Understanding the options your provider gives you for retirement can be confusing. Final salary (defined benefit) schemes usually have a range of options regarding income and cash in differing proportions, whilst providers of defined contribution schemes may ask if you want to purchase an annuity on the open market, or for them to do this on your behalf.

It is critical to remember two points. Firstly, these options will not give any consideration to any other arrangements, savings, investments, liabilities and outgoings you may have. Secondly, there will often be other options available that the existing provider is unable to offer.

Before making any decisions it is imperative to give careful consideration to the following:

  • What are my income requirements in retirement?
  • What is the state of my health?
  • Will I want to leave either an income or lump sum to my spouse/children on my death?
  • Do I have any outstanding liabilities?
  • Do I have cash reserves?
  • Are my income requirements likely to change?
  • Do I have other pension or investment plans that will provide an income?
  • Do I know the level at which my state pension will be payable?


Due care also needs to be paid to changes surrounding the Lifetime Allowance (LTA).  Legislative changes since 6 April 2023, mean that there is now no lifetime allowance charge for exceeding the lifetime allowance when taking your pension savings, and the lifetime allowance is due to be completely abolished from the 24/25 tax year.  However, there are still limits on the maximum amount of tax-free cash someone can take from their pension.

It is possible to apply for protection so that your personal limit remains at a higher level but the criteria are specific and those who are interested in receiving more information should contact us as soon as possible. If we are unable to help due to the specifics of your case, we may be able to offer alternative solutions so that you can continue saving for retirement without being penalised.

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