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Pension power

IMPORTANT INFORMATION: What you do with your pension is an important decision that you might not be able to change. You should check you're making the right decision for your circumstances and that you understand all your options and their risks. The government's free and impartial Pension Wise service can help you and we can offer you advice if you’d like it. The information on our website isn’t personal advice. Money in a pension is not usually accessible until age 55 (57 from 2028).

Why it pays to get to know your pension

We’re currently facing a pension crisis. Put simply - we’re not saving enough for the future.

Whether you’re close to retirement or another twenty years away, it’s important you’re aware of your pension and whether it’s in gear to give you the retirement you want.

In support of Pension Awareness day we’ve gathered together some essential resources to help you get your knowledge up to scratch and uncover some of the most popular myths about pensions and investing.

If you’d like to test your knowledge why not have a go at one of our Pension Awareness quizzes. You could even win a luxury Fortnum & Mason hamper, or a case of wine. Terms apply.


Test your knowledge and pick up some top tips.

Plus you could win a luxury Fortnum & Mason Hamper or case of wine (Terms Apply).

Question 1

What age would you need to be if you’re receiving your state pension?

You need to be at least 65 to already be in receipt of your state pension. State pension age is due to rise to 66 by the end of 2020, and then rise again to 68 by 2046 (although it has been proposed that it should reach this age a lot sooner).

Question 2

For the new state pension, how many qualifying years of National Insurance must you have to receive the maximum weekly payment?

You need to have 35 qualifying years of National Insurance to receive the full state pension.

Question 3

How old do you need to be to start paying into a private pension?

You can pay into a pension from the age of 18, but a parent or grandparent can start a Junior SIPP for a child as soon as they’re born.

Question 4

How much tax relief does a basic rate taxpayer receive on their private pension contributions?

If you’re a basic rate tax payer, you can get 20% added to your pension contributions by the government.

Question 5

What’s the maximum amount someone can usually pay into a private pension each year (including tax relief), and avoid a tax charge?

You can usually pay up to £40,000 per year into a private pension. If you exceed this limit, you may get a tax charge.

Question 6

How much can you pay into a private pension if you’re not working, and still get tax relief?

You can put up to £2,880 per year into a pension without working, and the Government will top this up by £720.

Question 7

What’s the earliest age you can start withdrawing from your private pension?

You can start accessing your pension from age 55, but this is set to change to 57 from 2028.

Question 8

How much of a private pension can someone usually receive tax-free?

You can take up to 25% of tax-free cash from your pension as a lump sum or take it gradually with 25% tax free each time you withdraw your money.

Question 9

Which of the following provides you with a guaranteed retirement income for the rest of your life?

You can buy an annuity with your private pension which gives you a guaranteed yearly income based on your total pension and other factors, such as your health and lifestyle.

Question 10

Which celebrity’s dad was the ‘founding father’ of the Self-Invested Personal Pension?

Nigella Lawson’s dad, Nigel Lawson, introduced the SIPP in 1989 when he was Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Your score


Good try!

Thanks for taking part in our pension awareness quiz! We hope you’ve learnt something new. For your chance to win a luxury Fortnum & Mason Hamper, or case of wine, simply click the link below. See terms below.

Enter prize draw

Good try!

Thanks for taking part in our pension awareness quiz! We hope you’ve learnt something new. For your chance to win a luxury Fortnum & Mason Hamper, or case of wine, simply click the link below. See terms below.

Enter prize draw

Nice work!

Thanks for taking part in our pension awareness quiz! We hope you’ve learnt something new. For your chance to win a luxury Fortnum & Mason Hamper, or case of wine, simply click the link below. See terms below.

Enter prize draw

Where can you find more help?

What you do with your pension is an important decision. This quiz, our guide and the conversations you might have with our helpdesk aren’t personal advice. We strongly recommend you understand your options and check that the option you choose is right for your circumstances. Take advice or seek guidance if you’re unsure.

The government provides a free and impartial service to help you understand your retirement options - more on Pension Wise.

We offer a range of information and support to help you plan your own finances. We also have a team of financial advisors who offer an award-winning advisory service, which could help you make confident decisions and achieve your goals. Our flexible approach means you only pay for the advice you need.

If you have any questions, please call our experienced retirement helpdesk on 0117 980 9940 (Monday to Thursday 8am - 7pm, Friday 8am - 6pm and Saturday 9:30am - 12:30pm). You’ll speak to a real person who’ll answer your questions in plain English.

