Your retirement options – watch our 3-minute video

Get a quick overview of all your available options in just 3 minutes. Our video will help you explore your options with confidence.

Step 1 Consider your priorities

When you retire you’ll need enough of an income to cover your outgoings and to keep buying the things you need or want. But what about what’s on your wish list of things you’ve always wanted to do or see? It's important to make sure you take your retirement savings in the best way for you.

We recommend you speak to an FCA-Registered Financial Adviser to help consider your options. The Trustee has arranged for members to have access to a FCA registered Financial Adviser, Wren Sterling (see here).

Get some inspiration from our example members.

Example members

Step 2 Explore your options

Currently, you can take your pension from the Plan at any time from age 55. If you take your pension before your normal retirement date, you will receive a lower regular amount as it will be paid for longer. If you earned benefits in the Plan before 1 September 2006, you may wish to make different decisions about separate parts of your pension. This flowchart explains more about the decisions you can make.

Take a pension from the Plan

  • A regular, guaranteed income for life
  • Typically increases in value to help protect against increases in the cost of living (inflation)
  • An income for your eligible dependant if you die
  • The option to take part of your pension as tax-free cash
  • The Pensions Regulator believes, for most members, it’s likely in their best financial interests to take a pension from the Plan
  • Limited flexibility to tailor benefits to suit your needs.

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By taking your benefits from the Plan, you’ll receive a guaranteed income for the rest of your life. Your pension may increase each year, in line with the Plan Rules, to provide some protection against the effects of inflation.

You also currently have the option to exchange part of your pension for a tax-free cash lump sum.

If you have an eligible dependant when you die, they’ll receive a pension for the rest of their life, in line with the Plan Rules.

Also, if you die within the first five years of retirement, a lump sum will be paid equivalent to the remaining pension instalments which would have been paid for those five years (without increases).

Learn more - read the factsheet

Or, transfer your benefits away from the Plan

  • A pot of cash (called a transfer value) to secure a retirement income outside of the Plan which can be tailored to suit your needs
  • The option to increase or reduce protection for your dependants
  • You need to be aware of pension scams
  • If your funds are invested following transfer, you will take on investment risk and pay ongoing investment charges and advice charges
  • You’ll need to manage your money to make sure it lasts
  • You could end up paying more tax if you take your money all at once.

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To learn more about what it means to transfer your pension out of the Plan and why some people choose this option read If you transfer your pension out of the Plan below or watch our 3-minute explainer video here.

If you transfer your pension out of the Plan

You will receive an amount of money called a transfer value in return for giving up your right to a pension from the Plan. You can use that transfer value to buy a guaranteed regular income (an annuity), take it a bit at a time (drawdown), take it all as cash, or mix and match. Regardless of the option you choose, you are able to take up to 25% of your transfer value, currently as a tax-free cash lump sum.

Transferring out can not be reversed so make sure you understand the risks and benefits.

We’ll colour code these options the same way throughout the site so you can navigate the site easily.

Transferring out cannot be reversed so make sure you understand the risks and benefits, this FCA webpage and FCA video provide additional information that can help you understand the option and what you could be giving up. You should also be aware of potential pension scams and only transfer out to a reputable provider. Speaking to an FCA-Registered Financial Adviser, like Wren Sterling, can help. As a rule of thumb, if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

You’ll find an estimate of your pension benefits in the retirement statement you may have recently received from the Plan. Once you’ve read through these details, type in your numbers into the Retirement Options tool to see what these different options could mean for you. If you do not have a retirement statement and are over age 55, you can request one from the Plan administrator, Willis Towers Watson on 01707 607616 or by email: howdenjoinerypensions@willistowerswatson.com

The MoneyHelper website also provides some tools to help with your options, including a pension calculator and annuity comparison tool

Transfer out and buy a regular income for life from an insurance company

  • A guaranteed income for the rest of your life, called an Annuity
  • Choose the level of benefits and cover you need to match your priorities
  • A possible higher income if you have health issues
  • You’ll need to shop around to get the best deal.
  • Depending on the benefits you choose, the annuity may not provide protection for your dependants or against the effects of increases in the cost of living (inflation).

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By buying an annuity, you’re able to tailor a regular, guaranteed retirement income to suit your circumstances.

For example, you’ll be able to decide whether you want to include an income for your eligible dependant after you die and whether you want your income to increase over time or remain level. You may also be able to get a higher income if you are in poor health or are a smoker.

Learn more - read the factsheet

Transfer out and withdraw cash as and when you need it

  • Take your money as and when you need it, called Drawdown
  • If you die before 75, savings can often be passed tax-free to an eligible dependant
  • You’ll need to ensure your money lasts as long as you need it
  • No guaranteed income for your retirement; you’ll need to take on investment risk and pay ongoing investment and advice charges.

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By investing your transfer value into a Drawdown arrangement you’ll have the flexibility to withdraw taxable cash as and when you need it throughout retirement.

However, you’ll be responsible for managing your savings, including choosing which funds to invest in.

Learn more - read the factsheet

Transfer out and take a single cash lump sum

  • Take all your benefits as a Cash lump sum
  • You’ll be taxed on 75% of the amount you take, possibly at a higher level than you’re used to if you take it all at once
  • No guaranteed income for your retirement.

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By taking your transfer value as cash you’ll be taking it all at one time as a single lump sum.

