My retirement options

We want to help you understand the retirement options that are available to you, so you’re able to get the best from your retirement income.

Your options with NOW: Pensions

Tea party

Stay where you are

There’s no rush. You can leave your pension savings with us where they are for now, and plan to take them at a later date.

Take cash

You can take all your pension savings as cash. A quarter will be tax-free and three-quarters of your cash will be taxable.

You have complete freedom to use the cash in any way you want. The only thing you can’t do is put it back into a pension.

Only a quarter of the cash you take is tax-free. You’ll be liable for tax on the other three-quarters.

Depending on your circumstances, this could put you into a higher tax bracket for the year – so you’d pay even more tax.

Also, if you carry on paying into your pension savings, the combined amount you and your employer can put in and still benefit from tax relief falls to £4,000 a year (from £40,000).

Pensions and tax

Options outside of NOW: Pensions

The following retirement options aren’t available in our Scheme. You’ll need to transfer out your pension savings with us out to another pension provider that offers these options.

Transferring your pension savings out

How to transfer your savings

Retirement – it’s no longer all or nothing

You could take some of your pension savings while you carry on working and saving into your pension – although doing this can affect the tax relief on your pension contributions.

Pensions and tax

When can you take your pension savings?

You don’t have to retire to start taking your pension savings. You can start taking them any time after your 55th birthday.

We assume your target retirement age – the age you’ll retire at – is your State Pension age.

Check your State Pension age.

But you can retire earlier or later than this, if you want to.


  • the earlier you take your pension savings the smaller they’re likely to be
  • they’ll have received fewer contributions and had less time to grow
  • and they might need to last longer than if you’d retired later.

Retiring at a different age? Tell us

It’s important we have an up-to-date target retirement age for you. Your pension savings move from ‘growth’ investments (designed to help your pension savings grow over the long term) to ‘protection’ investments (designed to protect the value of your pension savings before you turn them into retirement income) based on your target retirement age.

If you retire earlier or later than this, you could miss out on some retirement income.

Check your target retirement age.

Finding help and guidance

Like any other pension provider, we can’t tell you what to do with your pension savings. The following organisations can offer impartial help and guidance:

  • Pension Wise (part of the government’s Money and Pensions Service) is a free government service offering guidance about your options for retirement
  • The Pensions Advisory Service (also part of the Money and Pensions Service) can help with questions about workplace, State or personal pensions
  • Citizens Advice has information about all types of pensions.

Independent financial advice

The organisations we’ve listed so far don’t give independent financial advice – specific advice, tailored to you, recommending what you should do. You can only get this kind of advice from a regulated independent financial adviser. You usually have to pay for independent financial advice and it can seem expensive, but it could be money well spent if it gives you a better retirement.

Once you’ve found an adviser, you should also check they:

  • are qualified to Level 4 (or above) of the Qualifications and Credit Framework, and
  • have an up-to-date Statement of Professional Standing.