Questions and answers
Starting your pension
Starting your pension
You can save in a Virgin Pension if you are employed, self-employed or not employed. You just need to be:
You don't need to stop working to take your pension.
You can pay in anything from £1 upwards. You get tax relief on everything you put away, up to 100% of your annual earnings (subject to an upper annual allowance of £50,000). If you are able to save more than £50,000 a year, you don’t get tax relief on payments above that, in fact you will be taxed on them. If you have unused annual allowance from previous tax years, you may be able to pay in more than this. Please see below.
If you are a non-taxpayer, you will receive tax relief on contributions up to a maximum of £3,600 (gross) per tax year.
Yes, but any contributions above this will normally be taxed.
You may be able to avoid this by carrying forward any unused annual allowance from previous tax years. There are some rules around this, you can only go back three years, you must have been a registered member of the scheme in the tax year you are carrying forward from and you can only carry forward up to the £50,000 limit in each tax year.
Don't forget this includes any contributions from an employer and increases in value of any other pension savings you may have.
If you’d like to find out more about this, check the latest information on the HM Revenue & Customs website and seek advice from a tax specialist or financial adviser before investing – to ensure you don’t incur tax charges you weren’t expecting.
Yes, their payments would form part of your total contribution limits.
If you'd like your employer to contribute, just let us know and we'll send you a form making it easy for them to do.
Yes, you are allowed to save in as many pensions as you like. There used to be rules concerning company directors and occupational schemes and salary limits, but these have now been removed.
If you already have a pension which you could make further contributions to, you should speak to an Independent Financial Adviser.
Yes, you can transfer other pensions into a Virgin Pension, however, you would need to make sure it was the right thing for you to do. If you would like more information please contact us.
Understanding the risks
Investing in stock market shares is not without its risks. They can rise significantly in value over many years, go into periods of decline, or fall suddenly in value, with no guarantees you will get back the full amount you invest.
The key point to remember is that saving into a pension is a long term investment, and the longer you remain invested in the stock market the better you tend to do.
Under the current rules you can't access your pension benefits before the age of 55, even if you retire from work earlier. Also, the amount of pension income provided by your retirement fund will depend on a number of factors, including investment returns and annuity rates when you take your pension benefits.
Claiming your tax relief
Whether you are employed, self-employed or not employed, we claim basic rate tax relief for you and invest it in your pension.
If you pay income tax at the higher rate (or additional rate that applies for those with an annual income above £150,000) you can claim any extra tax relief you are due from the HMRC in your annual tax return.
Changes to your circumstances
The first thing is to find out if your new employer offers a company pension, and whether they contribute to it. If so, you should join, so you don't miss out on any payments they're offering. You can also keep your Virgin Pension, and keep paying into it if you wish.
If you become self-employed or your new employer doesn't offer a pension scheme, it's a good idea to keep paying into your Virgin Pension so your retirement savings stay on track.
Whatever you choose to do, please let us know if you've changed jobs.
If you're off work but are still being paid (e.g. paid maternity leave or sick leave), you can continue to pay into your pension and you'll still receive tax relief on your payments (on up to 100% of your annual earnings and also subject to an upper annual allowance of £50,000). If your employer is paying into your pension, you'll need to check with them whether they'll continue to contribute while you're off work.
If you have time away from paid work, remember you can stop payments into your Virgin Pension if you need to. You can start saving again whenever you wish. If you do make payments into your pension you'll still receive tax relief on up to £2,880 of payments each tax year, even if you have no earnings for that tax year. You can pay in more than that if you wish but you won't receive tax relief on the extra amount.
Even if you're not earning you can still pay into your Virgin Pension and receive tax relief on up to £2,880 of payments each tax year. You can pay in more than that if you wish but you won't receive tax relief on the extra amount.
If you can no longer spare the money you can stop your payments into your pension. You can start saving again whenever you're ready.
Please remember, stopping or reducing your payments to your pension plan may reduce the amount you get back from your pension.
They will be paid to the beneficiaries you named on your application. If you need to update your beneficiaries at any time, please contact us.
You can normally take up to a quarter of your savings as a tax-free cash lump sum. The rest is used to buy you an income in retirement, such as from an annuity. You can buy your annuity from the company of your choice. We've teamed up with annuities experts, Partnership, to provide a Pension Annuity service which lays out your options clearly to help you choose the right provider and retirement income for you.