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Income Drawdown

Have the flexibility to withdraw money as and when you need it

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So what is income drawdown?

Income or pension drawdown gives you the freedom to keep your money invested

Let's explain...

Income drawdown, also known as a pension drawdown or investment drawdown, gives you the flexibility to withdraw money from your pension whilst keeping the rest invested. Its aim is to help your pension continue to grow throughout your retirement.

Pension drawdown suits people who are prepared to take some investment risk in return for a potentially higher income or people who want the flexibility to vary their income and dip into their savings from time to time.


With a pension drawdown, you can help your income stretch further

Enjoy flexible income

When it comes to how much you take out, you’re always in control. Instead of offering a fixed payment every month, you choose what you want and when you want it. That means you can partner it with your savings, annuity or other investments. You have the freedom to decide.

Access your tax-free cash

When you’re able to start claiming your pension, you’re entitled to up to 25% tax-free cash. Once you’ve transferred your pension into a drawdown, you’ll be able to access this amount.

It's your choice what you do with it. Some pop it straight into savings or an annuity, whereas others choose to spend it. If you’re ever unsure, you can always seek retirement advice that can support you.

Investment options available

An income drawdown lets you invest some of your pension too. All you have to do is tell us, or your provider, what you’d like your money to do for you within five years, and it will be linked to a suitable investment.

There are other options for you too that help make the most out of your retirement fund. You can simply choose to leave your money invested in a high-risk pension whilst living off other savings or you can also invest some of your pension into an annuity to give you a regular income as well.

Transfer an existing drawdown

You may already have a drawdown in place, but, if you haven’t accessed any of your pension, that doesn’t mean you’re stuck with it. If there’s a better investment opportunity on the market, you can transfer your existing drawdown across to a provider that meets your needs. The only requirement is that you haven’t touched your pension or accessed your tax-free allowance.

Before you do this though, it’s worth understanding that your capital is at risk. Therefore, it’s always best to seek retirement advice that can help you understand the risks and whether it’s a good move for your money.


Receive your pension when you need it most, and leave it invested when you don’t

Here’s how income drawdown works

1. Get access to your tax-free allowance

When you start claiming your pension, you’re entitled to receive up to 25% of it tax-free. It will come as a lump sum, but it’s up to you if you’d like it all in one or spread out.

As you withdraw some or all of your tax-free allowance, a set amount will be transferred to your pension drawdown where any further withdrawals are considered taxable.

2. Choose how you receive your cash

It’s your choice what you do in your retirement, but you’ll want to make sure you have enough money to support you. Of course, with a pension drawdown, you can either take what you need, when you need it, or you can set up regular withdrawals. So, if you have a big holiday planned, you can take a lump from your pension. Or, if it’s there to pay your bills, you have the freedom to do so.

3. Review and monitor your balance

Just like your current and savings accounts, it’s important you keep an eye on what’s remaining and how your pension is performing. Remember, as it’s an investment, your amount can go up or down. So, you’ll want to review your investment options regularly to ensure you’re happy with the risk involved.


We know you may still have some unanswered questions, so here’s what you need to know

Learn more about income drawdown

What can you get from your pension fund?

The total amount you can get depends on various factors, like how much you’ve saved, the type of risk you choose for your pension and whether you choose to invest all or parts of it.

Nonetheless, you’ll still be able to receive up to 25% of your pension tax-free, allowing you to put it away in savings, invest it in an annuity or spend it as you wish. 

With a higher-risk pension, you may find you get more from it than you originally placed in. However, your total amount could also drop in line with investment opportunities. 

How much does it cost?

With a pension drawdown, you’ll pay a service charge to your provider which will come out of your pension pot. You might also be charged for fund management. These costs depend on who your provider is, the rates they charge for service and how the markets are performing.

It's also worth noting that after you’ve claimed your tax-free allowance, any other withdrawals you make will be classed as taxable income, so you’ll also need to account for this.

Who can help you understand the risks?

With investments like this, it’s easy to get lost in the jargon. That’s why we recommend seeking retirement advice. Most offer an initial consultation that’s free to help understand your needs. If you choose to take their advice, they’ll be able to help you navigate your pension which you will most likely be required to pay a fee.

Your money is at risk with a pension drawdown, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. With specialist advice, you can understand these risks in more detail and decide whether a pension drawdown is right for you.

Can you change your mind?

A pension drawdown isn’t right for everyone, that’s why you have the flexibility to change your mind. If you do, you can get retirement advice to aid you in choosing a different retirement product, like an annuity.


