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Can you rely on the State Pension?

For men born on or after 6 April 1951 and women born on or after 6 April 1953 the State Pension is expected to be £155.65 a week.

That is only likely to provide for your very basic needs and it might need to last you a long time. Men reaching 65 now are expected to live to almost 87 and women to just over 90 (Source: Office for National Statistics).

Saving more makes sense

If you want to enjoy your retirement to its fullest, and for as long as possible, pension savings to top up your State Pension make sense.

All pensions offer tax advantages for savers and once you’ve reached the age of at least 55 you can normally take up to 25% of your savings back out as one or a series of tax free lump sums. The rest is normally taxed as income at your marginal rate(s) of income tax.


Important information

Please remember the value of your investments and any income from them can go down as well as up. The value of your fund may be less than you paid in.

Laws and tax rules may change in the future without notice. The information here is our understanding in April 2016. This information takes no account of your personal circumstances which may have an impact on tax treatment.

Related documents

Visit our dedicated SIPP literature page.
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Saving for a pension through work

This is the probably the most common way for people to start saving for a pension today. There are two main types of workplace pension.

Defined Contribution

  • The type of pension offered by most employers today.

  • What you get back depends on how much you pay in, how investments perform and how you plan to take income from your savings.

  • You’ll have some choices about how to take your pension savings when the time comes.

Defined Benefit

  • What you get back depends on your salary (how much you earn) and how long you work for your employer.

  • You normally won’t get much choice in how you take your pension savings but you will be paid a sustainable income that can be difficult to match through a Defined Contribution scheme.

  • Defined Benefit pensions can be a very valuable benefit. To be offered one when you start a new job is quite rare these days.

Personal Pensions

All personal pensions are the ‘defined contribution’ type and you can have personal pensions as well as workplace pensions.

There are three main varieties of personal pension to choose from.

Stakeholder pensions

Relatively simple pensions that have to meet government set standards covering payments, charges and other terms and conditions.

Individual personal pensions

Usually offered by life companies they tend to offer a fairly limited choice of investments (although more than stakeholder pensions).

Self invested personal pensions (SIPPs)

These are for people who want to choose from a wide range of investments.

Using a SIPP

SIPPs can be useful for people who want to manage their savings more actively. For example as they approach retirement and are thinking about bringing all of their pension savings together into one place.


Important information

Before you choose a SIPP, make sure you understand its aims and risks. Alliance Trust does not give advice. If you are unsure whether our SIPP is suitable for you, of the risks and commitments of investments and or of how much income to take and when, you should seek professional financial advice specific to your particular circumstances.

Using a personal pension

You might use a personal pension to top-up your workplace savings. Or if you are self-employed.

It’s also possible to open a personal pension for a child under the age of 18.

There are two types of SIPP.

Platform SIPP

These are managed online and you can usually chose from a wide range of common investment types like funds, exchange traded funds, investment trusts, stocks and shares. The Alliance Trust Savings SIPP Account is a platform SIPP.

Full SIPP

These offer more complex investments like unquoted shares and commercial property. The charges are often higher than for a platform SIPP and it’s likely you’ll need a financial adviser to use one.

How much could your SIPP be worth?

Use our savings tool to work out how much you might be able to save for retirement.
Use our savings tool


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Alliance Trust Savings Limited is a subsidiary of Alliance Trust PLC and is registered in Scotland No. SC 98767, registered office, PO Box 164, 8 West Marketgait, Dundee DD1 9YP; is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority, firm reference number 116115. Alliance Trust Savings gives no financial or investment advice.