You can delay taking money from your pension pot to allow you to consider your options. Reaching age 55, or the age you agreed with your pension provider to retire, is not a deadline to act. Delaying taking your money may give your pension pot a chance to grow, but it could go down in value too.

Also, if your pension comes with some form of guarantee you should think once, twice and three times before taking your pension. Make sure you get some trustworthy retirement advice in helping you make your final decision. We can help.

You can take the whole amount as a single lump sum, but beware! Although a quarter of your pension pot can usually be taken tax-free, the rest will be taxed. This may affect the amount of tax you pay on any other income you receive.

Also, although you may receive a lot of cash in one go, you’ll need to think carefully about where your income will come from for the rest of your retirement. Don’t necessarily rely on the State to give you a comfortable retirement.

You could opt for Flexi-Access Drawdown. Then you can leave your money in your pension pot and take an income from it. Any money left in your pension pot remains invested, which may give your pension pot a chance to grow, but it could go down in value too. A quarter of your pension pot can usually be taken tax-free, and any other withdrawals will be taxed whether you take them as income or as cash lump sums. You may need to move into a new pension plan to do this. You do not need to take an income.

Some pension providers can automatically move your pension into Flexi-Access Drawdown. For others you may need to switch to another pension provider.

If you opt for Flexi-Access Drawdown, you can leave your money in your pension pot and take lump sums from it as and when you need, until your money runs out or you choose another option. You can decide when and how much to take out. Any money left in your pension pot remains invested, which may give your pension pot a chance to grow, but it could go down in value too. Each time you take a lump sum, normally a quarter of it is tax-free and the rest will be taxed. You may need to move into a new pension plan to do this.

You can also choose to take your pension using a combination of some or all of the options over time or over your total pot. If you have more than one pot, you can choose different options for each pot.

Some pension providers can offer you an option that combines a guaranteed income for life with a flexible income.

A lifelong, regular income (also known as an annuity) provides you with a guarantee that the income will last as long as you live. Annuity rates are not that great right now and once you’ve bought one, you won’t receive any further investment growth. But they’re a good option if all you want is a guaranteed income and the older you are, the higher the income.
A quarter of your pension pot can usually still be taken tax-free, and any other payments will be taxed. If you’re in poor health, you may receive an enhanced income.

thumbnail of guide to pension drawdown

Send me the Guide to Pension Drawdown

Fill out the form below and we will email you a copy.

Important Information

  • The pension payable and any tax-free cash sum will depend on investment returns achieved, annuity rates and interest rates at the time, charges and the effect of taxation and legislation, and they may be higher or lower than the existing benefits.
  • If you are not in good health at the time of a transfer and should die within the two years following the transfer, it is possible that some or all of the death benefits from this plan could be included in your estate for Inheritance tax purposes.
  • You should understand that you would lose access to the capital invested in your pension until you decide to draw the benefits. Under current HM Revenue & Customs’ practice, it is not normally possible to access the fund(s) prior to the age of 55 (expected to increase to age 57 from 2028 with further increases as the state pension age goes up).
  • Any employer contribution to your plan is dependent upon the continued solvency of your employer.
  • If your employment status changes, it is important that your retirement planning is reviewed.
  • Depending how it is taken, your pension income may also depend on interest and annuity rates at the time you retire.

If you are keen to know more – why not request a call back for a no obligation consultation.

Request a call back


We recently concluded a property purchase and that is why we encashed some funds. In the course of that transaction, we also dealt with other financial bodies and you were the outstanding exception in doing what you promised without fuss and within the timescale promised.

So this is just to say thank you very much for your help. After the sale of another property later this year, we look forward to reinvesting the money with you.”

Paul, London

Even though I shall be retiring soon the prospect of a retirement planning seminar didn’t excite me. I envisaged boring presentations about the complexities of pensions and how to eke out a living on one. I’m very pleased to say I was entirely wrong! Instead Barry delivered an engaging and relevant presentation about draw-down and annuities, income vs expenditure, taxation and much more and all of it interesting and without any technical jargon! Afterwards I feel empowered and more optimistic about moving on to the next phase of my life.

Edwin, London

Ben has been very helpful giving unbiased advice and making valid suggestions, and been a help when I started my business too. He has put me in contact with some other specialists that have been a great help too.

Lance, Hertfordshire

Attention to detail and nothing is ever too much trouble.

David, London

I find GWM to be really objective and am 100% confident that they always have the best interests of my family and I at the centre of any solution. They have the ability to support me across an unusually wide breadth of services including estate planning. I had a sudden family bereavement recently when I needed unbiased support and GWM over-delivered in every way, easing a difficult time for me. Fundamentally I trust GWM and I see this as a long term relationship for my whole family

Lucinda, Hertfordshire

Latest Newsletters

  • smartmoney newsletter

Smart Money March April 2020

Planning for Retirement Will my retirement income be enough to live on comfortably? Welcome to our latest edition. At the time of writing [...]

  • smartmoney jan feb 2020

Smart Money January February 2020

Financial Resolutions What does Wealth look like to you? Welcome to our first edition for 2020. Inside this issue, we feature articles covering [...]

Smart Money November 2019

Cultivate the art of patience Investment Objectives Welcome to our latest edition. Inside this issue, we look at a number of the topical [...]

Smart Money September October 2019

Retirement Resilience Taking the reins and having more control over your pension pot Welcome to the latest issue. At the time of writing, [...]

Smart Money July August 2019

Choppy waters, not full-on gale Wait for the bad weather to pass and stay on course. Welcome to the latest issue. Inside, you’ll [...]

Smart Money May June 2019

Inheritance Tax No longer something that only affects the very wealthy. At the time of writing this issue, the uncertainty around the terms [...]