Can I cash in my
Guide to cashing in your pension at 55
If you are 55 or older and not currently paying into or receiving your personal or old company pensions,
you can cash in 100% of your pension as a cash lump sum – up to 25% Tax Free*
Cashing in your Pension Early
With the introduction of Pension Freedom in 2015 you can cash in your pension early. The new rules allow you to release part or all of your pension as a cash lump sum. The first 25% of which is tax free and the rest is be taxed at your normal marginal rate of tax. Alternatively, you can take part of your pension as a cash sum and use the rest to provide you with an income for life, which is also taxed as earned income. This tax free cash sum is known as the Pension Commencement Lump Sum or PCLS.
The tax treatment would depend upon your personal circumstances and may be subject to change in the future.
The FCA has strict suitability rules when cashing in your pension at 55, for the most part, it is not advisable. This is due to the simple fact that your pension is there to provide you with an income for your retired life. Cashing in your pensions earlier than your pensionable age would almost certainly reduce your eventual retirement income.
Cashing in your pension at 55 is known as Pension Release; whether it is a Personal Pension or a Company Pension. There are many reasons why people want to cash in their pensions early, such as starting a new business venture, buying a house, moving abroad, paying off debts and credit cards.
You can cash in your pension even if you haven’t retired yet but need some cash now. If you’re 55 or over and have either a Personal Pension or old Company Pension you’re not currently receiving, you can cash in your pension even if it was originally set up to an older retirement age, of say 60 or 65.
The income you receive after cashing in a pension will depend on several factors including whether the money has come from a personal pension scheme or an occupational pension scheme. To an extent, you have much more choice about how the income will be paid from a private pension compared with an occupational scheme. You have the option of cashing in a pension without the need to take immediate income.
This service only applies to pensions in the UK.
Taking benefits early will almost certainly reduce your pension income in retirement and is only suitable for a limited number of people and circumstances. This should not be seen as an easy option for raising cash.
If you release all your money from your pension early you will not have anything left to provide you with income in retirement.
Case Study: Cashing in your Pension Early
John has an old pension from when he used to work for his local council; it is a Local Government Pension, which has a Cash Equivalent Transfer Value of £40,000.
- John Smith is employed on a salary of £24,000 a year
- Married to Joan who works part time on a salary of £7,000 a year
- John is aged 57
- No dependents
- No savings
These are extremely good pensions with guarantees of what they will pay at retirement and normally John wouldn’t even consider taking benefits from it early, however, John is behind on his mortgage and owes the company £4,000. He also has a bank loan of £5,000 and an overdraft of £1,000.
All these debts came about because he was made redundant over a year ago and he has only just found new employment. He and his wife did have some savings but these have all been used up. He is making payments on his mortgage and bank loan now but the mortgage company are saying that if he doesn’t pay back his arrears they will reposes his house.
John and Joan have tried getting a consolidation loan but can’t because they have a bad credit rating; they’ve even spoken to Citizens Advice but they couldn’t help. None of their friends or family are able to help them either and every bit of money they earn each month goes out again just on living. It’s not as if they have luxuries they spend their money on that they could cut back on.
They have basically tried every avenue possible to try and solve their problem and it is only because they have exhausted every other option that they are now considering using John’s pension.
John is unable to take benefits early direct from his Local Government Pension Scheme so he is going to transfer it into a Personal Pension. He is then able to release 25% of the transfer value as a Tax Free Cash Sum, which is £10,000, leaving the rest of the money invested in his Personal Pension to take as an income when he eventually retires.
Transferring his pension means he has now lost all the very valuable benefits and guarantees that he would have got with his Local Government Pension Scheme and there are charges and costs involved with the advice he has been given and to set up the new plan.
However, John will still get a pension when he retires, albeit smaller than he would have otherwise got, and he and his wife can stay in their home and clear all their debts.
He made sure he fully understood what guarantees he was giving up and all the costs, charges and risks he would be taking by going ahead with Early Pension Release, this enabled him to make an informed decision.
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Cashing in your Pension Early – Frequently Asked Questions
Can I still work after cashing in my pension?
Yes you can still continue to work after you cash in your pension.
Can I cash in my pension before 55?
Yes you can cash in pension before 55. However only in exceptional circumstances, such as serious illness.
Can I take my pension as a lump sum?
Yes you can take your pension as a 100% cash lump sum. The first 25% is tax free.
How much tax will I pay if I cash in my pension?
The first 25% is tax free, which will not use up any of your Personal Tax Allowance. The rest will be taxed at your normal tax rate.
How long does it take to cash in a pension?
Once we have received your authorisation it normally takes round 4 to 5 weeks. However it can take longer, it is very dependant on your pension provider.
Can I cash in my pension to pay off debt?
Yes you can cash in your pension to pay off debts. See our guide paying off debts with your pension.
Need advice on cashing in your pension early?
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Grove Pension Solutions Ltd is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.
We are financial advisers specialising in helping people cash in their pension early and have been doing this for many years now, long before the Pension Freedom changes came into effect.
We have provided professional advice to thousands of people over the years.
Our service allows you to evaluate your Pension Freedom options without paying a penny. It’s only if you decide to go ahead with releasing all or part of your pension pot that you pay a fee. You are under no obligation to go ahead if you don’t want to.
Very satisfied from start to finish with the quick & professional service.
The whole experience was comprehensive and informative. I was never put under pressure, and the whole procedure was conducted professional, with feedback. Everything that I was told would be done was done in the time frame that I was advised of.
When I made my initial enquiry via the Grove Website I received a response within 30 minutes. I realised straightaway that I was dealing with a highly professional operation. From beginning to end my case was handled with utmost speed and courtesy. I would highly recommend your services to anyone thinking of releasing their pension.
I found your service to be very professional. The people I had contact with were very patient and understanding.
This was the best decision I have made. I cannot express how helpful Grove Pension Solutions were. They go the extra mile to ensure you receive the best service. Their staff are very knowledgeable, professional and friendly, not something other companies offer these days.
I had no pre-knowledge of what would be involved in pension release so I was pleased by the professionalism and friendly service offered by your organisation, things were explained in a clear and concise way so I would have no hesitation in recommending your services to other people.
Your staff were very helpful from the start and very professional in their approach to what is a complex field. I would recommend your services to anybody.
I did not think such a good service existed but it does. Grove customer service really does look after the customer.
Very helpful. Explained in detail, answered all my questions. Would recommend to family and friends. Excellent services.
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