Retirement - what to think about and when

Your step by step guide

You've worked hard for your retirement. So whenever you plan to access your pension pot - after you turn 55 (may be subject to change) - make sure you set aside a little time to find out everything you need to know. This will help to put you in control of the life you lead when you stop working.

Here's our guide to what you should be thinking about and when.

5, 10 or more years to go
Make sure your investment choices are appropriate for how you plan to take your retirement income. It's a good idea to check that your retirement plans are on track for your selected retirement date.

One year to go
When you’re just a year away, start thinking about how to access the money in your pension pot.

Ten weeks to go
Now it's time to make your final choices about your pension - and get ready for life in retirement.


Approaching retirement: 5, 10 or more years to go

It’s time to start thinking about getting everything lined up for your retirement.

Work out when to retire

Now is a good time to start thinking if a retirement date of between five and ten years away is right for you.

When you decide on a date, you should let Standard Life - and any other pension providers you have - know. That way they can offer the right help at the right time.

Contact Standard Life

Check you’re on target

It’s good to have an idea of how much money you’ll need when you retire. You should also check more regularly - at least a couple of times a year - that you’re saving enough to give you the lifestyle you want.

Find out how much you'll need

Preparing your pension savings for retirement

Depending on what your money is invested in, you might want to think about reducing risk as you approach retirement.

Or you might want to consider options that automatically move your investments into funds that are more appropriate as you approach retirement.

Start thinking about how to turn your pension savings into an income

Once you retire, you’ll need to take some - or all - of your pension money as an income.

You can normally take up to 25% of your pension savings as a tax free lump sum when you retire. With the rest of your pension savings, you can either buy an annuity or take income drawdown.

Increase your retirement income

Now you’re on the countdown to retirement, you could consider giving your savings a boost.


Approaching retirement: One year to go

It’s time to make some important decisions about your retirement. If you need any help, please get in touch or seek financial advice.

Decide how to turn your pension savings into income

Now's the time to make your final decisions about how you take money out of your pension savings.

You can normally take up to 25% of your pension savings as a tax free lump sum when you retire. With the rest of your pension savings, you can either buy an annuity or take income drawdown.

More about turning your savings into income

Got more than one pension?

You might want to consider pulling all your pensions together. Having all your pensions in one place could make it easier to plan and to see how much you’re likely to have once you stop working.

Extra sources of income

You may be eligible for state benefits when you retire. And you might want to supplement your pension by working part-time.


Approaching retirement: Ten weeks to go

It’s time to make some important decisions. They’re decisions that will affect the rest of your life - so take the time to make sure you understand everything.

Get retirement quotes

Standard Life - and all your other pension providers - will send you a quote when you’re ten weeks away from retiring. Whether you’re thinking about flexible or guaranteed income – take time to shop around for the best deal. You could transfer your pension to another provider and you might get a better retirement income.

Unless you’ve been in touch to tell Standard Life your personal circumstances, this quote won't be personalised with your retirement preferences.

It’s a good idea to:

  • Figure out what preferences you'd like and call Standard Life for a personalised quote
  • Get up to date quotes from your other providers if you have more than one pension
  • Ask for a state pension forecast at (opens new window)
  • Get in touch with an adviser if you need help - there may be a cost for this

Final decisions

You need to make some final decisions:

  1. Decide when you’re going to retire and tell Standard Life the date - because if they don’t hear from you, they’ll assume that you’ll retire on the day before your 75th birthday
  2. Decide if you want to take a flexible income or buy a guaranteed income (an annuity)
  3. Decide if you want to take a cash lump sum, and how much you'd like to take

If you want to talk through your options, call Standard Life or seek financial advice. There may be a cost for financial advice.


Explore which path may be right for you

A quick and easy way to get a snapshot of your options under the new pension rules

Retirement events

We currently contact customers from age 50 to help them prepare for retirement. We provide information on Standard Life retirement events too.

The events are free and suitable if you’re around ten years from retirement.

We also offer information on wills and powers of attorney to help with retirement planning.

Find out more