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Expert Pension Planning Advice from
Skipton Building Society
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5 providers found

The value of a pension can rise and fall, as such your capital is at risk and you may get back less than you invest. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Standard pension rules apply.

  • PensionBee logo


    • Min Investment
      No minimum
    • Investment Type
    • Annual Fees
      0.28% to 0.95%
    • Open or Transfer
    • Access
      App, Online & Telephone
  • Penfold logo

    Penfold Pensions

    • Min Investment
      No minimum
    • Investment Type
    • Annual Fees
      0.4% to 0.88%
    • Open or Transfer
    • Access
      App, Online & Telephone
  • Interactive Investor logo

    Interactive Investor

    • Min Investment
      No minimum
    • Investment Type
      Self Select
    • Annual Fees
      Buy/sell fees apply
    • Open or Transfer
    • Access
      App, Online & Telephone
  • Hargreaves Lansdown logo

    Hargreaves Lansdown

    • Min Investment
      Lump sums: £100
      Monthly: £25
      Transfers: £1,000
    • Investment Type
      Self Select
    • Annual Fees
      Up to 0.45%
      Other fees may apply
    • Open or Transfer
    • Access
      App, Online, Telephone & Post
  • Fidelity logo

    Fidelity SIPP (Self-Invested Personal Pension)

    • Min Investment
      Lump sums: £800
      Monthly: £20
      Transfers: £1,000
    • Investment Type
      Self Select
    • Annual Fees
      Up to 0.35%
      Other fees may apply*
    • Open or Transfer
    • Access
      App, Online & Telephone

This table is initially ranked by commercial agreements in place with the providers. This does not constitute advice or recommendation for any firm featured. The table can be reordered A-Z.

A firm's Annual Fee alone is not representative of the total fees you will incur. Fee structures between providers vary greatly. Some bundle their investment costs with the annual fee they charge, whilst for others this is separate. Other providers charge a fixed fee or may charge on a percentage amount. Percentage based fees can be impacted by tiering where you receive a discount on the fee charged on a portion of your balance in excess of a predefined threshold. You should always check the fees that will be charged based on your own situation and investment choice.

Nerdwallet UK does not provide advice or recommendations in respect of the suitability of pensions or firms that operate within the pensions sector. The content of this page is simply informative and presented to give you an overview of a selection of firms that may be able to help further regarding pensions requirements, depending on your personal circumstances.

Information written by Rhiannon Philps , Tim Leonard Last updated on 22 April 2022.

What is a private pension?

A private pension is a type of pension that you open and pay into yourself, to save for your retirement. Private pensions are defined contribution schemes, where how much you pay in, and the performance of your pension investments, will determine the size of pension pot you eventually could have as a retirement income.

How do private pensions work?

You can pay into a private pension either in regular instalments or in lump sums. This money will then be invested into a variety of funds.

Pension providers may also offer plans that move your funds into lower-risk investments as you approach retirement age – the aim here is to minimise the chances of your pension pot dropping significantly in value just before you want to access it. Depending on the provider and the type of private pension, you will have more options in regards to where your pension funds are invested.

Private pension and tax relief

If you are a basic-rate taxpayer, you can get 20% tax relief on your pension contributions. Your pension provider will claim this tax relief for you. If you’re a higher-rate or additional-rate taxpayer, you get relief at 40% and 45% respectively. However, you will be responsible for claiming the extra tax relief, above 20%, through a self-assessment tax return.

» MORE: How pension tax relief works

When can you withdraw money from a private pension?

Currently, you’re only allowed to withdraw money from your private pension once you reach 55, except in a few exceptional circumstances (for example, if you have a serious medical condition). However, this age limit is set to rise to 57 in April 2028.

There are various options for cashing in your pension. These include taking cash lump sums as and when you need them, opting for pension drawdown which allows you to draw an income while keeping the rest of your pension invested, and buying an annuity which gives you a guaranteed retirement income. You don’t just have to pick one, these options can be combined if you’d prefer.

Pension rules also allow you to take 25% of your total pension pot without paying any tax.

» MORE: What are your pension options at retirement?

How does a private pension differ from the State Pension?

The State Pension is a benefit offered by the government designed to provide those who qualify with a certain level of income in retirement. The amount you get is determined by the National Insurance (NI) contributions you make during your working life. As long as you have the minimum level of NI contributions, normally 10 years’ worth, you will be eligible to receive some State Pension.

