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A pension is a long term investment, the fund value may fluctuate and can go down. Your eventual income may depend upon the size of the fund at retirement, future interest rates and tax legislation.

Information is based on our current understanding of taxation legislation and regulations. Any levels and bases of, and reliefs from taxation, are subject to change.

The value of pensions and the income they produce can fall as well as rise. You may get back less than you invested.

Personal Pension Plans

A personal pension plan helps you save money for retirement and is available to any United Kingdom resident who is between the ages of 16 and 75 (Children under 16 cannot start a plan in their own right but a Legal Guardian can start one on their behalf). You, in conjunction with your adviser, choose the pension provider and make the arrangements for paying the contributions to the plan.

You can start a personal pension even if you have a workplace pension or if you’re self-employed and don’t have a workplace pension. You don’t have to be working to take out a Personal Pension Plan and you can also provide a Personal Pension Plan for your spouse/partner or your child/children.

When you contribute to a Personal Pension plan, your money is invested by the pension provider (usually an insurance company) to build up a fund/pension pot over a number of years.

Tax relief

If you’re a basic rate taxpayer, your pension provider will claim back Income Tax at the basic 20 per cent rate on your behalf on the contributions you make and add it to your pension pot. Higher rate taxpayers claim the additional rebate through their tax returns.

Contribution limits

The total amount (the ‘annual allowance’) you or your employer can contribute to a defined contribution personal pension scheme, or schemes, is limited to £40,000* per annum. If you contribute more than that you will pay a tax charge. The maximum you can contribute to your personal pension or pensions in your lifetime — the ‘lifetime allowance’ — is £1 million*.

Tax-free cash

Most schemes allow you to withdraw 25% of your fund tax-free from age 55 onwards. Subsequent withdrawals are subject to income tax.

The size of your pension pot will depend on:

  • the amount of money you paid into the plan
  • the performance of the plan’s investments
  • charges payable under the plan

Taking your pension

Although most personal pension schemes specify an age when you can start withdrawing benefits from your personal pension (usually between 60 and 65) you are allowed to do that from age 55 if you wish. You don’t have to stop work to draw benefits from your plan.

Death Benefits

If you die before the age of 75 and haven’t purchased an annuity, your beneficiaries can inherit the entire pension fund as a lump sum or draw an income from it completely free of tax. If you’re over 75 years of age when you die, there will be tax to pay on any withdrawals made by the recipient of your fund.

*Tax year 2017/2018