A pension is a form of investment or savings plan designed to provide you with an income to live on when you retire. Pensions also have favourable tax treatment compared to other forms of savings.
Defined Contribution (DC) Pension
A defined contribution pension scheme may be set up by you or an employer and can be a good way of saving towards your retirement.
You can typically save into a defined contribution pension scheme by making regular instalments or one-off investments (or a combination of the two).
Defined contribution pensions build up a pension pot using your contributions and your employer's contributions (if applicable) plus investment returns and tax relief.
Tax relief can be given on pension contributions within allowable limits. Currently, the basic rate of tax is 20% and higher rate is 40%. The additional rate is 45%.
Defined Contribution Pensions are based on how much has been contributed to your pension pot and the growth of that money over time.
Defined Benefit and Final Salary Pensions
A final salary scheme is a type of defined benefit scheme (and will be set up by your employer). Final salary pension schemes pay you a pension at retirement that can depend on certain factors including pensionable service and pensionable remuneration and accrual rate (e.g. 1/60 of pensionable remuneration for each year of pensionable service). Defined benefit schemes usually provide a superior level and range of benefits to other types of pension schemes.
Final salary schemes used to be far more common, but becoming less so because of the expense of maintaining them. Some final salary schemes offer tax free lump sums, depending on the rules of your pension scheme. These can be substantial and can be re-invested if not required.
The State Pension
The State Pension is a regular payment from the government when you reach the State Pension age. You'll usually need at least 10 qualifying years on your National Insurance record to get any State Pension. They don't have to be 10 qualifying years in a row.Find out More »
A personal pension is one way you might choose to save for your retirement. Personal pensions can also be called money purchase pensions or defined contribution (DC) schemes. They may be suitable for you if you are working but are not eligible for automatic enrolment into your employer's pension scheme, you're self-employed or you're not currently in employment.
These are a type of personal pension but they have to meet some minimum standards set by the government. Stakeholder Pension plans are similar to Personal Pension plans in that you can take them with you if you change jobs.
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SIPP and SSAS
Self-Invested Personal Pensions and Small Self-Administered Schemes. The aim of SIPP and SSAS schemes is to provide benefits for retirement. Both are member-directed pensions.
Workplace Pensions and Automatic Enrolment
Employers now have to offer workplace pensions. This is called Automatic Enrolment. Your employer must enrol you into their workplace pension if you are an eligible employee. You are at liberty to decline, but this must be reviewed regularly by the employer.
Occupational Pensions and Auto Enrolment are not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.
A pension is a long term investment, the fund may fluctuate and can go down. Your eventual income may depend upon the size of the fund at retirement, future interest rates and tax legislation.
Transferring out of a final salary pension is unlikely to be in the best interest of most people.
Tax treatment varies according to individual circumstance and is subject to change.