Up to 25% of your lump sum may be paid tax free, but you’ll pay tax on the remainder – potentially pushing you into a higher tax bracket as your income is not spread out.

You will be responsible for making your money last.

Learn more - read the factsheet

If you have a Top-up/AVC fund, the options you have for those is detailed in your retirement statement. There is also some additional information in the frequently asked questions.

Which option is right for you? – Consider your options

Mix-and-match your options

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Should you wish to, you can mix-and-match from the options above.

For example, you can take some cash up front, buy an income for life to cover the basics and draw down the rest. It’s entirely your choice.

You should speak to a Financial Adviser if you are considering this.

Consider options side-by-side

Use the Retirement Options tool

Take a pension from the Plan Transfer out and buy a regular income for life from an insurance company Transfer out and withdraw cash as and when you need it Transfer out and take a single cash lump sum
* Comes at the cost of a reduction in how much money you get each month to start with
** This depends on if your investments perform well and how much risk you choose to take
Option:The reassurance of a regular income for life Take a pension from the PlanYes Transfer out and buy a regular income for life from an insurance companyYes Transfer out and withdraw cash as and when you need itNo Transfer out and take a single cash lump sumNo
Option:Pension increases to protect against inflation Take a pension from the PlanYes (for some elements of pension) Transfer out and buy a regular income for life from an insurance company? Optional* Transfer out and withdraw cash as and when you need it? Optional** Transfer out and take a single cash lump sumNo
Option:A pension for my eligible dependant on my death Take a pension from the PlanYes (included) Transfer out and buy a regular income for life from an insurance company? Optional* Transfer out and withdraw cash as and when you need itNo No, not a pension, but see ‘inheritance’ row below Transfer out and take a single cash lump sumNo No, not a pension, but see ‘inheritance’ row below
Option:Leaving an “inheritance”
(other than pension, above, or payment if I die within 5 years)
Take a pension from the PlanNo Transfer out and buy a regular income for life from an insurance companyNo Transfer out and withdraw cash as and when you need itYes, Yes, you can leave any leftover funds to your beneficiaries (some of which may be subject to tax) Transfer out and take a single cash lump sumYes, Yes, you can leave any leftover funds to your beneficiaries (some of which may be subject to tax)
Option:Something easy to manage Take a pension from the PlanYes Transfer out and buy a regular income for life from an insurance companyYes, after you’ve shopped around for the right annuity Transfer out and withdraw cash as and when you need itNo, you need to manage money & investments Transfer out and take a single cash lump sumYes, if you don’t invest the money
Option:Money to use now Take a pension from the PlanYes, currently up to 25% of the value of your pension tax-free Transfer out and buy a regular income for life from an insurance companyYes, currently up to 25% of your pension savings tax-free Transfer out and withdraw cash as and when you need itAs much as you like (some of which is subject to tax) Transfer out and take a single cash lump sumAll of it (some of which is subject to tax)
Option:The flexibility to change my income when I like / need Take a pension from the PlanNo Transfer out and buy a regular income for life from an insurance companyNo Transfer out and withdraw cash as and when you need itYes Transfer out and take a single cash lump sumNo, it’s a single cash lump sum
Option:The ability to invest my money myself Take a pension from the PlanNo Transfer out and buy a regular income for life from an insurance companyNo Transfer out and withdraw cash as and when you need itYes, through your drawdown provider (investment and advice charges may apply) Transfer out and take a single cash lump sumYes, through self investment (investment and advice charges may apply)
Option:Suitable if I expect to live a long time Take a pension from the PlanYes, a guaranteed income for the rest of your life Transfer out and buy a regular income for life from an insurance companyYes, a guaranteed income for the rest of your life Transfer out and withdraw cash as and when you need it Possibly - you're in control of how long it lasts Transfer out and take a single cash lump sum Unlikely – if your HJPP savings are not your only source of retirement income

Step 3 Make your decision

This is a big decision. It’s important to have all the information you need to make it.

Get a recommendation from a financial adviser

Whether you take a regular income for life from the Plan or transfer your pension it’s a big decision and depends on what’s the right fit for you. We strongly recommend that you get guidance and/or advice if you’re thinking about transferring your pension. In fact, if your transfer value (excluding any Top-up/AVC account) is £30,000 or larger, you have to take advice to transfer out of the Plan to a DC arrangement.

To help you decide whether transferring is right for you, the Trustee of the Plan has undertaken a detailed selection process and arranged for an FCA registered financial adviser, Wren Sterling, to provide Plan members with tailored impartial financial advice. They have knowledge about the Plan, so are able to explain how your Plan benefits and the transfer options work and make a recommendation about the most appropriate option for you.

You’ll need to pay for the retirement advice that Wren Sterling provide, however we’ve negotiated a competitive rate for our members, which is significantly cheaper than the cost if you went to find your own financial adviser.

If you’d like to speak to Wren Sterling call 0808 175 0010 or email howdens@wrensterling.com.

You can, of course, use your own financial adviser if you prefer. You can read more about how to do that, about advice in general and find contact details for Wren Sterling on the Decide page here.

Made a decision?

Great, you can find out more about the Next steps here, as well as learn more about financial guidance and advice.

Not ready yet?

No worries, you don’t have to do anything if you do not want to. These options will be available in the future for when you are ready to start receiving your Plan benefits.