Summary of your pension pot options

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                        Once you reach the age of 55 you can access your pension pot in several different ways giving you a huge amount of freedom and choice.

* You can use some or all of your pension pot to provide a guaranteed retirement income. This is a regular income that is secure and is paid to you for life.

* You can use some or all of your pension pot to provide a flexible retirement income. This means that the income can be stopped, started, increased, reduced and changed as you wish. However, although this option gives you flexibility, it also carries risk as the income is not guaranteed. 

* You can take a cash lump sum, or series of cash lump sums, directly from your pension pot as and when you need them.

* You can take the whole amount of your pension pot in one go, as a single lump sum.

* Or you can leave your pension pot untouched. 

You don’t have to choose just one option. You can mix them, either now or phased over a period of time. For example, you might want to take a cash lump sum now, and then start to take a guaranteed income next year.

All of these options apply when you have what’s known as a defined contribution pension. So what is a defined contribution pension? Simply put it’s when your pension is a pot of money, your money, held, or invested, in different pension funds until you retire. The pot of money has built up because you, and maybe your employer, have paid money or contributions into the pot over time. Defined contribution pensions are sometimes referred to as money purchase pensions.

Over the years there have been many different types and names given to defined contribution pensions and some of the most common are:
* personal pension
* stakeholder pension
* and additional voluntary contributions
There’s a comprehensive list at the end of this video.   

However, the options don’t apply to pensions from a final salary or defined benefit pension schemes.

Most people will be considering their options as they approach retirement. You are likely to have selected a retirement date with your pension company when you first took out your pension plan.

But remember, you can now access your pension pot at any time once you’ve reached the age of 55.

So to recap: 
* you can use your pension pot to provide a guaranteed income.
* you can use your pension pot to provide a flexible income.
* you can take a cash lump sum directly from your pension pot.
* you can take the whole pension pot in one go as a single lump sum.
* or you can do nothing and leave your pension pot untouched

Now you know the main options please explore the rest of the website and watch the videos you’re most interested in. They will help you decide what’s best for you and your circumstances. 

All the programmes in the website are designed to provide you with trusted, independent and impartial information. We hope you find it useful and enjoy using the site. 

Remember that better information leads to better decisions, and therefore a better retirement.

The main types of DEFINED CONTRIBUTION pensions are:
* Additional Voluntary Contribution (AVC)
* Executive Pension Plan (EPP)
* Free Standing Additional Voluntary Contribution (FSAVC)
* Group Personal Pension Plan  
* Group Stakeholder Pension Plan
* Master trust pension
* National Employment Savings Trust pension (NEST)
* Personal Pension Plan  
* Section 32 Buy-Out Plan
* Self-Invested Personal Pension (SIPP)
* Small Self-Administered Scheme (SSAS)
* Stakeholder Pension Plan

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