10 ways to get more from your pension

How prepared are you?

Use the checklist below to help you prepare for the day you stop work.

1. Start contributing to your pension early

Why? When it comes to saving, you might be tempted to wait for the perfect time to start. But did you know that the earlier you start saving, the bigger difference you can make to your retirement income and your lifestyle when you stop work.

To see how much you could be missing out on at retirement, you can put your own details into Unbiased’s Cost of delay calculator.

If you want to increase your contributions, please contact the Pensions Department.

2. Check your investments suit your needs

Why? There’s a range of different investment options available in the Scheme, and what suits you will depend on a number of different factors, including your attitude to risk and how close you are to retirement. This means that it’s important to consider what approach is best for you.

You can see the options available to you and, if you wish, change your where your savings are invested by logging into Aegon Retirement Choices (ARC) .

3. Find out how much income you’ll have in retirement

Why? We all want the financial freedom to have the lifestyle we want, cover any unexpected expenses and care for our loved ones. But will your expected retirement income give you this freedom? Wherever you are in the road to retirement, you can understand what your financial future might look like by checking out the sources of income you’ll have in retirement and the income you might receive from each.

4. Think about how much retirement will cost

Why? To get the retirement you want, you need to know how much it will cost and if your projected retirement income will cover it. If you have an idea of how you would like to spend your time and what your living arrangements will be, then you can work out how much your retirement might cost and start to think about your monthly budget.

You could think about increasing your contributions, changing your target retirement age or looking at your investment options. You may also want to consider taking independent financial advice. You can find an authorised Independent Financial Adviser in your area at Unbiased.

5. Know the different ways you can take your pension benefits

Why? Nowadays, you have much more choice when it comes to taking your pension benefits. Make sure that you’re aware of the different options available so that you can take your benefits in the best way for you.

What are my options and how can I choose?

There are three main ways you can take your benefits:

Take all, or part of them, as a cash lump sum. The first 25% of this will be tax free and the rest will be subject to income tax.

Take your benefits as flexible income, or drawdown. Your benefits will remain invested, but you can withdraw cash from them at your convenience. You can take 25% of your benefits as tax-free cash and use the rest of your benefits as flexible income.

Use your benefits to buy an annuity. This is a secure income for life that you will receive each year until your death. You can take 25% of your benefits as tax free cash and use the rest of your benefits to buy an annuity.

You can also mix and match these benefits; perfect if you can’t decide between these options!

If you want to know more about the different ways you can take your benefits, use the Retiready income planner.

6. Consider bringing together your different pensions

Why? We know that managing your pension might not on the top of your to-do list. So, if you have benefits in other pension schemes, you might want to consider consolidating them. Find out more about bringing your pensions together.

7. Complete, or update, your Nomination form

Why? Did you know that your loved ones could be entitled to benefits from the Scheme in the event of your death? The Nomination form lets the Trustees know who you would like to receive your benefits in the event of your death. It’s important to keep your Nomination form up to date if your circumstances or wishes have changed so that any benefits can be paid out quickly. You can find a Nomination form under Newsletters & Documents.

8. Keep your contact details up to date

Why? It’s estimated that there’s currently £400 million of unclaimed pension pots in the UK, so it’s important to make sure we have your current address. It’s easy to forget to contact your pension schemes, old and new, when you move house, but if you don’t they won’t be able to keep in touch with you and you may struggle to find all the income you’re entitled to when you retire.

Update your details with the Scheme

To change your address, please write to:

Vaillant Group Pension Scheme
HR Department
Nottingham Road,
DE56 1JT

Please include your:

  • Full name
  • Date of birth
  • National Insurance number
  • Member reference number (if known)
  • New address
  • Old address (the address we have on file for you.)

9. Find any lost pensions

Why? If you think that you might have already lost contact with a previous pension scheme, you may be at risk of missing out on a pension you’re entitled to. Learn more about how to trace any lost pensions.

10. Get help and guidance

Why?A lot of people don’t know where to start with their pension benefits. So, if you’re feel like this, you definitely aren’t alone. And when it comes to looking after your finances, it’s important to make the right decisions. Consider finding an Independent Financial Adviser or using information available online to get more confidence about your financial future.

Where can I find help?

Find an authorised Independent Financial Adviser in your area at Unbiased.

You can get help from Retiready either through the webchat service, via email or by calling 03456 100 072.

If you’re aged 50 or over, you can also use Pension Wise for free and impartial government guidance.

Or you could use Aegon Assist – a free service provided by the Scheme administrator to help members understand their options when they take their benefits.