A pension is a great way to save money for your retirement. No matter what your age, it’s important to begin planning to make sure you will have what you need to achieve your retirement goals.

This page includes a brief summary of issues and options you should be aware of when you plan for your retirement.

Your annual benefit statement

Each year as an active member we send you an annual benefit statement which shows you the value of your pension at the previous 31 March. 

See more information about your  active member annual benefit statement.

Estimated projections

Use our pension calculator to work out an estimate of the pension benefits which you'll become entitled to between the age of 55 and 75. Make sure you have your latest statement to hand as the calculator needs the information on it to project your future pension benefits.

Written estimates

You can request 1 written  estimate of your pension benefits in any 12 month period for a projected retirement date up to 2 years in the future.

Avoid pension scams

Beware! There are companies out there who want your pension. If you get approached by a company claiming that they can let you draw your pension early, it may very well be a scam. Signing up to one of these schemes could see your pension disappear in fees and charges, as well as significant tax charges for drawing it early.

Check out our advice on  how to identify a pension scam.

Annual allowance

We will write to you if (based on the information we have available) you have breached the  annual allowance limit for the growth in value of your pension. The limit set by HMRC is currently £40,000. It's important that you're aware of the annual allowance and how breaching the limit can possibly lead to HMRC imposing tax charges on you.

Lifetime allowance

HMRC sets a  lifetime allowance on the capital value of your pension, which is currently set as £1,030,000 for 2018/2019.

When you retire if the capital value of your pension benefits totals more than the HMRC's limit, you may get a tax charge. Your annual benefit statement includes the latest update on how much of your lifetime allowance you have reached by the most recent 31 March.

Reductions and restrictions in pay

You may be able to protect your pension if you had a reduction or restriction in your pay, even if it happened some time ago. If the reason why you had a reduction or restriction in pay meets the conditions for the protection, you can make an application right up to 1 month before you leave or retire from the scheme. 

Other resources to help you plan your retirement

Additional voluntary contributions (AVCs) with Prudential

AVCs are a flexible option you have to boost your retirement income where you decide how much you want to pay in. 

Additional pension contributions (APCs) with the LGPS

You may be able to purchase additional pension via a regular contract or a one off lump sum payment.

Claiming your state pension

When you're planning your retirement it's important to consider what state pension you will be entitled to and when you can claim it. You can ask for a state pension forecast. 

For more information, see the  Government's state pension information.

Dealing with debt

It's very easy to get into debt, and there are numerous ways that it can happen. Debt can become a barrier to planning for your retirement, so if you need help managing debt in preparation for retirement, help is available from the following websites:

Pension tracing

If you paid into a pension scheme before the LGPS and don't know how to contact the pension scheme, the government website includes a function to help you  trace any forgotten or lost pensions.