After working in Met Pensions Branch for 5 years, and 18 years and counting as the Met Federation Pension Advisor, Glenda Whitley can safely be described as someone who knows about police pensions.
She’s seen various schemes come and go as the landscape to the Met Police has changed with the times. When the administration of police pay and pensions was outsourced to private companies in 1998, Glenda joined the Met Federation where her experience was put to good use, giving members information about their pensions.
Officers calling the Federation’s Bromley office with a pension question or query are put through to Glenda who is always there to help.
It’s fair to say that police pensions is a complicated area to understand. With three different schemes still running, all with their own rules and regulations, it can be very difficult getting a handle on it all. Many police officers have made pension contributions under two of the schemes (a few may even be in all three), so working out the answers to all the things they want to know is no easy task.
Glenda deals with all manner of pension queries but the questions that come up most are usually officers wanting to know the best time to retire, and issues about their lump sum.
So when is the best time to retire? Glenda always says it’s different for each person and depends on their individual circumstances.
Length of service and age both have an impact on the pension and the lump sum.
Some officers nearing the end of their service may well have had enough and want out ASAP. Many others still enjoy the job and get huge satisfaction out of their work. Others may have young children to consider, or older ones planning to go to university. And in the future, retiring before 55 will mean not getting access to the 2015 pension scheme until state pension age – so serving a few more years may be the right option.
As well as choosing the right time to retire at say 30 or 35 years’ service, there are also considerations about the picking the right day. For example outstanding rest days, leave and other factors may make it advantageous to delay your last day of service. These are the sorts of choices that Glenda can help you with.
It’s the same with the lump sum. How much – if any – should you take? Again Glenda says that everyone’s circumstances differ. Mortgage or no mortgage? Children? Income level after retirement? She can do the basic calculations that will allow you to find out what your pension and any lump sum might be.
So with all these different situations that’s when you may need Glenda’s help and assistance. She is able to put various options to people and empower them with the knowledge to make the best decision that’s right for them.
The good news is – she is there to help you!
The best way to contact Glenda is by email – [email protected]. This way she can take the time to give your query the proper consideration it deserves.
(She is very busy so if you haven’t heard back after a couple of weeks she asks you to resend marked ‘Reminder’. If your query really can’t wait please mark it as ‘Urgent’.)
Glenda also talks about pensions at Metfriendly’s popular (and free) Retirement Options Seminars when she and other members of the panel are able to deal with any questions about the retirement process. You can find out more about them and register for an upcoming seminar here.
She also recommends that you visit the Government’s State Pension Statement online tool which can show you what you might get as a state pension – especially important with the recent changes to National Insurance contributions (changing from 30 to 35 years contributions to receive a full state pension) and the merging of the state pensions.