Know where your savings are

There are numerous places where you might have retirement savings:

  • Your State Pension
  • Workplace or personal pensions
  • Other assets such as property and ISAs

Some of these automatically give you an income while others require you to make decisions. Either way, you need to know how much you have before creating an effective retirement plan.

Planning your retirement

The first step is to figure out what income you might need in retirement and what income your current pensions might provide.

What next?

What you can do now

Consider switching other assets – If you have money in other assets such as ISAs, unit trusts or other investment accounts, there could be tax benefits to moving these into your pension. You should take care to thoroughly compare the tax benefits in relation to your personal tax circumstances before proceeding though as this won’t be the best option for everyone.

Review your investment choices – does your asset allocation match your appetite for risk and the type of income you want to generate?

Use your carry forward allowance – once you’ve made the maximum tax relievable contribution in the current tax year ‘carry forward’ lets you use any remaining unused allowances from the previous three tax years (provided you were a member of a pension scheme) to make higher contributions while still benefiting from the tax relief.

In any tax year, you can only receive tax relief on contributions up to your level of earnings and higher rate tax relief to the extent that you have paid it. More about carry forward

Maximise your pension’s tax benefits - a £100 contribution costs only £80 if you’re a basic-rate taxpayer, as little as £60 if you pay the higher rate or as little as £55 if you pay additional-rate tax. Rates of tax relief for Scottish Residents differ to the rest of the UK. To do this, you could increase or start a regular contribution or make a one-off payment.

For more about the Annual Allowance, see our guides and videos on our Pension Allowances page.

Bring your pensions together – depending on the types of your other plans, you may be able to transfer these into your Fidelity plan. This could mean less paperwork and, with your accounts in one place, possibly a wider choice of investments.

Know the Lifetime Allowance - the Lifetime Allowance is a limit on the amount you can build up in pension benefits over your lifetime that will enjoy full tax benefits. You can access our guides and videos on our Pension Allowances page.

Bringing all your pensions together

If you’ve built up a number of pension pots over the course of your working life bringing your pension plans together into your workplace pension could make them easier to manage. We won’t charge you to transfer to us, but please note there may be exit fees or penalties when transferring from your existing provider. Once you’re ready, you can call us on 0800 3 68 68 68.

Advantages of transferring

  • Having one provider means one set of paperwork, making it easier to manage your pension pot
  • Access to our innovative services to help you manage and understand your pension
  • A wide choice of funds and fund providers
  • Potentially lower charges, with no charges for switching funds, to allow more of your contributions to work for you
  • Fewer retirement restrictions, if your Fidelity plan offers more flexibility around your pension options

Things to consider

  • The potential loss of any of your existing benefits including valuable guarantees.
  • Keeping your pot below £10,000 could mean you’re able to take it all in one go under the small pot rules
  • Check to see if there are any exit charges or penalties if you transfer out of your current plan
  • Remember there is no guarantee that transferring your pension will result in a higher retirement income

It’s important to understand that pension transfers are a complex area and may not be suitable for everyone. Before going ahead with a pension transfer, we strongly recommend that you undertake a full comparison of the benefits, charges and features offered.

To find out what else you should consider before transferring, please take a look at our section on moving your pension. If you’re in any doubt whether or not a pension transfer is suitable for your circumstances we strongly suggest that you seek advice from an authorised financial adviser.

Download our pensions transfer guide

If you’re thinking about bringing your other pensions together into one convenient plan check out our transfer factsheet to better understand the advantages and disadvantages.

View / download guide

Thinking about taking cash from your pension?

Once you reach the age of 55, you’re usually free to take money out of your pensions, even if you don’t retire. If you have no immediate plans to use the cash, it may be better to leave it invested so that:

  • It stays in a tax-efficient environment
  • You don’t affect the inheritance you leave to your loved ones
  • You give your pension pot a chance to grow (though it could go down in value too)
  • You may keep your full annual allowance (up to £40,000)

Your pension is there to give you an income for the rest of your life, so if you take too much too soon, you may not have enough left for what could be two or three decades of retirement. Find out more about taking cash at 55

Download our 3-step guide to creating your retirement plan

Find out more about setting the retirement income that’s right for you.

View / download guide

The value of investments can go down as well as up, so you may get back less than you invest. Tax treatment and eligibility to invest in a pension depend on personal circumstances. All tax rules may change in future.

This information is not a personal recommendation for any particular product, service or course of action. Pension and retirement planning can be complex, so if you are unsure about the suitability of a pension investment, retirement service or any action you need to take, please call our Workplace Investing Service Centre on 0800 3 68 68 68 or refer to an authorised financial adviser.

Pension money cannot normally be withdrawn until age 55.