3. 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

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 your pension pot.

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

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 don’t 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 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 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 a dependant, eg your husband, wife, civil partner or child under 23
  • what the person can get, eg regular payments or lumps sums
  • whether anything can change what the person gets, eg when and how start taking your pension pot, or the age you die

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 money from your pension pot after you die.