Personal Pensions

Saving for retirement with added tax relief

Pensions are a fantastic, tax-free way to invest for your future. You can put a set amount - known as your 'annual allowance' - into a pension fund without paying tax on it (although HMRC rules are subject to change). Your contribution will be ‘topped up’ by the government through tax relief.

Personal pensions are usually ‘defined contribution’ pensions. Similar to most workplace schemes, this means the fund available at retirement is based on the money you’ve paid in and how your investment performs. It’s important to note that, as with any investment, the value of pensions, and any income you take from them, can fall as well as rise, and you may get back less than you invested.

Flexibility and choice

A personal pension offers flexibility and choice. For example, if you have an irregular income, or you need to pay a large expense, you can increase or reduce your contributions from month to month. You can control how much investment risk you want to take with your money and choose the types of funds to invest in – an attractive feature for those who wish to only invest in ethical funds, for instance.

The type of personal pension you choose will depend on your circumstances, but here are the main types:

  • Stakeholder pensions - these have lower or flexible minimum contributions but come with a default investment strategy
  • Standard pensions – offering a range of investment choices compared to a stakeholder pensions
  • Self Invested Personal Pensions (SIPPs) – for investors who want to have greater choice and control over where their pension contributions are invested and can pay higher charges

Whichever personal pension is right for you, it’s a tax wrapper that will hold your investment until retirement, at which point it can be used to provide an income.

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