Money in a pension plan is usually invested so its value can fall as well as rise and you could get back 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 treatmentTransferring won't be right for everyone.

What is pension drawdown?

Do you want flexibility on how you access your money? Pension drawdown is a flexible way to take income from your pension pot when you turn 55 (57 from 6 April 2028). You can usually take out up to 25% of your pension savings tax free, and the rest will stay invested. You can take out money whenever you like, but you'll pay income tax on anything over your 25% tax-free amount.


  • Taking your money: You can set up an income that you can stop, start or change at any time.
  • Any money that's left stays invested: It has the potential to grow in a tax efficient way.
  • Pass on what's left in your pension plan: You can leave what’s left in your pension plan to your loved ones when you die, generally free from inheritance tax.
  • Investment choice: You're in control and can choose where you invest your remaining money. You can usually pick your own funds, choose a ready-made option to suit your needs or you might want an adviser to do this for you.
  • Change your mind later: You can convert to a Guaranteed Income for Life (annuity) at any point.


  • You need to make sure your money lasts:
    How much money you take, when you take it and how your investments perform will affect how long your pension pot will last. You need to manage your withdrawals and make sure your pot lasts as long as you need it to.
  • You need to consider your investments: You need to manage and make sure your investments remain right for you. Remember the value can go down as well as up and isn't guaranteed. You’ll also continue to pay investment charges. 
  • Your state benefits could be affected: You should check this isn’t going to be a problem before going ahead. For more information visit the MoneyHelper website
  • The amount that can be paid into pension plans could be reduced: Taking more than your tax-free lump usually lowers the maximum amount you or an employer can pay into any of your defined contribution pension plans in a tax year without attracting a tax charge. This could reduced from £60,000 to £10,000 and you won't be able to carry forward unused allowances from previous years.

Access to free impartial guidance.

We recommend you seek appropriate guidance or advice before making any decisions about your pension. You can get free guidance over the phone or face to face with Pension Wise, a service from MoneyHelper. Go to or call 0800 138 3944.

Other MoneyHelper guides are also available at

If you want to use a financial adviser, you should always make sure they're authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

The government's MoneyHelper service has a useful guide to help you find a financial adviser.

It’s important to shop around and compare providers. As the flexible income (drawdown) amount you take is set by you, the things to consider are the investments available and the charges you have to pay.

Why choose Standard Life for pension drawdown?

Standard Life was awarded "Best Income Drawdown Provider" at the the MoneyFacts Investment Life & Pension awards 2023

Get started with pension drawdown

Important information about pension drawdown

Other ways to access your pension savings