Pay More to get More

Since the introduction of auto enrolment in 2012, more of us are now paying into a workplace pension than ever before. This is good news as it means that people now have a better chance of being financially ready for retirement when the time comes.

In the pensions industry there is a general consensus that the earlier you start to save into your pension, the better. Saving as early as you can in your working life means your pension pot will have longer to grow. For example, beginning to save in your twenties rather than forties or fifties could mean you already have decades worth of savings when you begin to consider retiring and could alleviate a lot of pressure.

Take Control of your Contributions

Exactly how much you have to enjoy in retirement will depend not only on when you start saving but how much you pay in.
Typically how much you pay in depends on your earnings. When you join the pension fund, and every April after, your employer will decide your contribution rate by comparing your annual pay with the scheme’s contribution rates. These rates are set by the Government and are reviewed annually. You can find out your contribution rate by using the calculator on our website.

But you don’t just have to stick with the contribution rate you are given. Just like you have the option to pay less into your pension, you are also able to pay more if you wish to top it up. Paying in more will allow you to enjoy a bigger pension in the future.

There are two flexible ways to increase your pension:

  • Additional Pension Contributions (APCs)
  • Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVCs)


APCs are just extra contributions that increase your pension. APCs are taken off your pay, along with your normal contributions and go directly to your NESPF pension account where they remain, increasing with the cost of living until you take your pension. The extra pension you have purchased with your APCs will be paid at the same time as your main pension benefits. For more information on APCs visit here.


AVCs are extra pension contributions that are invested separately in funds managed by our AVC provider Prudential. AVCs are taken off your pay, just like normal contributions and are transferred to your Prudential account. Here your contributions and returns on investments will remain until you retire or transfer them to another provider. You can find out more about AVCs here.

If you decide to increase your pension payments, your own goals and circumstances will dictate which option of doing so is best for you. The NESPF cannot offer tailored financial advice and unfortunately cannot tell you which is the best option for you. As such you should consider taking advice from an independent financial advisor.

My Pension+

Deciding to increase your pension is entirely your own choice. Knowing how much you should be contributing towards your pension may feel confusing and overwhelming, remember you can check in on your pension value at any time with our My Pension+ portal. You can also use our Retirement Planner on My Pension+ to figure out how much pension you’ll need to have the retirement you want.

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