Ready for Retirement

The reason behind so many members, currently around 25,000, paying into the NESPF is to give ourselves a better standard of living when retirement comes around. However, it can be easy to fall into a trap of paying monthly contributions towards your pension pot without really putting much thought into what this means for our future.

One of the main tips we recommend to members is to check in with your pension, at least on an annual basis. With our My Pension portal, you can view the value of your pension and watch it grow. The various projectors will also allow you to perform calculations to see what your future pension can look like under different scenarios. This ensures you know what to expect in the future and allows you to forecast what life might be like with the estimated income from your pension.

The Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) has retirement all mapped out. You can retire and take your pension at any time after age 55. If you choose to take your pension before your Normal Pension Age (NPA), this is classed as early retirement and your pension will be reduced for early payment. If you take your pension after your NPA, this is classed as late retirement and your pension will be increased as it is being paid late. In these circumstances you do not need your employer's permission to retire, you simply need to notify them and agree a retirement date.

NPA is simply the age you can retire and receive your pension benefits in full, unreduced. NPA differs depending on when you were paying into the scheme. NPA is linked to your State Pension Age. You can find out more here.

There are several different retirement packages available depending on the age and circumstances under which you wish to retire. You can choose to completely retire early or decide to ease into retirement with flexible retirement. If circumstances are out with your control, ill health and redundancy retirements are also an option.

With flexible retirement, from age 55 and with your employer's permission, you can reduce your hours or pay grade and begin to draw some or all your pension benefits. Each employer has their own policy on flexible retirement so you will need to contact them first for further information.

With ill health retirement, you can retire on ill health at any age provided you have been a member of the pension scheme for at least 2 years and your employer, based on the opinion of an independent occupational health advisor is satisfied you are permanently incapable of doing your job.

Meanwhile with redundancy and efficiency retirement, if you are 55 and over, and you lose your job on grounds of redundancy or business efficiency you pension will be paid immediately. For those who have been in the scheme continually since 5 April 2006, your pension can be paid from age 50 in these circumstances.

For many of us, there might still be plenty of time to think about retirement and what these options could offer us. For others, retirement might be approaching soon, and it could be time to start making decisions. Our website goes into a lot more detail on the ins and outs of retirement and what they could mean for you, to see more click here.

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