You can normally take money out of your pension from age 55 (may be subject to change). Before you take any money, it’s important to consider if you really need to. When and how you take your money can make a big difference to how much tax you might pay and how long your money will last. But don’t worry, we can support you and give you guidance about all your options.

What about tax?

If you decide it’s right for you to start taking money from your pension, the first 25% is usually tax free. You have options here. You can take this 25% as one lump sum, or in a number of lump sums or take it out as income over time. You will pay income tax on withdrawals from the rest of your pension.

There are a few options when it comes to taking your money. You can choose to use your pension in a number of ways and at Standard Life we offer them all. Not all providers will.

What are your options?

I want to...

Choose an option, and we can help you get started.

A flexible income could be right for you

You can take an income from your pension pot as and when you need it. The rest stays invested and can be passed on to your family when you die.

Learn about taking a flexible income >

An Annuity could be right for you

You can buy a guaranteed regular income that will last for the rest of your life.

Learn more about an Annuity >

Withdrawing cash could be right for you

You can take out cash from your pension as a lump sum or a number of lump sums.

Learn more about taking cash from your pension >

Let's see how the different options compare

Option Guaranteed for life? Is my money invested and
does it have the potential to grow?
Can I access my money at any time? Can I pass on what’s left? More information
Take a flexible income No Yes Yes Yes
Take cash from your pension No Yes Yes Yes
Buy a guaranteed income (Annuity) Yes No No No*
Leave your pension for now No Yes Yes Yes

*Usually you can't pass on your guaranteed income for life, but you could add on options - for example, to pay a spouse's pension after you die, to keep paying the income for a guaranteed period, or to include value protection which provides a lump sum death benefit.

Not sure which option is right for you?

Don’t worry, our retirement pathfinder can help. By asking you a few simple questions it can help you understand how you can take your money in a way that suits you best.

You can also use our retirement calculator to explore your options based on your pension value. This will give you the chance to compare different options and see how much tax you might pay.

Why not bring your pensions together?

If it’s right for you, combining your pensions into one plan could help by giving you one view, making your money easier to manage.

Transfer my pension >

Not ready to start taking money from your pension?

Many people decide they don’t need to access their money just yet. You can always leave your pension invested. But it’s important to keep an eye on how your investments are doing and how they're affecting the value of your pension. It’s important to make sure it’s working as hard as it can for you.

Login to see your plan value >

More on getting ready to retire

7 things to do before retirement

If you’re planning on retiring soon, there are some great ways you can make the change a little smoother by mixing up your lifestyle.

Find out more >

What’s the best way to invest for retirement?

We help you understand the importance of investing your pension pot, and how holding your money in cash may not be the best option.

Find out more >

Our retirement events

Sign up for one of our online events where we cover everything from what you can do with your savings, to how to make your money last.

Find out more about our retirement events >

Still unsure about what to do?

Visit our Expert Advice page

Getting a better understanding of your finances and speaking with an expert is a great way to build your confidence and help you make the right decisions.

Learn more about how advice could help you >
Scales

Get some guidance

You can get free retirement guidance from the government's Pension Wise service.

Visit Pension Wise >