When can I take money from my pension?

You can start taking money from most pensions from the age of 60 or 65. This is when a lot of people typically think about reducing their work hours and moving into retirement. You can often even start taking money from a workplace or personal pension from age 55 if you want to. This is well before you can get your State Pension.

Taking money from your pension

If you have a defined contribution pension, you can usually start taking an income and/or lump sums from the age of 55.

But be aware that the earlier you start taking money out of your pension, the longer it might need to last. So it’s important to think carefully about how you manage your money – to avoid it running out sooner than you need to.

If you have a defined benefit pension, you can usually begin taking to take it from the age of 60 or 65.

You might be able to start receiving an income from it at age 55. However, the income you get is likely to be reduced, as you’re taking it earlier than the normal pension age of the scheme.

Equally, if you begin taking money from it later, you could get a higher income. This is because it will potentially be paying out for a shorter time.

You could use the money from your pensions to help top up your salary if you’re still working. This means you can work fewer hours or retire early.

The government has confirmed plans to increase the minimum age you can access your pension from 55 – to 57 from 2028. From then on, the minimum pension age will remain ten years below State Pension age.

Do you have a workplace or personal pension? Then when you can access it will depend on the terms and conditions of your policy. It’s important to check with your provider whether there are any penalties for accessing your pension early or later than the normal pension age.

Some schemes have features that mean you might lose a ‘with-profits bonus’ or a ‘guaranteed annuity rate’.

If you’re a member of a workplace pension, you might need the consent of your employer or ex-employer to take benefits earlier than the normal pension age. This is more likely if you’re still working for them.

In some instances, you might also need the consent of the pension scheme trustees.

Does your membership include an element relating to contracting out of the State scheme between 6 April 1978 and 5 April 1997? Then there’ll be a certain minimum amount that must be payable by the scheme. This is known as a Guaranteed Minimum Pension (GMP).

If your pension isn’t going to be at least equal to your expected GMP when you can start drawing it, you might not be able to access it early. You’ll need to ask your scheme administrator for information about early retirement.

Can I take my pension before 55?

You can’t usually take money from your pension before you’re 55. But there are some rare cases when you can – for example, if you’re in poor health. 

Some professions allow an earlier retirement date – for example, if you’re a professional athlete.

Some pensions (typically those you might have joined before 6 April 2006) have a protected pension age lower than 55. If you think this might apply to you, ask your scheme administrator as soon as possible, or contact us to talk it through with one of our team.

Scams

Pension scams are so serious because they can mean you lose all of your retirement money, changing your retirement permanently, for the worse.

You could lose your money and face a tax charge of up to 55% of the amount taken out or transferred, plus further charges from your provider.

State Pension

It’s not possible to receive your State Pension before your State Pension age, but you might be entitled to some other State benefits.

To check if you qualify for any help, use the calculators on the GOV.UK website

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Looking for us? Now, we’re MoneyHelper

MoneyHelper is the new, easy way to get clear, free,
impartial help for all your money and pension choices.
Whatever your circumstances or plans, move forward with MoneyHelper.

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