Help and support for Members
Whether you're just getting started with saving into your workplace pension with us, planning your retirement, or anything in-between we're here to help.
Only if you’re over 55. If you’re under 55 you can’t legally get hold of your pension savings. This is because pension savings are ‘ring-fenced’ to be used as retirement income.
The government is planning to increase the earliest age you can get at your pension savings to 57 by 2028. The idea is that it stays 10 years behind State Pension Age, which will be 67 by 2028.
Beware of scams
Don’t believe anyone who says you can access your pension savings before 55 without any penalties. It’s a scam. If you try, you’re also likely to face an additional tax bill as HM Revenue & Customs would treat it as an ‘unauthorised payment’.
Even if you are over 55, you should think very carefully before dipping into your pension savings to tide you over in the short term.
Your future income could be smaller
Taking money from your pension savings now will reduce the amount you’ll have to live on in future.
You could pay more income tax
Only one-quarter of the cash you take is tax-free and you’re liable for income tax on the other three-quarters.
Depending on your circumstances, this could put you into a higher tax bracket for the year – meaning you’d pay even more tax.
You could lose most of your tax-free allowance for future pension saving
Pensions are a tax-efficient way to save, but taking cash from your pension savings now could make your future savings less tax-efficient.
You can contribute up to 100% of your salary towards your pension savings and still get tax relief, as long as the combined contributions from you and your employer are below the annual allowance of £40,000 for most people.
Taking cash out of your pension savings can reduce this allowance to £4,000 a year – and this includes your employer’s pension contributions as well as yours. In other words, if you and your employer pay more than £4,000 a year into your pension savings in the future, you’ll pay tax on the amount over £4,000.
Yes, you can make additional savings. The more you save for your retirement, the more income you’ll have – so it makes sense to save as much as you can afford.
You make additional savings by paying additional voluntary contributions (AVCs). These are extra contributions you make on top of your standard contributions to build up more retirement savings. You’ll benefit from the same tax relief as your standard contributions.
You can contribute up to 100% of your salary towards your retirement savings and still get tax relief, as long as the total contribution from you and your employer is below the annual allowance. This allowance is currently £40,000 a year, but can be lower for high earners. (If you go over the annual allowance you’ll need to pay a tax charge. You may want to take independent financial advice if you think you’re in danger of going over the annual allowance.)
Yes, you can transfer into NOW: Pensions – although you will need to check the Scheme can accept the transfer, as not all pension savings can be transferred in. The Scheme Trustee will need to approve your transfer.
Transferring your other pensions into the Scheme could make managing your pension easier and save on charges.
To find out more, use our member contact form, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.. To help us help you faster, please quote your full name and address, plus your NOW: Pensions contract ID and National Insurance number in the email.
You can also call our member support team on 0330 100 3334 from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. When you contact us, please quote your full name and address, plus your NOW: Pensions contract ID and National Insurance number. We might record your call to help us improve our service to you.
Transferring your pension savings is a big decision that you need to think about carefully. It may be worth getting help from a regulated independent financial adviser.
Help with finding independent financial advice
The Money Advice Service (part of the government’s Money and Pensions Service) has information about choosing an independent financial adviser and a directory of independent financial advisers that specialise in retirement. Visit moneyadviceservice.org.uk or call 0800 138 7777. You’ll find the directory at directory.moneyadviceservice.org.uk.
The Personal Finance Society (PFS) has a What we do for the public section. This also includes a directory you can filter to find independent financial advisers that specialise in retirement planning. Visit thepfs.org/about-us/what-we-do/for-the-public.
You should check the qualifications of any independent financial adviser you’re thinking of using. They must be qualified to Level 4 (or above) of the Qualifications and Credit Framework and have an up-to-date Statement of Professional Standing. You should also check whether they’re on the official register of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) which regulates independent financial advisers in the UK. You’ll find this at register.fca.org.uk/s.
Other useful organisations
The following organisations also offer free, impartial information and guidance to help you understand pension savings. They don’t offer personalised financial advice.
- The Pensions Advisory Service can help with questions about workplace, State or personal pensions. Visit pensionsadvisoryservice.org.uk or call 0800 011 3797.
- Pension Wise has guidance on retirement options. Visit pensionwise.gov.uk. If you’re over 50 you can book a phone or face-to-face appointment by calling 0800 138 3944.
- Citizens Advice has information about all types of pension. Visit citizensadvice.org.uk or call 03444 111 444 for a face-to-face appointment.
- Your employer will put you into the Scheme as soon as you become eligible to be auto enrolled.
- If you qualify when you join your employer, you’ll be auto enrolled immediately. See Who qualifies to be auto enrolled into a workplace pension?
- Contributions to your pension savings in the Scheme will automatically come out of your pay from the first payroll date after you qualify.
- Your employer contributes from the same date.
- If you pay tax, you get tax relief on your pension contributions.
- Your pension savings are invested to help them grow.
- You can access the pensions savings you have grown with the Scheme at any time from age 55 onwards to provide retirement benefits.
You’ll be able to manage your Scheme membership and monitor your pension savings and online through your own Gateway account. You’ll get a new member account email with details of how to log in.
If you have been enrolled, you always have the option to opt out of the Scheme. You’ll receive an enrolment letter (usually via email) explaining how to do this. But, if you opt out, you won’t build up any pension savings with your employer’s help. See the Stopping contribution FAQs section for more about this.
If you leave your employer, they will tell us your leaving date. We’ll send a statement to your home address showing the value of your pension savings in the Scheme at your leaving date.
If you opt out of the Scheme without leaving your employer, the date you leave will be shown on the Gateway member website. But remember, you may be re-enrolled again in the future.
Either way, once you’ve left the Scheme you won’t pay any more contributions and neither will your employer. Your pension savings will stay invested. We’ll send you a benefit statement every year showing the value of your pension savings. You’ll continue to pay charges on your pension savings and you can find out more about these in our costs and charges booklet.
You can leave your pension savings invested until you retire and take your benefits. Or, you can transfer your pension savings in to NOW: Pensions from another pension provider or out from NOW: Pensions to another pension provider. We don’t charge you to transfer your benefits in or out.
You might want to transfer in or out so you can put all your pension savings together in one place. This could help you maximise your retirement income, as you could get better rates for your retirement benefits if you have one larger pot rather than several small ones.
Transferring out is a serious step and you should look into it carefully. See the Transfers FAQs section for more about transferring out.
Keep your details up to date
It’s always important to keep your details up to date. It’s even more important if you leave your employer, as we need to know where to contact you. You can tell us about changes to your personal details in the following ways:
Online: Use our member contact form for the fastest way to get help with your query.
Email: email@example.com. To help us help you faster, please quote your full name and address, plus your NOW: Pensions contract ID and National Insurance number in the email.
Call: our member support team on 0330 100 3334 from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. When you contact us, please quote your full name and address, plus your NOW: Pensions contract ID and National Insurance number. We might record your call to help us improve our service to you.
Write to: NOW: Pensions, Maclaren House, Talbot Road, Stretford, Manchester, M32 0FP