Planning your retirement takes less time than you think
If you’re not already saving for retirement, it’s a good time to start. You should also begin to think about how much money you might need.
Why not take an hour to watch videos from experts, get to grips with the pension basics, use the calculator to find out what your retirement income might be, find out how combining your pensions might save you money and start planning for a comfortable future?
See if you're making the most of your company pension and how to trace a lost one.
Learn how much you might need to consider saving for retirement and what people think they'll need on average.
Use the pension calculator and see what you might get when you retire.
Hear what a financial expert says and how the pension freedoms could work for you.
Know your options and discover how you can access your pension pot when you retire.
Find out how you can combine your pensions and how it could save you money.
Gain insight from a behavioural expert and see how you can enjoy planning your future.
Here’s a head start if you’re planning for a more comfortable retirement
How can I find out how much my pension is worth?
I’m in a company pension scheme. Am I set for retirement?
How much should I be saving for retirement?
How do I trace a lost pension?
Watch more Pension Basics in 30 Seconds films
People have already made a start
Here are the top ten cities in the UK for visiting our Change your life in an hour website.
12.6% is the proportion of income that people save on average
£22,672 is the average annual amount that 40-49 year olds think they’ll need to feel comfortable in retirement
Only 22% of 40-49 year olds understand the term ‘pension freedoms’.
31% of 40-49 year olds check their pension balance less than once a year
23% of people have no idea if their savings will meet their income needs in retirement
Source: Scottish Widows 2016 Retirement Report.
So far, we've told you people think they'll need £23,990 each year when they retire. And if you've used the pension calculator, you'll also have a sense of whether you're on track to meet your retirement goals.
TV personality and independent money expert Sarah Pennells explains what you should think about when planning for retirement – and what to do if you don’t think you’ve saved enough.
Things to consider as you approach retirement
What should you do if you don’t think you’ve saved enough?
For more information on the pension basics, read our jargon buster. For more in-depth videos and information, read our FAQs.
You now have more freedom about what to do with your pension savings. Here's a short guide to how you can access your money when you're 55.
You can combine these options:
Want the reassurance of knowing how much money you'll receive each year? You might like to consider an annuity.
You'll get a guaranteed income for life, which is usually paid monthly.
The amount you'll get depends on factors like:
You can take up to 25% of your pension pot as a tax-free cash lump sum. You can then use the rest to buy an annuity – the income from the annuity will be subject to income tax.
How could an annuity work for you? See Helen's story.
Want to leave some money invested where it would have the potential to grow in value? If your pension provider offers flexible access drawdown, you might like to consider it.
You can access your pension savings when you want, taking the money you want. You can also pass on any money left when you die, and should you die before 75, it will not be subject to tax. However, you'll need to budget properly, or you might run out of money.
You can take up to 25% of your pension pot as a tax-free cash lump sum when you move into drawdown. You can then take lump sums or income from the remaining funds, but these will be subject to tax.
How could flexible access drawdown work for you? See Ted’s story.
Want to take some, or all, of your pension pot as cash? You might like to consider Partial Pension Encashment, or Full Pension Encashment (you may only have the Full Pension Encashment option on your pension plan).
Every time you withdraw money 25% is available tax-free with the remaining 75% subject to tax (which could push you into a higher tax bracket)
If you take your money as cash, you'll be in control of it. Remember it is there to help you through your retirement so you’ll need to manage it appropriately.
How could taking your pension as cash work for you? See Jill's story.
Want more time to plan and give your money the potential to grow? You might like to consider leaving your pension invested.
You should check you don't lose any guarantees or benefits by deferring your pension past your chosen retirement age.
How could deferring your pension work for you? See Nigel's story.
If you have two or more pensions it could be time to combine.
It’s never been easier to combine and take control of your pensions and we can guide you through each step.
Speak to our specialists for a free consultation on whether combining is right for you.
0345 608 0383 - You can call us Monday to Thursday (9am–8pm), Friday (9am–6pm) or Saturday (9am–1pm).
Or let us call you
For more information visit our Pension Transfers site.
Pensions transfers require careful consideration. They aren't right for everyone and there are a number of things you need to understand before deciding if it is the right thing to do. Our online service and dedicated telephone support team provide helpful information to help you understand what type of pension plans and guarantees or benefits you may have, to help you make an informed decision on whether transferring is in your best interests. If you do decide to move any of your pensions they will be transferred on a non-advised basis. We do not offer financial advice as part of this process and you will be responsible for making sure that this is the right thing for you to do.
If you would like financial advice we can discuss the options available to you either through a Scottish Widows Adviser or we can help you find an independent financial adviser.
Peter Ayton, Professor of Psychology at London City University, explains how it can be hard to plan for your future – but why it can be uplifting once you've done so.
The power of making decisions
How can you enjoy planning for your future?
Do you know what your future self will want?
So far, you've learned from the experts about making a plan and why it can be challenging to do so. You should also be aware of the ways you can access your pension pot and looked at how combining your pensions could work for you.
If you want to review your current plan, or put a new plan in place, your next step is to speak to your employer or contact an independent financial adviser.
A financial adviser will make sure you have the right plan but be aware that there may be a fee.
There are two types: Independent Financial Advisers and Restricted Advisers.
Both are regulated, have passed the same qualifications and can help you decide what pension is right for you. However, there are differences.
Independent Financial Advisers (IFAs) – give unbiased advice about the whole range of financial products from all the available companies.
Restricted Advisers – give advice on a limited range of products. They may specialise in one area, like pensions, or advise on products offered by a limited number of companies.
When you first speak to an adviser they must tell you in writing if they offer independent or restricted advice. If you are not sure, ask.
You can find a full list of authorised advisers on the Financial Conduct Authority website.
To make sure you can complain if things go wrong, you should also ensure they’re regulated by checking the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) register.
You may also find these websites useful:
During your meeting, we recommend you:
Before your first meeting:
During your meeting:
At the end of your meeting:
We hope you agree that planning your retirement takes less time than you think – and that you’ve learned a lot in just an hour.
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Pensions are a long-term investment. The retirement benefits you receive from your pension plan will depend on a number of factors including the value of your plan when you decide to take your benefits which isn't guaranteed, and can go down as well as up. The value of your plan could fall below the amount(s) paid in. The tax treatment of your pension depends on your individual circumstances. Your circumstances and tax rules may change.