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When you retire you'll need money to support you and enable you to have a decent standard of living.

Most people receive a State Pension but it's also a good idea to top this up if you can with your own pension, to make sure you'll have enough money to see you through your retirement. In this section, you can find out about the different ways you can save for your pension, how to get started and what to think about when you're getting near to retirement.

Whether you’re starting your first job, mid-way through your working life, approaching retirement or retired, the Pension Savings Timeline from the Money Advice Service will help you to understand the benefits of long-term pension saving. It also helps with how to actively manage your money to ensure you have enough to live on for life.

Planning for retirement

Financial journalist Paul Lewis explains how to make the most of planning for retirement.

Whether you're thinking about saving into a pension for the first time or making decisions for your retirement, the Money Advice Service provides useful information and tools to help you make the most of your money. It offers guidance on the following:

  1. Discover the benefits of saving for retirement
  2. Understand different types of pensions
  3. Learn about your choices for retirement
  4. Get help with later life matters
  5. Find out what support and advice is available

Saving for retirement

Find out more about the importance of retirement savings and why you should save into a pension.

  1. Pension information: guide to the basic facts 
  2. Why save into a pension?
  3. Pension calculator
  4. How to check for and deal with a gap in your pension savings
  5. Pension investment options overviews
  6. Check the progress of your pension and retirement savings
  7. Review and make the most of your pensions
  8. Trace lost pensions and request pension forecasts
  9. Ways to boost your pension in the run-up to retirement
  10. Dealing with pension problems and making a complaint

Preparing for retirement checklist

Around two years before you want to stop working is a good time to start thinking about your retirement options and the choices you’ll need to make. Consider getting financial advice because these are decisions that can shape your income for the rest of your life. The Money Advice Service has put together a handy 'Checklist of things to do as retirement approaches' to help you. The checklist covers the following:

  1. Work out your likely retirement income
  2. Don’t take risks with the pension savings you’ve built up
  3. Consider ways to boost your pension
  4. Budget for changes in your day-to-day spending after you retire
  5. Clear your debts before you retire
  6. Decide when to start taking your pension
  7. Get advice and finalise your choice

Types of Pensions

Not sure what type of pension(s) you hold? The government, through Pension Wise and the Money Advice Service, has information on a range of pensions from defined contribution and benefit schemes, to personal pensions, workplace pensions and those for the self-employed. 

  1. Pension Wise for general information on types of pension or use the Pension Type Tool to find out the type of pension you hold
  2. Money Advice Service

The following guides provide useful information on:

  1. Workplace pensions (Citizens Advice)
  2. State Pension (Citizens Advice)
  3. Pension and compensation schemes for the armed forces, veterans and their families (Citizens Advice)
  4. Pensions for the self-employed (Money Advice Service)
  5. Early retirement due to ill-health or disability (Money Advice Service)

State Pension and benefits

The State Pension changed on 6 April 2016. If you reach State Pension age on or after 6 April 2016 you will get the new State Pension under the new rules. The following links from the Money Advice Service will help you to understand how the changes affect you and what help is available for those on a reduced income.

  1. Rules and changes explained
  2. Benefits in retirement
  3. Pension Credit

Understand your Retirement Options

Financial journalist Paul Lewis explains how much you’ll need in retirement.

Whether you stop work in one go or ease into retirement gradually, the Money Advice Service can help you make the most of your retirement savings. Retirement Options can help you:

  1. Understand what each retirement income choice could mean for you
  2. Identify what sources of income you’ll have in retirement
  3. Consider your pension pot options
  4. Work out how much you might get from each option and any traps to avoid
  5. Decide what your next steps should be

Try out the Retirement Options Tool to learn more about your particular options, compare different income options and receive guidance on your next steps.

A short film with people describing their approach to retirement income.

Your Pension Pot

You now have more choice and flexibility than ever before over how and when you can take money from your pension pot. Take your time to understand your options, and get help and advice as what you decide now will affect your retirement income for the rest of your life.

The Money Advice Service outlines the pension pot options available and links to further information to help you make the most of available funds. Options covered include:

  1. Delay taking your pension
  2. Annuities
  3. Flexi-access drawdown
  4. Take small cash sums
  5. Take whole pot as cash
  6. Mix your options

Annuities Comparison Tool

One way to use all, or some of, your pension pot is to buy an annuity. A lifetime annuity provides you with a regular retirement income for life – with the guarantee that the money won’t run out before you die. Understand more about annuities and compare those available:

  1. Learn about basic lifetime annuities
  2. Compare different features and options
  3. Find out how to get the best deal

It is important to remember that once you buy an annuity you can’t change your mind – get help or advice before you commit. You can find out more in the next steps at the end of the Annuity Comparison Tool

(The Annuity Comparison Tool is set up by the government. The tables and results created are unbiased, and no commission or incentive is received. Users details will not be shared or used for contact.)

This short video which shows people describing their annuity experience.

An annuity is just one of several options you have for using your pension pot to provide a retirement income. The guide, Options for Using Your Pension Pot, can help you decide the best route for you.

Retirement Adviser Directory

Finding the advice that is right for you can be difficult. The Money Advice Service has a section which helps you to find a retirement adviser

You can also receive a guidance from Pension Wise. This government service offers free and impartial guidance to help you understand your new pension options. If you are aged 50 or over you can speak to Pension Wise to find out about the different way you can take your pension money. The pension specialists are impartial, they don’t recommend products or companies and won’t tell you how to invest your money. Appointments can take place over the phone or in person somewhere local to you.

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