How do I claim the State Pension?
You won’t receive your State Pension automatically - you have to apply for it.
A letter should come to you four months before you reach State Pension age, telling you what to do.
If you don’t claim your state pension, it will be automatically deferred until you do, which can increase the amount you get.
I’ve just told them that!
What is an annuity?
An annuity is a retirement income plan bought with your pension pot.
It’s designed to provide you a guaranteed regular income for the rest of your life.
The amount of income you’ll get for a given lump sum will depend on your age, health, lifestyle and type of annuity.
Annuity or lump sum?
When you retire, you could withdraw all your pension – however, you could receive a large tax bill.
You could purchase an annuity where the income is taxable.
Or another option is to take up to 25% of your pension as a tax-free lump sum, and to purchase an annuity with the rest.
Finally, you could leave it invested and take money as and when needed. But like these lifts, the value of pensions can go up as well as down.
Your options at 55
If you’re 55 or older and have a defined contribution pension, you have four main choices over how to access the money you’ve saved:
One - withdraw all your pension money
Two - take money whenever you need to
Three - use it to buy yourself an income for life
Or four simply leave the money where it is. You can make your choices later.
You’ve got to think about the taxman too. You can usually take 25% of your pension fund tax free. The rest will count as part of your annual income, which you’ll be taxed on at your highest rate.
As tempting as it might be to withdraw all of your pension money now, you need to think carefully about how much you’ll need to live on as it may need to last you the rest of your retirement. Once you’ve made a decision, you may have to stick with it.
But that doesn’t have to mean you take nothing from your fund. You might want to take some cash to do some home improvements, or take a holiday.
Or you might find you could save money by taking a cash lump sum to put towards paying off any debts. Remember, any money left in your pension will remain invested and the value could go down as well as up, so you may get back less than has been paid in.
Whatever you decide to do, it’s worth giving some thought to your plans for your pension fund right now.
Otherwise, when the time comes to finally put your retirement plans into action, the wheels might come off.
Trace your lost pensions
These days, people change jobs frequently. As a result, they may have pensions that they’ve forgotten about or have lost the paperwork for.
Don’t worry if this sounds like you, because you can get free help from the Government’s ‘Find Pension Contact Details’ webpage.
Just go to www.aviva.co.uk/pension-tracing (Web address moves to bottom of the screen and stay son screen through the duration of the video) and contact the Pension Tracing Service.
Their details can be found on our pension tracing page. You’ll just need to know the type of pension you’re looking for, whether it be a;
A workplace pension
A personal pension
Or a civil service, NHS, teacher or armed forces pension.
You’ll also need to know the employer’s name. The Pension Tracing Service will then give you the details you’ll need to contact your pension scheme provider.
To help your pension provider when you contact them, please have to hand your full name, home address and any other contact information, like phone number or email. It’s that simple!