Latest News

Category: Investing and saving

You don’t have to be old or rich to have a pension

Starting a pension when you’re young or don’t have a high salary can seem daunting – but it doesn’t have to be. Nathan Long looks at the myths around when to start a pension and why every little helps.

Nathan Long

12 Sep 2019 3m read

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'My house is my pension.' The pension vs property debate

The number of people who prefer property is on the rise. We look at the benefits and drawbacks of both.

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I can’t pass my pension on to my loved ones - fact or fiction?

We bust one of the most common myths about what happens to your pension after you’re gone.

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10 Sep 2019 4m read

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Three pension and retirement myths busted

In honour of Pension Awareness Week, we uncover the most common misconceptions about retirement and how to access a pension. Plus, take a retirement quiz for a chance to win one of six luxury prizes. Full terms below.

Nathan Long, Senior Pension Analyst

09 Sep 2019 4m read

Category: Pensions

Could your pension be working harder?

Nathan Long looks at the performance of pension default funds and asks could investors do better?

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28 Aug 2019 4m read

Category: Essentials

Retire like your granny? You’ll need to start saving now

Millennials will have to save a lot more than their grandparents to enjoy a similar retirement. We look why and what you can do about it.

Dominic Cooke

19 Aug 2019 3m read

Ready for your retirement?

Come along to our regional seminars to meet our advisers, and find out how to get on track for the retirement you’ve always wanted.

Book your space

Guide to taking money from your pension

Learn more about the different ways you can withdraw money from a private pension.

Download now

Terms of the prize draw

1. Subject to these terms and conditions, if you complete our pension or retirement options quiz between 9 September 2019 and 15 September 2019 (the “Offer Period”) we will enter you into our prize draw (the “Draw”) to win either a Fortnum & Mason hamper or a mixed case of wine from Great Western Wine. The Draw is only open to individuals who complete the quiz in full. The Draw is free to enter.

2. To be eligible to win a prize, you must also:
- be 18 or older;
- be resident in the United Kingdom;
- not be an employee of any Hargreaves Lansdown group company or a member of any such employee’s immediate family or household;
- comply with these terms and conditions.

3. Upon completing a quiz during the Offer Period, you will be automatically entered into the Draw. You will only be entered into the Draw once. You will be entered into the Draw on the date you first complete a quiz during the Offer Period and you will not receive an entry into the Draw for each additional quiz you complete. Entries received after the Offer Period has closed will not be entered into the Draw.

4. There is one Fortnum & Mason hamper worth £175 and five mixed cases of Great Western Wine worth up to £90 each to be won. Winners can decide to receive a cheque for the monetary amount should they win and would prefer an equivalent cash prize. Each entrant into the Draw shall only be entitled to win one of the six prizes. If you would like to opt out of the Draw, please notify us by calling 0117 980 9940.

5. The winners will be chosen by random draw on 16 September 2019.

6. The winners will be notified (using details provided at entry) either by telephone or, if we can’t reach the winners by telephone, by email, before 20 September 2019 and at this point, winners must provide a postal address to claim their prize. If we haven’t heard from a winner by 3pm on 20 September 2019, we will hold on to the prize until we do. If we still haven’t heard from the winner by 21 October 2019, that winner will not be entitled to a prize and a draw will take place to select another winner.

7. Please note we are required to make available information that indicates that a valid award took place. To comply with this obligation, we will send the surname and county of prize winners to anyone requesting this information. If you object to any or all of your surname and county being published or made available, please notify us by calling 0117 980 9940. Please note, we must still provide your details to the Advertising Standards Authority on request.

8. The prizes will be posted to the winners within five working days of being notified of their win.

9. Our decision regarding any aspect of the Draw is final and binding and no correspondence will be entered into about it.

10. Participants are deemed to have accepted and agreed to be bound by these terms and conditions upon entry. We reserve the right to refuse entry, or refuse to award the prize to anyone in breach of these terms and conditions.

11. We reserve the right to replace the prize with an alternative prize of equal value if circumstances beyond our control make it necessary to do so.

12. We reserve the right to hold void, cancel, suspend, or amend the Draw where it becomes necessary to do so.

13. We will process your name and address for the purpose of the Draw. Personal data supplied during the course of the Draw will be processed as set out in our privacy policy.

14. The Draw will be governed by English law and entrants to the Draw submit to the jurisdiction of the English courts.

15. This Draw is provided by Hargreaves Lansdown Asset Management Limited, which is a limited company registered in England & Wales with company number 01896481 whose registered office is One College Square South, Anchor Road, Bristol, BS1 5HL.