There are only two main circumstances where you can access your pension savings before you turn 55:

  • When you’re unable to work due to ill-health: the options available are the same as those available to people over 55
  • When your life expectancy is less than 12 months: you may have the additional option of taking the whole of your pension savings free of income tax

Despite this, there are companies online that claim to be able to unlock your pension savings early. Please beware of these, and never be rushed or pressured into making a decision. This is what it says about them on the government’s website:

"Unscrupulous firms are using misleading information to entice savers to unlock their pension savings early. Very often these firms say there is a legal loophole they can use so you don’t pay tax. There is no legal loophole and these transactions are unauthorised payments and will attract a huge tax bill.”

 

Financial scammers will often ask you to re-invest your money elsewhere, and many of them look convincing. To help protect you from scams such as these, many of our customers find it helpful to follow these three steps:

1. Take a moment to think before giving anyone your personal information or money
2. Could it be fake?
  • Anyone offering to free up your pension savings before you’re 55 is likely to be fraudulent
  • If you’ve felt pressure to make a quick decision or have been told this is a limited offer then it may not be genuine
  • If you’ve been offered high returns with minimal risk or been charged upfront fees, this may be fraudulent and it’s okay to reject, refuse or ignore these requests
3. If you think you’ve been a victim of scamming, please contact us

If you have any concerns, you can check whether a company is genuine at fca.org.uk/scamsmart.

You can also find out more about staying safe online with our Stay Safe Online FAQ.

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