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.

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Find out your retirement income from all your retirement money

Answer a few simple questions and find out the retirement income you could get with our help.


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 >

You don’t have to choose only one option. You could take some tax free cash, and dip into the rest of your pension as you need it, or you could combine income from other sources too (like bank accounts and ISAs). The best retirement income plan for you might be one that combines multiple income options, it just depends on your circumstances. Expert advice could help you with this. Get started with a free consultation.

Learn more >

When it comes to your retirement, you want to work with people you can trust. Standard Life Retirement Advice makes getting expert help for your retirement easy and affordable. From where you choose, at a time that suits you, your adviser is there to help you make the decisions that get the most out of your retirement.

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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 pension pot just yet. You can always leave this money 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.

Login to see your plan value >


There are other ways to access tax-free money from age 55, such as releasing some equity on your home. It could be an option if you’d prefer to leave your pension untouched for a while.

It’s important to remember that this option isn’t for everyone and there can be lots to consider. Find out more about equity release to learn more and to see if you could be eligible.

Other sources of retirement income

Having a pension is one of the most tax-efficient ways to take an income after you retire, but you do have options if you feel the value of your pension won’t help you afford the lifestyle you want.

For example; people may choose to downsize their home to reduce their outgoings or work part-time to keep money coming in.

If you're a homeowner aged 55 or over, Equity Release may allow you to unlock tax-free cash from your home. Find out how equity release works here.

Remember: Equity release may involve a lifetime mortgage which is secured against your property or a home reversion plan.

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?

Get Retirement Advice

We’ll use our expertise to build a retirement plan that’s personalised to you. Speak to an expert and be more informed and confident about your retirement choices - even if you don't choose to go ahead with our recommended plan.

Learn more >

Get some guidance

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

Visit Pension Wise >