A pension is a long-term investment. Its value can go down as well as up and could be worth less than was paid in. Laws and tax rules may change in the future. Your own circumstances and where you live in the UK will also have an impact on tax treatment.

Why people choose not to take money from their pension plan

You can take money from your pension plan when you reach 55 (subject to change) but you don’t have to. If you feel you can’t afford to stop working, you can choose to leave your pension plan untouched and keep making payments for a while.

If you decide to continue making payments into the plan, the fund stays invested so there is still the chance of future growth. This means you could potentially get higher benefits when you do start to access your money.

Leaving it invested: What you need to know

Here’s a quick breakdown of things to know when choosing not to take money from your pension plan:

  • You can stay flexible: You can keep your options open. If you don’t need the money right away, you can keep paying into your pension plan to potentially build up more retirement benefits for the future
  • Keep benefiting from tax relief: Your pension plan will still be tax efficient if you choose to delay taking your money and continue to pay in. Our pension basics guide has a breakdown to show how this could help you
  • Stay invested: If you don’t take money from your plan, your money stays invested. This gives it a chance to potentially grow over time and give you a higher retirement benefits. Remember that as you are still invested, your plan value can fall as well as rise
  • Support your family: You can tell us the people or causes you’d like to pass any remaining pension money to when you pass on. We’ll consider your choice when we come to decide where to pass the money to
  • You may have other sources of income: you might keep working or have other sources of income – for example: Individual Savings Accounts (ISAs) or other savings and investments
  • Shop around: It's important to shop around to find the best retirement option for you. Some pension providers might not offer the option you want, so it's worth comparing what each of them can offer
  • Update your retirement date: If you decide to leave your plan invested you should let your pension provider know by updating your retirement date as this could have an impact on your investments. If you have a pension plan with us you can update your retirement date in your online account or contact us to let us know

Comparing retirement options

Standard Life has a range of options for taking money from your pension at retirement that you can think about.

Our guide to these options breaks down how each of them works, explains their features, and has information on how to get started with each option.

Here’s a quick comparison to get you started:

Option Will you get a guaranteed income for life? Does your remaining money stay invested? Can you access your money at any time? Can you pass on what’s left after you die?
Take money when you like (drawdown) No Yes Yes Yes
Take one or more lump sums                     No Yes Yes Yes
Buy a guaranteed income for life (an annuity) Yes No No No*
Leave your pension invested 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, you could choose to pay a spouse's pension after you die. Please visit our Guaranteed Income for Life page for more information.

Pension wise logo

Access to impartial guidance

We recommend you seek appropriate guidance or advice before you make any decisions. An adviser is likely to charge a fee for this. You can also get free impartial guidance over the phone or face to face with Pension Wise. Go to pensionwise.gov.uk or call 0800 138 3944. Make sure you understand all your retirement options by reading the Money Advice Service guide – Your pension: Your choices.

Thinking about delaying taking your pension savings?

Here are some simple next steps that could help you.

Desktop

Want to delay taking your pension savings?

Log in to your Standard Life account to check your investments and change your retirement date.

Desktop

Want to delay taking your pension savings?

Log in to your Standard Life account to check your investments and change your retirement date.

signpost

Use our Retirement Options tool

Quickly compare different retirement routes and get more information on the ones you’re interested in.

signpost

Use our Retirement Options tool

Quickly compare different retirement routes and get more information on the ones you’re interested in.

Calculator

Over 55? Get your personalised report

Our retirement calculator lets you put in your real numbers for a clearer picture of the different ways to take your money.

Calculator

Over 55? Get your personalised report

Our retirement calculator lets you put in your real numbers for a clearer picture of the different ways to take your money.

presentation

Speak to a financial adviser

If you’re not sure, we’d encourage you to seek financial advice. There’s usually a cost for this.

presentation

Speak to a financial adviser

If you’re not sure, we’d encourage you to seek financial advice. There’s usually a cost for this.

signpost

More about retirement

We have lots of useful information that can help you prepare for retirement, and the steps you can take when you feel ready to retire.