Enjoying your retirement
You don’t have to actually retire to take your pension savings. You can start to take your pension savings any time after you reach age 55.
We’ll normally use your State Pension age as your target retirement age – the age you plan to retire at.
Pension scams are on the increase. Every day criminals use sophisticated ways to con pension savers out of their money.
There has been an increase in scams since the onset of COVID-19, as people who are worried about the state of investment markets have been transferring their pension savings to other investments.
If you’ve been working for a while, you may have lost track of your pensions with previous employers, or don’t remember whether you had a pension with any of them at all. It’s worth checking to see whether you have any forgotten pensions.
Find out more
First of all, please contact our member support team and confirm you want to take your pension savings. To keep your pension savings safe, we’ll need to check your identity – so please be ready to give us your full name and address and your National Insurance number.
As long as you’re over the minimum age for taking retirement benefits (currently 55), we’ll send you a retirement pack. This will set out the value of your pension savings and the options you have, and will include forms you can use to make your choices. You’ll need to fill in the forms and send them back to us. See our Contact us page to contact our member support team.
This is a big decision. We’d suggest you take independent financial advice to help you choose your retirement options. See Where can I get help with understanding my retirement options?
To help people think about how much they might need to retire on, the Pension and Lifetime Savings Association has come up with simple estimates of how much retirement income you need for different standards of living.
There’s a simple summary below based upon living outside of London and lots more detail at retirementlivingstandards.org.uk.
|Living standard||Single person||Couple||For example…|
|Minimum||£11,000 a year||£17,000 a year||No car, weekly food shop of £41, holidays in the UK|
|Moderate||£21,000 a year||£31,000 a year||3-year-old car replaced every 10 years, weekly food shop of £47, a holiday in Europe|
|Comfortable||£34,000 a year||£50,000 a year||2-year-old car replaced every 5 years, weekly food shop of £59, longer holidays in Europe|
We use a method called a Statutory Money Purchase Illustration (SMPI) to work out future pension estimates for you. All pension providers must use this method.
Your SMPI assumes you’ll use your pension savings in the Scheme to buy a pension – also known as an annuity – when you retire. It shows an estimate of the amount of pension you might get, in today’s money. (You don’t have to buy a pension – other options are available – but this keeps it simple and makes it possible to compare your estimates from year to year.)
How we work out the estimates on your benefit statement
We start with the estimated value of your pension savings on 31 March each year. But lots of things can affect the value of your pension between that time and when you decide to use your money – so we had to make some assumptions to work out your future pension estimate.
Assumptions about costs, contributions and inflation
Your SMPI assumes:
- the values and investment unit prices in your benefit statement for 31 March are correct
- any contributions we received after 31 March aren’t included
costs and charges are the same as they are at the date of your benefit statement
- you and your employer continue to pay contributions to the Scheme at the same rates you were paying at the date of the benefit statement
- your pensionable earnings (the earnings that count towards your pension contributions) increase at 2.5% a year to the date you retire (we assume this is your State Pension age unless you’ve told us something different), and
- inflation will be 2.5% a year to the date you retire.
Assumptions about investment
Your SMPI assumes:
- we invest your pension savings in the Diversified Growth Fund until 10 years before you’re due to retire.
- from this date we gradually switch them to the Retirement Countdown Fund, and
- the investment funds will grow at the following rates:
- Diversified Growth Fund: 5% a year
- Retirement Countdown Fund (Series I and II): 2% a year.
Find out more about how your pension savings are invested.
Assumptions about how you use your pension savings
Your SMPI assumes:
- you will use your pension savings in the Scheme to buy a pension (annuity)
- your pension won’t increase, and
- your pension won’t include a spouse’s or civil partner’s pension.
The future pension figures on your benefit statement are estimates in today’s money. What actually happens will be different from what we’ve assumed, so these figures don’t come with a guarantee. For example, you may not use your pension savings to buy a pension. If you do buy a pension, its value depends on things like investment performance and the cost of turning your pension savings into an income, which may be different from the assumptions we’ve made here.
We can’t promise that your benefit statement shows the actual amount of money you, or anyone else who benefits from your pension, will get. You could get more or less than this amount. These figures are a guide to help you plan for the future. See more in our costs and charges explained booklet.