It might be tempting to opt out of the pension scheme to save money, particularly if retirement is still a fleeting notion in the distant future. If this is something that has been on your mind, rather than opting out completely, you could reduce your monthly pension payments with the 50/50 option.
Paying Less but Still Paying In
50/50 allows you to pay half the contributions and build up half the pension. This gives you the best of both worlds – you can continue saving for your future whilst also getting some extra take home pay.
Being in 50/50 also doesn't affect the value of any ill health or death in service cover so you would receive exactly the same as you would if you were paying full contributions.
50/50 is designed to be a short term option. As you are only paying half the contributions, you will only build up half the pension. In the long run, this means your pension will be lower and it could impact your retirement finances. To avoid this, you’ll automatically be switched back to paying full contribution rates around every 3 years. You’ll be told when this is happening and will have the option to continue with 50/50 if you wish.
To find out more about 50/50 visit Reducing Your Contributions.
Benefits of the Scheme
Before making any decisions about your contributions, it is important to consider the benefits of being in the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS). With the State Pension currently only offering £883.35 per month when you reach State Pension Age, saving into a workplace pension can be a boost to your retirement income. The LGPS offers benefits that many other pension schemes may not:
- A secure pension underwritten by Government, making it guaranteed by law – so you don’t have to worry about poor investments or economic downturns affecting your pension
- Your employer pays in too, covering around 2/3rds of the cost of your pension
- You will receive tax relief as your pay is taxed after your contributions have been deducted
- Security for your loved ones with pensions available for a spouse or partner, and any eligible children in the event of your death
- An additional tax-free lump sum of 3 x salary should you die in service
- Options to pay more or less – you can boost your pension by paying more or if you need to, you can reduce your contributions
- Option to convert some of your pension for a tax-free cash lump sum when you retire
- A pension which keeps up with the cost of living, so as prices rise, so too does your pension
- Retirement is available from age 55
- Flexible, ill health and redundancy & efficiency retirements are available too
Keep an Eye on your Pension Value
It can be helpful to keep an eye on how your pension is growing. You can do this with our My Pension+ portal. Our secure, online portal can give you a useful insight into the value of your pension and what this means for your retirement, helping you make any important decisions which might crop up.