Pension drawdown

It’s hard to know what you’ll be doing in the future, so picking a retirement income to last a decade or two (and, hopefully, even longer) isn’t easy. Pension drawdown gives you the flexibility to take whatever income you want – and change it when you need to.

Drawdown at a glance

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Things to consider with pension drawdown

Keeping your income sustainable

When you are planning your retirement and thinking about drawdown, you need to consider how you will make your pension last. We have tools which can help guide you including our retirement planning calculators. After all, people are living longer and you could spend 20 years or more in retirement.

There are a number of factors that will influence how long your money will last:

  • the amount you have in your pension and other investments at retirement
  • the amount you take out of your pension
  • the way you invest your money

You can aim to provide an income, to grow the capital in your pension, or for a combination of the two.

One of the big decisions about drawdown income is how you produce it. There are three main options:

Natural income only

You can take the dividends that are paid to the fund, instead of cashing in units or shares. There’s more chance of your money lasting, but you won’t know exactly how much you’ll get from month to month.

Capital withdrawals only

You can put your money in investments that aim to deliver capital growth instead of income, and then withdraw the growth amount as income.

Capital withdrawals plus natural income

You can make withdrawals that include the natural income from your investments plus some of your pension pot to get the income you need.

Whichever method you use to take an income, it’s important you plan carefully so you don’t run out of money. You need to think about the different types of fund choices that will support the way you drawdown your pension.

Flexibility to manoeuvre through the rough waters

Learn how Fidelity customer Oliver is taking full advantage of his pension freedoms

Drawdown with the Fidelity SIPP

If you want to go into drawdown then you can choose to do it with the Fidelity SIPP (Self-Invested Personal Pension).

  • You can take up to a quarter (25%) as a tax-free lump sum straight away or in stages.
  • You can choose how much to take and how often.
  • You can choose where to invest your pot.
  • Our low pricing has no hidden charges or fees, so you know exactly what you pay for and when you pay it.

If your pension is not already in the Fidelity SIPP, you will need to transfer it before you access income drawdown.

For more drawdown support download our pension drawdown guide.

The value of investments can go down as well as up so you may not get back what you invest. Eligibility to invest in a SIPP or Junior SIPP depends on personal circumstances and all tax rules may change in the future. You cannot normally access money in a SIPP until age 55.

Get some expert help

There are big decisions to make when you opt for drawdown, which is why we find many investors – even some of the most experienced ones – like to get some help.

Decisions about drawdown may seem complicated, but it’s important to get them right as they will affect your future income.

Fidelity's retirement service is able to provide both guidance and advice on your retirement options. The service we offer is based purely on helping you find the most appropriate solution for your personal circumstances.

Pension Drawdown FAQ's

What is pension drawdown?

Drawdown allows you to leave your money in your pension pot and take income or lump sums from it as and when you want. 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 (25%) of your pension pot can usually be taken tax-free and any other withdrawals will be taxed as earnings whether you take them as income or as lump sums. The more money you take out each time, the less money is left to provide future income. You may need to move into a new pension plan to do this. It’s worth keeping in mind that you do not need to take an income.

Can I take my pension as a lump sum?

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 (25%) of it is tax-free and the rest will be taxed as earnings. The more money you take out each time the less money is left to provide future income. You may need to move into a new pension plan to do this.

How much can I take from my pension?

You can leave your money in your pension pot and withdraw as much or as little as you want as and when you need, until your money runs out or you choose another option. The more money you take out each time the less money is left to provide future income.

When can I access my pension?

Money cannot normally be withdrawn from a pension until the age of 55. However, once you reach 55, you’ll usually be able to start taking an income from your pension.

Can I continue with my pension contributions after drawdown?

You may be able to continue saving into your pension pot and your employer can also contribute too.

However, once you have taken taxable money out of your pension pot using pension freedoms (i.e. more than the tax-free part), your annual allowance may be reduced subject to the Money Purchase Annual Allowance (MPAA). You may also face restrictions on carrying forward unused allowances from previous years.

Pension wise logo

The Government offers a free and impartial guidance service to help you understand your options at retirement. This is available via the web, telephone or face-to-face through government approved organisations, such as The Pensions Advisory Service and the Citizens Advice Bureau. You can find out more by going to pensionwise.gov.uk or by calling Pension Wise on 0800 138 3944.

The value of investments and the income from them can go down as well as up so you may get back less than you invest. This information is not a personal recommendation for any particular product, service or course of action. Pension and retirement planning can be complex, so if you are unsure about the suitability of a pension investment, retirement service or any action you need to take, please contact Fidelity’s Retirement Service on 0800 368 6882 or refer to an authorised financial adviser.