Pensions

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Pensions can be a complicated area, but they’re one of the best ways to fund your retirement.

Whether you’re a member of a workplace pension, private pension or a specialist scheme such as the Teachers’ Pension, the sooner you start saving for your later years, the better.  

On this page, we’ll guide you through the different types of pensions available and explain some of the key rules and regulations, such as the minimum and maximum pension contributions and tax on pension lump sums. We also cover everything you need to know about the state pension and pension credit.

The rundown
  • Pension basics: Understand the basics of retirement planning, including when you’ll reach retirement age
  • How pensions work: Get to grips with how pensions work and the different schemes available
  • Pension rules: Learn about the rules and restrictions governing pensions, including contribution limits

Planning for your retirement

Planning for your retirement can help to minimise the financial strain in later years and increase the chances of you being able to enjoy a comfortable standard of living.

It’s never too early to save into a pension or a savings account – in fact, the sooner you start, the longer your investment will have to grow.

The following guides will help you understand the basics of retirement planning, what constitutes early retirement and whether it’s better to start a pension or open a savings account.

What is my retirement age?
What is my retirement age?

Knowing your retirement age is important, because you can use it as a target for when you can stop working. Find out the current retirement age in the UK, how to claim your state pension and ways you can save for your retirement.

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Early retirement explained
Early retirement explained

Early retirement is something many people consider, or at least, it’s something that many people would like to consider. If you want to retire early, it’s worth reviewing your finances sooner rather than later. Find out what to consider, how to retire early and your other retirement options.

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All about FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early)
All about FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early)

Looking to retire early? It might be possible with the F.I.R.E or Financial Independent, Retire Early method.

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Start a pension or open a savings account?
Start a pension or open a savings account?

If you’re saving for retirement, you may find yourself considering opening a pension or a savings account. Discover the benefits of both, so you can decide which option best suits you.

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Pension schemes explained

There are several types of pension schemes available. The most appropriate scheme for you will depend on your individual circumstances.

If you’re employed, you’re likely to belong to a workplace pension scheme (unless you’ve chosen to opt out). Some people also choose to open a private or personal pension scheme. Learn more about the different types of pension schemes, as well as the UK state pension.

Workplace pensions explained
Workplace pensions explained

Workplace pension schemes can help you save more for your retirement. Find out everything you need to know about workplace pensions, including how they work, the different types of schemes and their benefits.

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Teachers' pensions in the UK: a guide
Teachers' pensions in the UK: a guide

The Teacher’s Pensions Scheme is a good way for teachers to save for retirement, but it can be complicated to understand. Read our guide to find out everything you need to know.

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What is the UK state pension?
What is the UK state pension?

A state pension provides you with regular payments from the government once you reach state pension age. Find out everything you need to know about the UK state pension, how it works, how you can claim and ways in which you may be able to increase your state pension.

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Ill-health pensions
Ill-health pensions

Every year, thousands of people in the UK have to stop working due to ill-health. Find out more about ill-health pensions, what qualifies as ill-health and what you may need to consider if you’re planning to retire due to ill-health.

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Widows’ pensions explained
Widows’ pensions explained

If your spouse or civil partner passes away, you may be entitled to receive a welfare benefit from the government. Find out more about widows’ pensions (now called the Bereavement Support Payment) and the benefits you may be entitled to.

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Understanding pension rules and regulations

Pensions are notoriously confusing and many savers openly admit to being unsure about the rules and what they should do at retirement.

These helpful guides explore some of the key areas you need to know, including the maximum and minimum contributions, tax and pension lump sums and how pension annuities work.

What is the maximum pension?
What is the maximum pension?

The cap on pension contributions you can make and still receive tax relief is £40,000 per year. Find out more about the maximum pension, what happens if you exceed it and how much you should be putting away.

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What is the minimum pension contribution?
What is the minimum pension contribution?

Understanding minimum pension contribution, and knowing what you want yours to be, is important if you want to live comfortably in retirement. Find out more about minimum pension contributions, what GMP is, how much you’ll be able to claim from your state pension and if there’s a way to increase the amount you could get.

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What is a pension annuity?
What is a pension annuity?

An annuity is a type of retirement product you can purchase using your pension pot, and pays you a guaranteed fixed income that can either last your lifetime or for a set period. Find out more about pension annuity, how it works and the different types of annuities.

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Opting out of a pension
Opting out of a pension

The UK government considers saving for retirement so crucial to financial wellbeing that you’re now auto-enrolled into a workplace pension scheme. However, you can choose to opt-out. Learn everything you need to know if you’re considering opting out of a pension.

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Pension lump sum and tax
Pension lump sum and tax

Taking out a pension is a good way to ensure a comfortable income when you retire, and some pensions allow you to take out a lump sum. Find out everything you need to know about pension lump sums, tax implications and what you might want to consider.

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The state pension and pension credit

The UK state pension provides regular payments from the government once you reach the state pension age. However, for many people, the state pension alone won’t provide enough money for them to enjoy the standard of living they’d like.

Find out more about how state pension works and the requirements you’ll need to meet. We also explain what pension credit is and who can claim it.

State pension entitlement explained
State pension entitlement explained

Your state pension is a regular payment you can claim from the government once you reach state pension age. Find out more about the state pension, what being eligible means, the requirements you’ll need to meet and the different types of state pension.

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Women's pensions
Women's pensions

The state pension age for women is steadily increasing and will continue to rise in the future. Read our guide to find out the effects of these increases, particularly for those born in the 1950s.

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Pension credit eligibility explained
Pension credit eligibility explained

Pension credit is a tax-free financial benefit for low-income pensioners. Find out more about pension credit entitlement, who can claim pension credit and how to claim.

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Pension credit: a guide
Pension credit: a guide

Pension credit provides additional retirement income for pensioners on a low income. Read our guide to discover what pension credit is, how it works, if you’re eligible and how you can claim.

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