Make your money last

Knowing how long your money needs to last depends on when you want to start taking it and what your future plans are, e.g. you might want to carry on working after you reach State Pension age or the retirement date on your pension.

You may decide to leave your pot untouched and keep paying into it — this could give you more money to live on over a shorter period of time.

You’ll need to work out what you’ll have in retirement before looking at how long your money needs to last.

How long your money needs to last

You’ll need to think about how to make the money you’ve got last for the rest of your lifetime.

You can use the Office of National Statistics calculator to estimate your life expectancy. This can help you plan how long your pension may need to last – but lifestyle choices and other factors may affect how long you live.

Taking too much of your pension money in early retirement could mean you don’t have enough for later.

When to start taking your pension pot

You decide when to start taking money from your pot – you can do this from age 55. In some rare cases you can take your money earlier.

Most pensions set the age at which you’re expected to take the money from your pension pot, e.g. when you turn 65. This is known as your ‘selected retirement date’ and may be different to your State Pension age.

You don’t have to take your money when you reach this date. You can leave your pension pot untouched until you’re ready to take from it.

The longer you leave the money invested and continue to pay into it, the higher your income could be when you choose to take it. You also don’t pay Income Tax on the money for as long as it stays in your pot.

You might want to continue working for a while, possibly part time. Many employers offer flexible working arrangements for people close to or over retirement age.

When to take your State Pension

You’ll also need to decide when to take your State Pension once you reach State Pension age.

You can’t take the State Pension early but you can delay when you start receiving it — this is called deferring the State Pension.

Find out your retirement date

Your selected retirement date could influence when you decide to take the money from your pension pot.

You can check your pension paperwork, e.g. your annual pension statements to find out what age and date you’ve said you want to retire at. Ask your provider if you can’t find it.

If you want to change your selected retirement date ask your provider if you have to pay a fee or if it changes the terms of your pension.