Let’s weigh-up income drawdown

You can keep your pension invested or take it all out at once. As income drawdown has higher risks, you’ll want to do your research. Here's what you need to know.

Advantages of investment drawdown

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  • The income you take can vary; you can choose to receive this regularly, make occasional withdrawals or take nothing at all. It’s entirely up to you.
  • Any funds invested when you die can be passed on to your partner or spouse (or any other beneficiary).
  • Normally, no income tax applies to your beneficiaries if you die before the age of 75.

Disadvantages of investment drawdown

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  • Your income isn't guaranteed.
  • You could run out of money.
  • Remember, there's the potential for your investment to go down as well as up, so your money could be worth less in the future.
  • Income and investment options need to be reviewed on a regular basis to make sure they still meet your needs.


If you think income drawdown might work for you, you’ll need to consider these factors

  • If you’ve spoken with financial adviser and they’ve suggested it as an option.
  • If you’re aged 55 or older with a defined contribution pension, and you haven’t accessed your tax-free allowance.
  • If you want control over how you receive your pension.
  • If you’re happy to review your investments on a regular basis and make adjustments when they’re needed.
  • If you understand the risks and are happy to accept them.


Your pension drawdown isn’t lost when you pass away

If you pass away before you’ve used the funds in your pension drawdown, it will be given to your chosen beneficiary. This could be your spouse, partner, children, other family members or friends. They’ll receive whatever amount is left on your pension.

Your beneficiaries may have to pay tax on the amount they receive, but this all depends on the age you pass away. If you’re under the age of 75, any drawdown benefits will be handed over to your beneficiaries as a tax-free lump sum. Otherwise, if you pass away aged 75 or older, your beneficiaries will pay tax.


Income drawdown isn’t your only option

There are a number of options to consider with a drawdown arrangement from your pension.

  • Income - You can take a regular income, make occasional withdrawals or you can take nothing at all. It's entirely up to you.
  • Savings - You’re not restricted to just one form of income. It’s absolutely okay to top up your retirement fund using savings. Simply take them as you need or invest them,
  • Annuities - You can use some or all of your money to buy an annuity at a later stage. It can make sense to consider buying an annuity as you get older.
  • Stocks and shares - If you’re confident with the risks and comfortable with investing your money, you can look into stocks and shares. As your money is at risk, you should liaise with a financial adviser before you part with your cash.

Advice or guidance

What's the difference between advice and guidance

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Advice is given by professional advisers such as IFAs, financial planners, wealth managers and pension specialists. Advice is regulated by the FCA, protecting you from negligent advice and will give you tailored recommendations for your individual circumstances and ensure that the best option or combination of options for your circumstances is found, even if this goes against what you originally thought to be the best decision for you. Taking advice usually costs money.

Speak to one of our friendly advisers today and see how we can help you find the best income for your pension. We can:

  • Give advice on all types of pensions.
  • Maximise your pension income.
  • Help you make the best possible use of your hard-earned savings.

Guidance gives a general overview of the options available on the market for free by highly trained specialists. Guidance services won't tell you what to do with your money and you will need to research the market to find the right products and providers to suit your needs and preferences. There's no protection available, but taking guidance is a good place to start to help you understand the various choices available.

For guidance on your defined contribution pension, we recommend visiting Pension Wise, a free government service from MoneyHelper, offers impartial guidance on your pension options.

To book an appointment call 0800 138 3944, 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday, visit their website, or email at [email protected]

Pension Wise won't recommend any products or tell you what to do with your money.

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Keep an eye out for suspicious requests and pension scams

At LV=, we only ever want you to feel safe and secure with your pension and retirement choices. So, here’s what you need to know

  • Watch out for online scams promising free pension and investment reviews. You could be unknowingly giving criminals access to your pension information.
  • They may suggest ways to access your pension or investments early, but this is only true in rare cases for specific products.
  • Scammers might ask you to transfer your pension as part of an investment scam. If you’re unsure what you should do, speak to someone you trust.
  • Legitimate companies are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), whilst scams usually operate outside these regulations, leaving you with no compensation if you fall victim to one.
  • If you get an unexpected call claiming to be from us or another provider, don't share any information. Hang up and contact us or the alleged provider using a verified number to confirm the request's legitimacy. Your financial safety is on the line.
  • LV= can help you access your pension savings safely and securely giving you peace of mind when the time comes to retire. Find out more information and useful tips here on how to protect yourself from scammers.