. Grab your top tips for pensions for psychologists and mental health professionals here!

Key Points Covered:

The Importance of Pensions: Dr. Trent emphasises the significance of addressing pension concerns early in one's career. The episode explores the challenges individuals face in managing their finances, particularly during tough economic conditions.

Auto Enrolment and Workplace Pensions: The discussion touches upon auto-enrolment, which mandates employers to offer pensions, and the minimum contributions required. Dempsey highlights the benefits of workplace pensions and the potential consequences of opting out.

Compound Interest and Investment Growth: The concept of compound interest is explained as "growth on your growth." Dempsey illustrates the power of compound growth over time and encourages listeners to consider the long-term benefits of starting a pension early.

McDonald's, Processes, and Financial Lessons: A brief diversion into Ian Dempsey's experience working at McDonald's reveals the importance of simple, logical, repeatable processes in business. The conversation touches on the lessons that can be learned from successful companies.

Private vs. NHS Pensions: The episode addresses the uncertainty mental health professionals may face in their careers, considering options such as NHS employment, private practice, or a mix of both. Dempsey advises individuals to weigh the pros and cons of NHS and private pensions, emphasizing the need for a personalised approach.

Starting Pensions for Children: Listeners are encouraged to consider starting pensions for their children early, with Dempsey providing practical insights into the potential benefits and contributions.

Advice for Those Leaving the NHS: For those transitioning from NHS employment, Dempsey recommends understanding the value of the NHS pension and incorporating it into the overall financial planning strategy. The conversation stresses the importance of consulting with a financial advisor to ensure a holistic approach.

The Million Dollar Question: Dempsey emphasises the importance of finding the right balance between current enjoyment and future financial security. The dynamic nature of life requires individuals to continuously reassess their financial plans.

Die Broke Philosophy: Dr. Marianne Trent introduces the concept of planning so thoroughly that one may end up with little to pass on. The discussion prompts reflection on the purpose of accumulating wealth and the value of enjoying life in the present.

Personal Experience: Sharing personal experiences, Ian Dempsey highlights the significance of enjoying life in the present, especially considering uncertainties. The emotional toll of focusing solely on future planning can impact mental health and overall well-being.

Legacy and Passing on Wealth: The conversation delves into the idea that private pensions can be passed on as assets, offering individuals the opportunity to leave a financial legacy for their children. The details of NHS pension benefits are also touched upon.

Financial Advisor vs. Self-Investment: The discussion shifts to the dilemma of choosing between a financial advisor and self-investment. Dempsey acknowledges that both approaches have merits, but the decision should be based on an individual's knowledge, time, and capability.

Costs of Financial Advice: Dempsey challenges the perception that financial advice is expensive, suggesting that not having professional guidance can be more costly in the long run. Studies indicate that the average difference in retirement income with and without financial advice is substantial.

DIY Investing Risks: While acknowledging the ability to invest independently, Dempsey warns against the risks associated with do-it-yourself investing, such as overtrading and emotional decision-making during market fluctuations.

Independent vs. Restricted Advisors: The conversation concludes by addressing the choice between independent and restricted financial advisors. Dempsey emphasizes the importance of finding an advisor based on trust and comfort, suggesting that the independent vs. restricted debate is secondary.


Pension Planning and Tax Efficiency: The discussion begins with Dr. Trent inquiring about the taxation of pension savings. Dempsey explains that while pension contributions are deducted from one's wages pre-tax, the income received during retirement may be subject to taxation if it surpasses the taxable threshold. However, he highlights the tax relief benefits during the accumulation phase, emphasising the additional 20% for basic rate taxpayers and the potential 40% for higher rate taxpayers. For business owners, Dempsey notes that corporations can contribute to their pensions, offering tax advantages.

Flexibility and Control: Dempsey emphasises the importance of understanding how to control income during retirement. He suggests considering various assets, such as property and investments, to provide flexibility in managing income. By strategically combining sources of income, individuals can potentially minimise tax obligations and secure financial stability in retirement.

Lump Sum Withdrawals: The conversation delves into the concept of lump sum withdrawals from pensions, where Dempsey explains the 25% tax-free allowance. This lump sum can be a substantial financial resource, serving diverse purposes such as paying off mortgages or funding life goals.

Spread Your Risk Philosophy: Dr. Trent brings up the idea of spreading risk across different financial instruments. She shares her strategy of saving tax payments in premium bonds, emphasizing the safety of these government-backed investments. Dempsey supports this approach, highlighting the compound growth potential and tax benefits associated with premium bonds.

Financial Education for Children: The discussion extends to the importance of instilling financial literacy in children. Dempsey stresses the impact of parental behavior on children's financial habits and encourages open conversations about money. He advocates for integrating financial education into school curricula and commends initiatives working towards this goal.

Setting Financial Goals for 2024: As the conversation concludes, Dempsey offers practical advice for making 2024 a prosperous year. He suggests clarity on personal financial goals, completing a budget planner, and allowing room for occasional indulgences without compromising long-term plans. Celebrating small victories along the way is key to maintaining momentum.

Connect with Ian Dempsey: For those seeking more insights from Ian Dempsey, he can be found on LinkedIn, where he regularly shares information on budgeting, finances, and demystifying the complexities of financial planning.

This podcast episode serves as a valuable resource for individuals looking to enhance their understanding of personal finance, offering practical tips and strategic insights for navigating the complexities of financial planning.


To check out the brand new short courses for aspiring psychologists and mental health professinals by Dr Marianne Trent click here:
To grab your free DcLinPsy guide with all the tips that got me and others on to training click here:



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