Making the right decision for you

Deciding when to retire and how to take your pension benefits can seem overwhelming. It may help to break things down as follows…

1. Take stock of where you stand

  • Find out exactly what your pension benefits and options are by logging into your myRPS account
  • Then, consider how much money you’ll need to afford the lifestyle you want. A retirement budgeting calculator is available within your MyRPS account to help you estimate this and give you a personal target to aim for with your income.  The calculator takes into account the 'Retirement Living Standards' (RLS) created by the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA), which suggests the following: 

retirement Living Standards are benchmarks for how much you might need in retirement based on a minimum, moderate or comfortable lifestyle

2. Understand your options

As a member of a defined benefit (DB) pension, you have several options available to you:

  • Take part of your pension benefits as a cash lump sum and the rest as regular pension payments. You can decide how you divide this e.gGraphic showing that you can either take a larger lump sum and less pension OR a smaller lump sum and more pension
  • Take your entire pension benefits as regular pension payments. This is only possible if the rules of your particular pension section allows this and you don’t make any Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVCs)
  • Take your entire benefits as a cash lump sum, if the rules of your particular section allows. 
  • Transfer your entire benefits to an alternative pension provider, if the rules of your particular section allow. 

It’s important that you understand the benefits and limitations of each of these options before making a decision. More details can be found here

3. Think about what it all means for you

Active members can use our pension planner to get an idea of how much their pension might be worth when they retire and explore their options. for taking it

For example, it will show you how much of a lump sum you might be able to take when you retire and how it would affect your regular pension payment. 

The planner will also let you see what it might look like if you decide to start taking your benefits before claiming your State Pension and then level your income out afterwards. This is known as the ‘level pension option.’

Active members can access the pension planner by logging in to your myRPS account.

While the results offer no guarantee on any future outcome or entitlement, they could give you an idea of how different scenarios might play out. And give you something to compare against the estimated costs from point 1. 

You can also find out more about getting your savings on track here. 

4. Get help and advice

There's plenty of support available to help you understand your options and make a decision.

Liverpool Victoria (LV) has been chosen as the official partner to give RPS members access to financial advice. LV can be contacted on 0800 023 4187.  

You are still free to choose your own Independent Financial Adviser (IFA). You can find an IFA in your area at  unbiased.co.uk

More general information is available from MoneyHelper

And if you have made any Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVCs) you can also get free guidance from MoneyHelper's Pension Wise service.

If you are considering transferring your pension then you may benefit from financial advice. You might also have to do this by law if the value of your DB benefits is more than £30,000 and you are looking to transfer to a Defined Contribution/Personal Pension Arrangement.

 You can find more details about that here. 

And if it’s tax that’s confusing you, there’s clear, jargon-free information on the gov.uk website.