We're changing to MoneyHelper

The Pensions Advisory Service will soon become MoneyHelper, the easy way to get free help for your money and pensions.

Call: 0800 011 3797

Call: 0800 011 3797


Choosing a pension yourself

If you want to start saving in a pension, or save more than your current scheme allows, you can start a new pension scheme yourself.

How can I choose a pension?

If you’re not currently a member of a pension scheme, you may want to set one up yourself. Before doing so, and if you’re an employee, please check whether your employer will be automatically enrolling you into their workplace pension scheme. Automatic enrolment was completed by October 2018, so your employer must automatically enrol their eligible employees.

You can still start your own pension if you are, or will become, a member of a workplace pension scheme. Since 2006, there has been no restriction on the number of different pension schemes that you can belong to, although there are limits on the total amounts that can be contributed across all schemes each year, if you’re to receive tax relief on your contributions.

If you want to set up your own pension scheme, you have a number of choices, including: a personal pension, self-invested personal pension (SIPP) or stakeholder pension.

These are offered by insurance companies, banks, building societies and other pension providers, including online pension providers. 

What to look for

Different pension schemes have different terms and conditions, although some, such as stakeholder pensions, have to meet certain minimum standards.

The things we think you need to think about when choosing your pension and provider include:

  • Is there a minimum or maximum level of contribution under the plan?
  • Will you have the option to stop and start your contributions, without penalty?
  • Can you pay in lump sums as well as regular contributions?
  • Is there clear information about where you can invest your contributions?
  • Does the scheme offer the right range of investments for you?
  • What are the charges?
  • What help and support does the provider offer to help you plan for your retirement and, monitor your investment options, including online access?

You may also find that you need more help with planning for your retirement or choosing your investment options. A financial adviser can be helpful here. See choosing a financial adviser for more information.

We aren't authorised to give specific financial advice and so can't recommend a type of pension or a pension provider to you. What we can do is talk you through your options and help you understand all the things we think you might want to consider.


Frequently asked...

Where can I find out more?

If you need more information, please contact us. A pension specialist from our team will be happy to help with whatever pensions-related question you have. Our help is always free.

We never contact our customers out of the blue
We're all ears How do you feel about the help you just received?

We would really appreciate a few minutes of your time.
Your feedback helps us create a better experience for you.