What if I want a different retirement outcome?
Your lifestyle fund currently targets one of three retirement outcomes - you can stay invested and take an income from your pension pot, or you can buy an annuity (guaranteed income) or you can cash in your whole pension pot. You have a choice.
If you’re not sure which option’s right for you, go to ‘Your retirement planner’(Opens new window) for some help deciding.
But if you decide to change how you want to take your benefits, you’ll probably need to review your fund at the same time.
You can choose from a range of alternative funds, including lifestyle funds that target a flexible outcome, those that target an annuity and those designed for people who want to take their benefits as a cash lump sum. You don’t have to have a lifestyle fund at all if you don’t want to. You’ll need to log in to your account(Opens new window)(Opens new window)(Opens new window)(Opens new window) to find out which funds are available with your current pension plan.
If you’re in a lifestyle fund that is currently targeting an outcome, for example annuity purchase, that you don’t want, you’ll need to log into your account(Opens new window)(Opens new window)(Opens new window)(Opens new window) and switch funds.
Why would I have to switch funds?
Because, when you get close to retirement (usually within seven years), your fund will automatically start moving into investments better suited to the outcome it’s targeting. So, for instance, a lifestyle fund that is targeting an annuity outcome will move into long gilts and cash as you get close to retirement.
Long gilts are UK government bonds with maturity dates of 15 years or longer. They're essentially a loan to the UK government in exchange for interest. At the end of the loan period, investors get back the original loan amount. They're considered relatively safe simply because they're backed by the government, but because they're traded in the markets they can still go up and down in value.
While long gilts are a good guard against changes in annuity rates just before you retire, they may not be the best option if you’re intending to stay invested for 10, 20 or even 30 years in retirement.
If your lifestyle fund is targeting a flexible outcome, your fund will gradually move into a lower risk mix of investments as you get closer to retirement. At retirement, you'll remain invested in the markets which means your pension pot is still exposed to the ups and downs typically experienced by investments. You may prefer the security of a guaranteed income, in which case you may be more comfortable in a lifestyle fund that is targeting annuity purchase.
What is an annuity?
An annuity, often just referred to as a pension, is a guaranteed yearly income for life. At retirement, you can buy an annuity with your pension savings.
The size of annuity you get depends on:
- The size of pension pot you’ve built up
- The annuity rates on offer – you should shop around for the best ones
- Any extra features you want, like a spouse’s annuity or any annual increases in line with inflation
- Your health – if you’re in poor health you may be able to buy a bigger annuity
Why buy an annuity?
Once you’ve bought an annuity, you have the security of knowing that your money won’t run out in retirement.
What’s the catch?
Annuity rates have been poor in recent years and you may not be able to secure enough income to live on. You lose control of your savings and may not be able to pass them on to your family.
Choosing an alternative fund
Your choice of funds depends on your current pension plan. You may not be able to choose another lifestyle fund*. To find out about your fund options, please log in to your account or find the fund list that applies to your pension plan on our Fund prices and performance pages.(Opens new window)(Opens new window)
Your choice of fund is important so you may want to ask your financial adviser for help choosing alternatives. If you don’t have an adviser, you can find one near you at unbiased.co.uk(Opens new window)(Opens new window)(Opens new window)(Opens new window). There may be a charge for financial advice.
Although we can’t give you advice, we can help you understand your options, including:
- Our full range of lifestyle funds including flexible target and cash target funds.
- Your Retirement Planner tool to help you make the most of Pensions Freedoms.
*Important information for Aegon One Retirement and Retiready customers.
If you decide to switch out of your current lifestyle fund, you won't be able to choose another lifestyle fund. This means that your investments won't change automatically as you approach retirement.
The value of investments can fall as well as rise meaning the final value of your pension plan may be less than the amount invested.
Your choice of investment fund can have a big effect on your pension benefits. If you're in any doubt about which fund's right for you, you should speak to a professional financial adviser. If you don't already have one, you can find one near you at unbiased.co.uk(Opens new window)(Opens new window)(Opens new window)(Opens new window).
Different tax rules and risks apply depending on the retirement outcome you choose - annuity, flexible income drawdown or cash. Your Retirement Planner(Opens new window)(Opens new window)(Opens new window)(Opens new window)(Opens new window) can help explain these.