Ready to retire

Understanding your choices

When you’re under 50, retirement may still seem a long way off and there may be other things competing for any extra money you earn – holidays, children heading off to university or supporting elderly relatives – but putting money away for your future is just as important.

Did you know?

Did you know?

44% of retirees depend on the State Pension as their main source of income.*

*The financial lives of consumers across the UK  (PDF, 8.6MB)

Your questions answered

What is my current position?

Start by working out how much you already have in savings, investments and pensions to put towards your retirement. Your pension provider or administrator should be able to give you an up-to-date statement of what your pension could be worth at the retirement age you originally selected. You can also find out what State Pension you’re entitled to. As a part of Lloyds Banking Group, Scottish Widows offers pensions and advice. See how they can further help you understand your options.

  • On average, £24,000 a year is the golden number when it comes to planning for a comfortable retirement.* Our pension options calculator lets you see how much your pension could be worth, which can help you to decide when the time is right for you to retire.

    Read more about How much do you need to retire?

  • When you decide that the time is right to take your money out of your pension, you can:

    • Turn it into a regular taxable income (annuity), so you can always be sure of what you’ll get.
    • Take lump sums (25% tax free) and taxable income from your pension pot as and when you need and leave the rest invested.
    • Take your whole pension pot as a cash sum of which 25% would be tax free but the remaining 75% is taxed along with any other income you may receive.
    • Leave it where it is and continue saving.
  • There’s more flexibility about when you retire than ever before. Generally speaking, if you’ve saved into a workplace or private pension, once you reach 55, you can start taking your money out, but you can also choose to leave it where it is and let it grow a bit more.

    As well as financial considerations, other issues may affect your decision, for example, whether you enjoy your job and can physically manage its demands, and your health. You may even find that a phased approach works best for you, reducing your hours from full to part-time.

  • On average, a person has 11 different jobs over the course of their working life . If you’ve been part of a pension scheme at each job, that means you could have pension pots all over the place. If you’ve been self-employed, you may have different pension pots depending on if you’ve worked for a company or pay into accounts privately. Combining some or all of your pension funds may be worth looking into.

Tax treatment depends on individual circumstances and may be subject to change in the future.

What should I do today?

Scottish Widows have been helping people plan for retirement for over 200 years. As part of our Group, they can help you to understand whether your plans are workable to give you the retirement you want and help you make the best decisions for you.


To find out more about pensions and how you can save, visit the Scottish Widows website.


Visit the Scottish Widows website


Or if you’re looking to be a little more self-directed with your pension you could look at our Self Invested Personal Pension (SIPP), which is available through Bank of Scotland Share Dealing.

Self Invested Personal Pension (SIPP)

Tools and resources

Retirement planning

Access information to help plan your retirement

Handy tools

If you’re approaching retirement, review your pension options with our pensions provider Scottish Widows and see how you could benefit

Pensions transfer

If you have more than one pension pot you could combine them into one plan to make them easier to manage

Wealth management

If you feel you’d benefit from our Schroders Personal Wealth, Wealth Management service to plan for your retirement, please see how we can help.

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Looking for helpful money advice?

Visit Pension Wise from MoneyHelper for guidance on your options. They offer appointments over the phone or in person, to help you understand your financial situation when you retire.

You might also want to talk to a financial adviser. Find one near you.

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