The different types of pension explained

You may have one or more workplace pension schemes that you’ve built up during the course of your career, and/ or may have built up benefits through personal pensions.

Understanding the pension benefits you already have is key to planning for your retirement.

State Pension

The State Pension is a regular payment from the Government that most people can claim when they reach State Pension age.

Personal pensions

Personal pensions are pensions that you arrange yourself. There are two types of personal pension – stakeholder pensions and self-invested personal pensions (SIPPs).

Personal pensions are a type of defined contribution (money purchase) pension. Some employers offer personal pensions as workplace pensions.

You build up a pension fund by investing your and/ or your employer’s contributions with an insurance company. The money you’ll get from a personal pension usually depends on how much has been paid in and how the fund’s investments have performed.

Workplace pensions

A workplace pension, sometimes known as an ‘occupational’ or ‘company’ pension, is set up by an employer to provide retirement benefits for its employees. The most common types of workplace pension are defined contribution (money purchase) and defined benefit (final salary) schemes.

With a defined contribution scheme, you and/ or your employer make contributions to the pension during your period of membership. The contributions build up, along with investment returns to provide you (the pension scheme member) with a pot of money that you later use to generate a retirement income.

A defined benefit pension pays a retirement income based on salary, length of employment and a calculation made under the rules of the pension scheme.