3. Private pensions

Workplace pensions and personal or stakeholder pensions are a way of making sure you have money on top of your State Pension.

For most workplace and personal pensions, how much you get depends on:

  • the amount you’ve paid in
  • how well the pension fund’s investments have done
  • your age - and sometimes your health - when you start getting the pension

Workplace pensions

If your employer offers a workplace pension, they can make contributions on top of what you pay.

You may also be able to make extra payments to boost the pension.

Workplace pensions are protected against risks.

The government is bringing in changes to the law on workplace pensions. By 2018, your employer must automatically enrol you in a scheme if you’re over 22 and under State Pension age and earn more than £10,000 a year.

Personal and stakeholder pensions

These are private pensions. Stakeholder pensions must meet certain standards set by the government.

Some employers may offer you these pensions as a workplace pension.

You might want to get a personal or stakeholder pension to save extra money for retirement to top up your workplace pension.

Self-employed people without a workplace pension scheme might want to pay into a personal or stakeholder pension.

If you’re not working but can afford to pay into a pension scheme, this type might also be an option for you.

Find out how to work out your retirement age on Pension Wise. You can also book an appointment to speak to someone.

Find a lost pension

The Pension Tracing Service might be able to trace lost pensions that you’ve paid into.

Nominate someone to get your pension when you die

Ask your pension provider if you can nominate someone and what the person will get from your pension after you die.

Most pension schemes will pay a lump sum or regular pension payments to the person you nominate - this depends on the scheme’s rules. Regular pension payments can only go to one of your dependants, eg your husband, wife, civil partner or child under 23.

Get information from the Pensions Advisory Service about how your choice of pension affects what the person gets.

Sometimes the pension provider can pay the money to someone else, eg if the person you nominated can’t be found or has died.

The person you nominate may have to pay tax if they get a lump sum or regular payments from your pension after you die.