Private pension schemes

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 taking your pension pot

Workplace pensions

Your employer must automatically enrol you in a workplace pension scheme if you’re over 22 and under State Pension age, and earn more than £10,000 a year.

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

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

Workplace pensions are protected against risks.

Personal and stakeholder pensions

You may want a personal or stakeholder pension:

  • to save extra money for later in life
  • to top up your workplace pension
  • if you’re self-employed and do not have a workplace pension
  • if you’re not working but can afford to pay into a pension scheme

Some employers offer stakeholder or private pensions as workplace pensions.

Stakeholder pensions must meet standards set by the government.

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 to get money from your pension pot after you die.

Check your scheme’s rules about:

  • who you can nominate - some payments can only go to a dependant, for example your husband, wife, civil partner or child under 23
  • what the person can get, for example regular payments or lump sums
  • whether anything can change what the person gets, for example when and how you start taking your pension pot, or the age you die

Sometimes the pension provider can pay the money to someone else, for example if the person you nominated cannot be found or has died.

The person you nominate may have to pay tax if they get money from your pension pot after you die.

  1. Step 1 Check when you can retire

  2. and Check how much pension you could get

  3. Step 2 Increase your pension

    You might be able to increase the amount you get if you delay your pension.

    1. Find out about delaying your pension

    You might be able to pay voluntary contributions to fill in gaps in your National Insurance record (such as, from when you were not working or claiming benefits).

    1. Check if you can pay voluntary National Insurance contributions

    For advice about increasing your workplace or private pension, speak to a financial adviser.

    1. Find a financial adviser through Unbiased
  4. Step 3 Check what other financial support you could get

  5. Step 4 Decide when to retire