Personal pensions

A personal pension is a type of defined contribution pension. You choose the provider and make arrangements for your contributions to be paid. If you haven’t got a workplace pension, getting a personal pension could be a good way of saving for retirement.

Our Pension calculator

Use our Pension calculatoropens in new window to estimate the amount of income you could get when you retire.

This is worked out from the level of regular contributions that you choose to pay into your pension pot.

Just enter the amount of the contributions and it will work out what you pension pot could be worth if it grows at certain rates each year.

The figures you see in the Pension calculator are estimates - they are not guaranteed.

The actual retirement income you receive will be affected by future changes in things like:

  • Inflation
  • Interest rates, and
  • Investment growth

Tax relief

Your pension provider will claim tax relief at the basic rate and add it to your pension pot.

If you’re a higher rate taxpayer you’ll need to claim the additional rebate through your tax return.

You also choose where you want your contributions to be invested from a range of funds offered by your provider.

How they work

Your pension pot builds up in line with the contributions you make, investment returns and tax relief.

It helps to think of defined­ contribution pensions as having two stages:

Stage 1 – While you are working

The fund is usually invested in stocks and shares, along with other investments, with the aim of growing the fund over the years before you retire.

You can usually choose from a range of funds to invest in. Remember that the value of investments might go up or down.

If you need help with deciding how to invest your contributions, follow the link below:

Stage 2 – When you retire

The size of your pension pot when you retire will depend on:

  • How long you save for
  • How much you pay into your pension pot
  • How well your investments have performed
  • How much, if anything, your employer pays in
  • What charges have been taken out of your pot by your pension provider.

Following changes introduced in April 2015 you now have more choice and flexibility than ever before over how and when you can take money from your pension pot.

Take your time to understand your options.

To find out more read our guide Options for using your pension pot.

Personal pensions at work

A personal pension might be offered through your employer.

These are called group personal pensions.

To find out more about this type of pension, follow the link below:

Learn more from our guide on Group personal pensions

Changing jobs

If you change jobs, check when your new employer will enrol you into a workplace pension scheme.

You can continue paying into an existing personal pension, but you might find you’ll be better off joining your employer’s workplace pension scheme, especially if your employer contributes.

Compare the benefits available through your employer’s scheme with your personal pension.

If you decide to stop paying into a personal pension, you can leave the pension pot to carry on growing, but check if there are extra charges for doing this.

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