Previously, you could start to collect your State Pension from the age of 65. However, this has been gradually rising and now depends on when you were born. You can currently claim your State Pension at age 66 and it is set to rise to 67 by 2028.

By contrast, a private pension is an additional pension that you choose to pay into yourself. Private or workplace pensions can currently be accessed from age 55 (but this will rise to 57 in 2028), so much earlier than you can get your State Pension. There are also many options for how you access a private pension, whereas the State Pension is paid out monthly.

Paying into a private pension, and not solely relying on the State Pension, is generally seen as a good idea. This is because most people will need more money to live off in retirement than the State Pension will pay. Having a private pension may also allow you to retire before reaching the State Pension age.

» MORE: All about the State Pension

What’s the difference between a private pension and a workplace pension?

The main difference is that you get to choose your private pension provider, while who runs a workplace pension is normally decided by your employer. So if you compare private pensions before you set one up, you might be able to save on fees or find a pension offering more investment options than are available through your workplace pension. There might also be different rules over when and how you can access your workplace pension, particularly if it’s set up on a defined benefit, or final salary, basis. These could work better for you than a private pension, or they might not.

If you’re aged over 22 (but under State Pension age) and earn more than £10,000, your employer must auto-enrol you in a workplace pension. You have the option to opt out, but if you remain a member, your contributions will be taken directly from your pay, so you won’t need to do this yourself. Your employer must contribute to your workplace pension as well, which can make it particularly appealing compared to a private pension that they’re not required to pay into.

Together, you and your employer must contribute at least 8% of your salary to your workplace pension, with the employer paying at least 3%.

Who might need a private pension?

Opening a private pension can be a good idea for anyone looking to boost the income they will receive in retirement. For instance, if you’ve opted out of your workplace pension scheme – perhaps because you can’t commit to minimum contribution amounts – or if you’re self-employed, and won’t be automatically enrolled into a workplace pension. It’s important to remember that by opting out of your workplace pension you will miss out on your employer’s contributions.

Even if you have a workplace pension, there is nothing to stop you from having a private pension as well. This could offer you flexibility over how much you pay in, your investment options, and how you can access your pension benefits when it’s time to retire.

» MORE: Saving for retirement when you’re self-employed

What is the best private pension for me?

Traditional private pensions tend to be available from most large insurance companies, banks and building societies, and offer a range of pension funds designed to match the level of investment risk you’re willing to take.

Alternatively, stakeholder pensions generally offer similar investment options, but must include certain features to make them accessible and affordable to most people. These include a cap on annual charges, low minimum contribution requirements, no transfer costs and the option to pause and restart payments whenever you wish.

Another option might be a self-invested personal pension, or SIPP. This type of pension will typically offer a far broader choice of investments to provide greater flexibility and control over how you can save for your retirement. However, because of this, SIPPs’ charges are often higher too.

» COMPARE: SIPP providers

How to choose the best pension provider for your needs

When you’re looking for a private pension provider, it can be difficult to know which one is right for you. To help you make your decision, you should think about:

  • What fees does the provider charge? Look out for administration fees, management fees, and transaction fees. Also, consider the charging structure itself. Is it a fixed amount or a percentage-based fee, as one may be better than the other for your individual situation.
  • Is there a minimum amount you want or need to invest in the pension?
  • What choice of pension funds do you have?
  • Can you manage where your money is invested, or do you want the pension provider to manage your funds?

If you are unsure about which pension provider to choose, or what type of pension is most suitable, it’s usually best to talk to an independent financial adviser about your options. If you are 50 or over, you can also get free guidance from the government-backed pension guidance service, Pension Wise.

» MORE: How to get free pension advice

Pensions FAQs

What is a pension?

A pension is a plan that you pay into during your working life, which you can use to pay for your retirement. The money in your pension is invested, over the long term. Tax relief from the government and contributions from your employer can add to the value of your pension too and give it a chance to grow at a quicker rate than a savings account, although this is not guaranteed.

How do pensions work?

A standard private pension serves as a payment and savings pot, allowing you to put some of your money aside while you work. It is tax-efficient and, upon retirement, can be drawn down directly while the rest of your pension remains invested, or you can exchange the money for a form of annual income called an annuity. You can also take one or more lump sum payments from your pension pot from 55 onwards. Pension providers do not have to offer all these options of accessing a pension fund, so always check with your pension provider.

