Should you cash in your pension for buy to let?

If you are thinking of cashing in your pension to invest in buy to let to provide an income, then you may have missed the boat.

Property investment companies will have reams of average yields, rents and property prices to try to show that buy to let is the way to go.

However, retirement savers really need to do their maths before cashing in their pension pots under the early-access rules from April 5, 2015.

The big bucks are made by people who bought low before 2007 and are benefitting from high tenant demand and rising rents now.

In many cases, investing the cash in high yielding bonds or funds is a better way to go than property.

Buy to lets or shared house in multiple occupation (HMO) provide a decent income while they are let, but require time and money spent on management and maintenance, which many landlords would prefer to put aside as they grow older.

The income is not guaranteed with void periods and other costs take a hefty bite out of the rent as well, like mortgage interest, insurance, professional fees and in many popular property hot spots, landlord licensing.

The alternative is a corporate bond or property fund.

Unite, the student accommodation giant, issued a bond a year or so ago which pays a 6.125% fixed yield over five years, with tax-free income if the bond is wrapped in an ISA.

Many property funds also pay equivalent yields to buy to lets without the management hassles.

That's before having to consider how much tax you might have to pay on drawing down a significant amount from a pension fund after April.

After all, the first 25% of the lump sum may be tax-free, but tax is due at your marginal rate of tax on the rest ' and that will be at 20% or 40%.

Adding to the stack of problems is the illiquidity of bricks and mortar. In some areas, a home can take a year to sell, while funds and bonds can generally be cashed in overnight if you need the money.

... LandlordZONE.

Article courtesy of LandlordZONE
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