Planning for retirement

Advice on when to retire, how to fund your retirement, State Pension, workplace and personal pensions, tax relief, savings and investments, working past State Pension age and benefit entitlement.

Retirement age

There is no fixed retirement age for workers in Northern Ireland. People retire at different ages. In the majority of cases, an employer cannot force you to retire from your job because of your age.

If an employee chooses to work longer they can’t be discriminated against. However, some employers can set an age that employees must retire at if they can clearly justify it.

Find out more about age discrimination on the following nidirect page:

State Pension age

State Pension age is the earliest date when you can claim your State Pension. You don't have to retire or claim your pension when you reach State Pension age. The State Pension age is increasing. To find out your state pension age, go to the following nidirect page.

Working past State Pension age

You might decide that you don’t want to stop working when you reach State Pension age. If you do, you’ll no longer have to pay National Insurance. The law protects you against discrimination on the basis of age. This includes if you’re over State Pension age and want to stay in your job or get a new one.

Early retirement

If you are considering stopping work before your State Pension age, or taking early retirement, this may affect your State Pension. 

The amount of State Pension you get depends on how many qualifying years of National Insurance contributions you have over your working life. Retiring early may also affect your personal or company pension.

The rules for personal and company pensions vary, depending on who provides them. You will need to check your personal or company pension to see how early retirement might affect your situation.

How to fund your retirement

When deciding when to retire the most important thing to consider is making sure you have enough money to live comfortably. To help you plan your income in the future you should check your:

  • State Pension
  • personal or workplace pensions
  • savings and investments

For information on sources of income, how to find out how much you will receive and how to increase your income in retirement, visit the following page:

Find out how you can check to see how much State Pension, personal pension and workplace pension you'll receive on retirement at the following nidirect pages:

Benefits in retirement

You may be able to get certain benefits and financial support in addition to your State Pension. Some benefits are age-related, others depend on your income. Find out more at the following nidirect pages.

Notifying HMRC

Your employer and any pension provider will normally tell HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) when you retire. To prevent a delay that might result in an overpayment or underpayment of tax, you should also tell them.

If you're self-employed and about to retire, you must always contact HMRC.

What you need to tell HMRC and why

HMRC need to know about your income when you retire or reach State Pension age so that they can make sure you:

  • receive the right tax-free allowances
  • pay the right amount of tax
  • stop paying National Insurance contributions

If you're a woman you'll also need to tell HMRC what your income is when you're 65.

Help and advice

You can take out as many pensions as you wish. Each scheme will have its own administration charges. It may be worth seeking advice from an independent adviser before taking out more than one scheme.

Can I pay as much as I want into my pensions?

You can save as much as you like into different registered pension schemes and get tax relief on contributions of up to 100 per cent of your earnings (salary and other earned income) each year, provided you paid the contribution before age 75.

However, the amount you save each year towards a pension where you benefit from tax relief is subject to an 'annual allowance'. In the tax year 2017-2018 the annual allowance is £40,000.

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