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Your pension income options

Decide what works best for you

The basics

The earliest you can take your pension is usually 55 (rising to 57 from 2028).

It’s up to you when you take it. If you don’t need the money yet, you can leave it. We can help you prepare for your retirement too.

If you want to access your pension pot, there are three main ways you can do this.

Compare your options

Annuity

Drawdown

Lump sums

In a nutshell

In a nutshell

In a nutshell

Swap money in your pension for a guaranteed income for the rest of your life.

Keep your pension invested. Take the income you want, when you want.

Keep your pension invested. Take the lump sums you want, when you want.

Tax

Tax

Tax

You can usually take up to 25% tax-free cash at the start. Your income is taxable.

You can usually take up to 25% tax-free cash at the start. Any income you withdraw is taxable.

Usually 25% of each withdrawal is tax free, and the rest is taxable.

Benefits

Benefits

Benefits

Your income is guaranteed for life. This is true no matter how long you live.

You can choose options so your income increases. This means your buying power could keep up with inflation.

Your income could continue after you die if you’ve chosen certain options when you get quotes and apply.

Withdraw what you want, when you want. So you keep your options open if your circumstances change.

Potentially beat inflation with returns from your investments. You could maintain your buying power as prices rise.

Pass on your money – when you die this can normally be paid as a lump sum or as income.

Withdraw what you want, when you want. So you keep your options open if your circumstances change.

Potentially beat inflation with returns from your investments. You could maintain your buying power as prices rise.

Pass on your money – when you die this can normally be paid as a lump sum or as income.

Risks

Risks

Risks

You can’t change your options if your circumstances change.

You can’t cash in your annuity.

Annuity rates might rise in the future, but you won’t benefit from this if your annuity is already being paid.

You could run out of money if you withdraw too much, your investments don’t perform as you’d hoped or you live longer than expected.

Income isn’t secure, it could fall or even stop completely.

It’s possible you’ll get back less than you originally invested, as all investments can fall as well as rise in value.

You could run out of money if you withdraw too much, your investments don’t perform as you’d hoped or you live longer than expected.

Income isn’t secure, it could fall or even stop completely.

It’s possible you’ll get back less than you originally invested, as all investments can fall as well as rise in value.

Annuity

Swap money in your pension for a guaranteed income for the rest of your life.

More about annuities

Drawdown

Keep your pension invested. Take the income you want, when you want.

More about drawdown

Lump sum

Keep your pension invested. Take the lump sums you want, when you want.

More about lump sums

Ready to talk through your options?

Even after you’ve done your research, you’ll probably still have some questions about taking your pension.

The experts on our pensions helpdesk are ready to help.

Give us a call on 0117 980 9926 or email us.

Monday - Thursday 8am-7pm
Friday 8am-6pm
Saturday 9:30am-12:30pm

Pension guidance

We strongly recommend that you seek guidance from Pension Wise, the government's free and impartial service.

More about pension wise

Guides to help you plan