How much is the State Pension?

The full new State Pension for 2022/23 pays out £185.15 per week, while the full basic State Pension, which you’ll receive if you reached State Pension age before April 2016, is £141.85 a week. However, these sums could vary, depending on your National Insurance record and whether you defer claiming your State Pension. You typically need to have a minimum of 10 years of National Insurance contributions to receive any State Pension. You receive the State Pension every four weeks. You can check your State Pension forecast on

When will I get my pension?

You will normally be able to start accessing your private pension from the age of 55, although this is set to rise in the coming years. You may find some exceptions to this such as in the event of ill-health. If anyone contacts you claiming to be in a position to help you access your pension pot before reaching the required age, it is highly likely to be a pension scam and should be reported immediately.

You won’t be able to access your State Pension until you reach the State Pension age, as set by the government. Your State Pension age will depend on when you were born, as the government has been increasing the State Pension age to account for the ageing population. Since October 2020, the State Pension age has been 66 for both men and women, but it’s increasing and will reach 67 by 2028. You can check your current retirement age on

Do I have a workplace pension?

As of February 2018, all employees aged over 22 and under State Pension age who earn more than £10,000 a year must be automatically enrolled into a workplace pension scheme. So unless you have chosen to opt out of your workplace pension scheme, you are likely to have one.

Even before auto enrolment, most employers offered pensions for their workers to join. If you’re unsure whether you have old pensions that you‘ve lost track of, there are ways to trace old or lost pensions.

Do I need a private pension if I already have a workplace pension?

The choice is up to you. You may not necessarily need a private pension if you already have a workplace pension, and think you’re on track for a comfortable retirement. But, if you want extra flexibility or the chance to save more, you can have both at the same time and make additional contributions.

Can I transfer my pension?

Yes, it is usually possible to transfer pensions between providers. Some of the reasons you might consider a pension transfer include switching jobs, wanting to find a better pension plan, or simply to bring your pension pots together into one single pension.

However, transferring a pension may not always be the right thing to do, particularly if there is a cost involved or you’ll lose valuable benefits in the process. Because of this it can make sense to seek qualified professional advice. In some cases, such as defined benefit pensions worth over a certain amount, this is even a legal requirement.

What happens to my pension when I die?

This will usually depend on your age, whether you have started to access your pension, and the type of pension you have. It’s important to name one or more beneficiary on your pension if you want your pension to go to specific people. You can update these details at any time if you change your mind.

» MORE: Your pension after death

Can I open a pension for my child?

Yes, parents and guardians can open a pension for their child. You can invest up to £2,880 a year and get 20% tax relief on this, and the child will gain control of their pension when they turn 18. However, as with other pensions, they won’t be able to withdraw money from their pension fund until they reach retirement age, which is due to rise to 57 from 6 April 2028.

Is there a limit to the number of pensions I can have?

There is no limit to the number of pensions you’re allowed, so you can have more than one workplace pension, personal pension, or SIPP.

But while you can have multiple pensions, it’s important to be aware of the annual allowance on the contributions you can make and still receive tax relief. This is the lower of 100% of your earnings or £40,000. It is a combined allowance across all of your pension plans.

If you make large contributions to your pensions, you may also need to take note of the lifetime allowance. This is a limit on the amount you’re allowed to save into a pension over a lifetime before tax charges start to apply. Currently, this is set at £1,073,100 – a level that it’s due to remain at until at least the 2025/26 tax year.

Are private pensions safe?

If your private pension provider is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), you’ll normally be covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). This means that you may be entitled to compensation should the provider or the firm holding your pension investments goes bust.

If you have a workplace pension, protection usually comes from The Pension Regulator or the Pension Protection Fund.

It's important to stress that even though there may be a certain level of protection for a company becoming insolvent, there is no protection if your investments simply lose value.

About the author:

Rhiannon is a financial writer for NerdWallet, with a particular interest in personal finance and insurance guides for consumers. Read more

Tim draws on 20 years’ experience at Moneyfacts, Virgin Money and Future to pen articles that always put consumers’ interests first. He has particular expertise in mortgages, pensions and savings. Read more

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