A pension plan is a tax-efficient way to save and invest money for the long term for life after work. Read our pensions basics guide that explains how a personal pension works and key things to think about as you save for retirement.
Self Invested Personal Pension is a type of plan that allows you to save tax-efficiently and invest for your retirement in wide range of investment options.
The benefits payable on death depend on the way you have chosen to take your retirement benefits. You'll find information about what happens to your pension plan when you die on our What happens to my pensions plan when I die page.
If your beneficiaries have the option to inherit your pension pot and access the funds flexibly (also referred to as adjustable income) we would recommend that they seek Financial advice. There’s likely to be a charge for this.
The amount you invest depends on your own circumstances. Our pension calculator can help you see how much money you could have in your pension pot in the future
Also known as a defined benefits pension, pays out a guaranteed income for life when you retire.
You can find more information about workplace pensions in our helpful guide.
The majority of Standard Life pension products will accept payments from your employer, but you would need to check that your employer is happy to do this. We also accept payment from third parties (spouse/civil partner, parents etc). All payments by or on behalf of you count towards your Annual Allowance. Visit gov.uk for more information. Alternatively, you can contact us.
What is opt out?
Opting out is when you decide to leave your pension plan scheme within a month of being enrolled by your employer, your pension will be cancelled and payments refunded.
What happens after one calendar month?
You are unable to opt out but you can ask your employer to go on a payment holiday so they won’t send any more payments to us, any payments we have received won’t be refunded. You can withdraw the money if you are currently age 55 (rising to 57 from 6 April 2028) or older.
How do you opt-out?
You can opt-out online if you set up an online account or you can phone the opt-out line 0345 272 8837. Call charges will vary.
If I phone the opt-out line what information do I need?
It’s an automated service, please confirm your plan number, name and date of birth.
To view the fund(s) your pension plan is invested in and make changes to where it's invested, log in to our online servicing. If you aren’t registered yet, click on the "Register" button.
Yes, you can. Please see our Transfer Guide for further information. Transferring isn't right for everyone.
You can find this by logging in to your online servicing or on the top of your last statement
Yes. Most pension plans give you the flexibility to reduce or stop payments or take a payment holiday. You can also restart payments when the time is right for you. This flexibility gives you full control to manage your pension payments according to your personal circumstances.
Depending on the type of pension plan you have with us, you can do this online or give us a call and we’ll do it for you. If you have a workplace pension, you’ll need to contact your employer to find out your options.
If you do decide to stop your payments to free up money for day-to-day living costs, you could set a reminder for a future date to review whether you’re ready to restart your payments and get all the benefits you’re entitled to.
The government gives you a boost when you pay into a personal or workplace pension by giving you tax benefits. This means that your pension payments may cost you less than you think.
For example, for a basic-rate taxpayer paying into a personal pension plan in the current tax year, a monthly payment of £200 a month only costs £160 in practice. The government provides the extra £40 in tax relief (20%). Higher-rate and additional-rate taxpayers may be able to benefit even more, but you’d need claim it back from the government.
The tax benefits on pension payments may be delivered to you in different ways, depending on what type of pension plan you have and how much income tax you pay.
Pension tax relief is a valuable benefit that helps to boost your retirement savings. The more you pay in (and the more your employer pays in), the more you get back from the government.
Different pension plans will have different charges. We charge one transparent fee with no hidden charges. For most pension types, including Standard Life defined contributions plans, you can view your total charges and any discounts by logging into online services or downloading the Standard Life mobile app. You can also find details of your charges in your yearly pension statement.
You also benefit from:
No charges for switching funds
No charges for withdrawing money
No hidden administration fees
Free to bring other plan plans together into one Standard Life pension plan, although your current pension provider may apply a transfer charge
It's always hard to tell if you're saving enough and this can look different for everyone. It's likely the amount you're able to save will even change throughout your life depending on your circumstances.
If you're part of a workplace pension scheme, then you'll be paying in at least 8% of your earnings - that's at least 3% from your employer and at least 5% from you.
Although it's a great start, generally this minimum is exactly that - a minimum. Depending on the lifestyle you'd like to have in retirement and how many years you'll need to rely on your retirement income for, it's likely that 8% won't be enough. So if you're able to pay in more than your 5% then you should. Our Retirement Tool can give you a good idea of how much you might need in retirement as a starting point.
It's also worth checking with your employer to see if they offer matching schemes. This effectively means they'd match your payments up to a certain amount, so if you pay in more they will too. It's a great way to make the most of your pension payments.
So, really, the answer to the question is: as much as you can afford to.
Yes. You can choose to send a secure message or call us. Our pension experts won’t be able to give you financial advice, but they can give you support to help you make the most of your pension savings and answer any questions you might have.
You can usually take 25% of your total pension savings tax free. Any withdrawals you make beyond the 25% is subject to income tax.
It may seem like an easy decision to withdraw 25% of your pension pot because it’s tax free. However, as your pension is there to fund your full retirement, it may be a good idea to think about whether you need to take it all in one go. Any money you leave invested has the potential to grow, so if you don’t need all the money right now, simply take what you need. You can always take more whenever you need it.
If you are aged 55 or over (rising to 57 from 6 April 2028), have a protected pension age or can no longer work due to ill health, you may be able to cash in a defined contribution pension worth £10,000 or less.
As everyone’s circumstances are different and the government has strict rules in place on how and when you can access your pension savings, get in touch so we can review your situation and let you know the options available.
In most cases, yes. However, once you start withdrawing taxable income (anything beyond your 25% tax-free entitlement) from your pension, the Money Purchase Annual Allowance will apply to you. This limits how much you can pay into your pension plan each year to £10,000, rather than the full £60,000 annual allowance.
You should think carefully before you start taking money from your pension plan as it limits the amount you can save for the future and the tax benefits you receive from the government.
We’re not all experts - sometimes it’s best to speak to a professional to help you feel confident when making important decisions about your pension plan. Good financial advice could help you grow your pension savings, provide added protection for your money, make tax-efficient decisions and help you plan for and reach your long-term goals. Read our financial advice guide to find out more.
Keep in mind there’s usually a cost for financial advice.
Yes. We offer a range of support options:
Our website is compatible with screen readers, screen magnifiers and speech recognition software
We can send documents in larger print, braille or audio CD
You can speak to us using Next Generation Text (NGT) or Text Relay services
Visit AbilityNet to discover ways to translate and increase accessibility of your preferred websites and apps
Yes. If you’d like a bit of support, there’s a few options available:
You can tell us who you’d like to authorise to speak to us on your behalf and they can get information on your pension plan. They will not be able to make changes to your plan.
You can also ask someone else to join you on a call with us. They could help to talk through your options or interpret if English is not your first language.
You can also put a Power of Attorney in place which would allow them to make changes to your plan. You should seek legal advice if you're considering this option. There's like to be a cost for any advice.