A LOCAL pensions expert is advising everyone approaching retirement age to book in for a free and impartial check up.

Pensions Wise was introduced by the UK government more than two years ago.

And guidance specialists were based in Citizens Advice Bureaux across the country to provide answers.

Former financial advisor Iain Heard has been pointing soon-to-be-pensioners from the Scottish Borders in the right direction since the start of the scheme.

Around 500 locals have already taken advantage of the Pension Wise service since it started in April, 2015.

And Iain hopes many more will follow their lead by gaining vital information about their financial retirement options.

He told us: "Pensions are not the most exciting of subjects and it can often be really complicated.

"We simplify things for people and provide the answers to any questions they may have.

"Many people don't realise the number of options that are available to them and the consequences of making certain choices.

"We will navigate them through taxation and benefits as well as alert them to the many misconceptions that are out there."

Since the introduction of auto-enrolment in company pensions there has been an increase in people seeking guidance from Pension Wise.

And the service is also well used by people who have recently lost their jobs.

But Iain wants everyone nearing pension age - from their early 50s onwards - to equip themselves with information.

He added: "We are geared up to help anyone from their early 50s as you can access pensions from 55.

"We're here to offer guidance and it's all free."

To book a Pension Wise appointment contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau.