You can draw your Smart Pension from the age of 55 and you don't have to retire! Use your pension to help top up your salary if you are still working, to enable you to work fewer hours or to retire early.
Do nothing or increase contributions
Firstly, just because you've reached the age of 55 years doesn't mean you have to do anything. Most deferred and active members of the scheme remain as they are - some decide they are not contributing enough and increase their contributions (here's how).
Whatever you decide, you should think carefully before you make any decisions - we strongly recommend you take advantage of the Pensions Advisory Service about the steps to turn your pension pot into income for your retirement.
Smart Pension is not authorised to provide advice but here are a couple of common ways of generating a retirement income:
Buy an annuity
This is a traditional method; Smart Pension doesn't provide annuities ourselves but you may transfer your funds to a specialist annuity provider who could provide you with an annuity for life or a fixed term.
Under the more flexible rules you may elect to draw some or all of your benefits. You may be able to take your entire pension pot as a cash payment (less income tax) under the Small Fund Commutation where the balance is less than £10,000 (under this rule, 25% of the fund value will be tax free with the rest paid net of basic rate tax (currently 20%)). You should seek professional advice as drawing from the fund in this way may also affect the maximum you are then allowed to contribute to another pension plan. It may also affect some state benefits you receive but it doesn’t affect your state pension.
The Autoenrolment.co.uk Master Trust does not provide drawdown directly from the scheme - a transfer to a suitable provider of your choice would need to be made.
What to do if you want to draw your benefits
If you would like to apply for a Small Fund Commutation payout, please complete our retirement application form and return it to the address provided on the form, together with the required identification.