Income options for your pension under the 2015 rules Pension calculator
Planning your pension income well ahead can mean the difference between retiring on £15,000 a year, and retiring on £30,000 or more.
The earlier you start saving, the better. Which? helps you to plan effectively for your retirement by working out whether you're on course to save the amount you need.
The Which? pension calculator estimates the size your pot will be at retirement, and what income you could expect to get if you opt for an annuity or drawdown - and we explain what these are.
Our pension calculator provides an estimate of how much your pension fund could be at retirement and what retirement income you might expect taking an annuity or drawdown.
What is income drawdown?
Allows you to keep your pension invested in the stock market and to take or 'draw down' a regular income from it.
What is an annuity?
An insurance policy that guarantees an income for life in return for the pension fund you've built up over your working life.
How much can I get? Use our pension calculator to find out
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Add together the figures from the annual statement you get from your pension provider. If you don't have this, you can call the provider and ask for the figures.
Your estimated total pension fund at retirement age:
Retirement income options:
Yearly income in advance, based on 6% investment growth over 20 years:
Yearly non-guaranteed annuity that increases with RPI:
* This figure is based on the following assumptions:
Fluctuations in fund performance can happen - we give examples below of how lower fund performance will impact the size of your pension pot.
The figures should be considered as illustrative only, any changes to the assumptions used in the calculator could generate a smaller or larger pension fund. Nothing in this calculator constitutes pensions advice by Which? You should consult a qualified financial adviser who can consider individual circumstances if pensions advice is required. Which? Limited does not accept any liability for any loss or damage suffered as a consequence of relying on any information contained in this calculator.
We have included details of the assumptions used in the calculation above. The calculator uses current tax and pension legislation, taking into account lower rate income tax relief of 20%.
Once you've an idea of the size of your pot, you can start to think about what you might do with your pension fund when you retire.
We explain the main options below, and there's more detail in the rest of this guide.
An annuity is a product that allows you to convert your pension fund into a regular income that will last for the rest of your life.
The big benefit of an annuity is that your income is guaranteed. You’ll receive a fixed regular payment each year until you die, however long you live. The flipside is that if you die early you won’t usually be able to leave any to your family, irrespective of how much of your fund has been paid out (unless you've taken out a joint-life, value-protected or guaranteed annuity).
Flexi-access drawdown or income drawdown is where you keep your money invested when you reach retirement and take money out of (or 'draw down' from) your pension pot. You then use this money to live on.
Since your money stays invested (as opposed to being turned into an annuity), and it's usually in the stock market, there is the risk that your fund may fall in value. The upside is that investment growth can provide higher returns and see your pot continue to increase in value.
Take lumps sums from the pension
There's another flexible way to take money from your retirement savings. You can leave your money in your current pension fund and take lump sums when you need to.
The unwieldy technical term for this is ‘uncrystallised funds pension lump sums’ - or UFPLS. They're 'uncrystallised' because you haven't moved the money out of the pot and into another product, such as income drawdown or an annuity.
In theory, your pension can be used a bit like a bank or a savings account. You take cash out when you need to, and the rest continues to grow.
Take the whole pension
A major part of the April 2015 rule changes is that it is now possible to take your entire pension fund in one go.
The first 25% of your pension can be withdrawn completely free of tax. You’ve always been able to withdraw the remainder of your savings, but this was previously taxed at 55%.
The new reforms mean that you will be pay tax at your marginal rate - 0%, 20%, 40% or 45%. This will vary depending on how much money you withdraw.
- Pensions and retirement - our comprehensive guide to planning your finances in retirement
- What is income drawdown? - Which? explains how you can keep your pension invested
- Income options for your pension under the 2015 rules - how to convert your pension
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