Saving more

How topping up your pension could help pay for life after work.

Planning for the future

Wherever you are on your pensions journey, planning ahead could help you afford the retirement you hope for. 

Find out below how to set your own retirement target and save more towards it with Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVCs).

Setting a savings target 

Will you have enough money to live the kind of life you want when you retire? Follow these 3 simple steps to find out and give yourself something to aim for.

Step 1: Work out how much you're likely to need in retirement

Retirement Living Standards show roughly what you might need when you retire.

The Retirement Living Standards (RLS), offer a general guide to how much you might need when you stop work. You can find out more at 

You can also use the Retirement Budgeting Calculator tool for a more personalised estimate. It's based on the RLS but lets you adjust certain figures for a more tailored idea of how much you might need to pay for the retirement you want.

Visit the Retirement Budgeting Calculator page or log in to your myRPS account to give it a go. 

Step 2: Work out how much you're likely to get in retirement 

If you're a DB member you can do this by using the Pension Planner in your myRPS account. 

If you’re an IWDC member, you can do this using the Retirement Modeller in your myRPS account.  

You can also request an estimate at any time by logging in to your myRPS account.

Visit the video library to watch short videos explaining how to use the Pension Planner or Retirement Modeller and how to request an estimate.  

Remember, the Retirement Living Standards and Retirement Budgeting Calculator figures are based on the income you may need after tax, whereas the Pension Planner, Retirement Modeller and estimates, give you a guideline of what you might get before tax.

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Tools to help you

Log in to your myRPS account and use the online tools to see how much you might get when you stop work. 

Step 3: Compare what you're going to need with what you're likely to get

If there’s a difference between the 2 figures, and you don't think you'll be able to pay for the retirement  you want, then you may need to make some changes.

A notepad with Retirement Goals written on the front cover, alongside pictures of a beach umbrella, house keys, cutlery and a car.

This could include: 

  • adjusting your lifestyle
  • changing your retirement date or
  • saving more (as detailed below)

You can read more about the cost of retirement and how to work out if your savings add up in the defined benefit and IWDC areas of this website.

Saving more towards your target with AVCs

If you want to save more for retirement, you may be able to ‘top-up’ your pension by paying Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVCs).

AVCs are extra contributions you pay into the Scheme, on top of the regular contributions you and your employer pay in. 

The money you pay into AVCs is invested in a range of funds with the aim of increasing your retirement income. You can manage the funds yourself, or have them managed for you.

A blue lightbulb

Why paying into AVCs might be a good idea:

  • you can pay in as little as £2 per week
  • you can stop these at any time to suit your circumstances
  • you can make one-off payments if you wish 
  • you get tax relief on the money you put in (up to the Annual Allowance)
  • if you earn extra money, like overtime and bonuses, that are not part of your pensionable pay, this money can be used to boost your potential retirement savings
  • it's a great way to save a bit more towards your future
  • if you're thinking about taking your benefits early (if you are eligible), AVCs could help top up your pension beforehand 


If you are a defined benefit member, the main AVC arrangement is called BRASS. For more information about BRASS, including how to join and the fund choices available, visit the saving more with BRASS page

There is a limit on the amount you can contribute to BRASS in a Scheme year. If you exceed that limit, you could save more with AVC Extra. For more information, check the saving more with AVC Extra page. 

If you're an IWDC member, you can save more by paying more contributions. For more information, read the saving more page for IWDC members

If you need help and advice with your financial decision making, visit the guidance and advice page.

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