You have a number of options to choose from when you decide to take money from your AVC pot, which you can currently do from age 55, or possibly earlier if you’re in ill health. These options give you greater choice and control over how and when you retire.
With some of the options, you need to transfer the value of your AVC pot to one or more pension plans outside the LGPS.
Other options are available directly from your AVC pot. They are subject to your LGPS rules, so you may have to take your main LGPS benefits at the same time.
You can take your whole AVC pot as a 100% tax-free lump sum. This is only possible if you take your main LGPS benefits at the same time. The total tax-free lump sum you take cannot be more than 25% of the total value of the LGPS benefits you take at that time. This includes any LGPS lump sum and your AVC pot and is subject to overall HM Revenue & Customs limits. Your LGPS scheme administrator will help you work out what you can take at the time.
You can buy an annuity - it pays you an income (a bit like a salary) and is guaranteed for life. These payments may be subject to income tax. In most cases you can take 25% of the money in cash, tax-free. You'll need to do this at the start and take the rest as income. You must normally take your LGPS benefits at the same time.
You can usually take up to 25% as a tax-free lump sum and use the rest to give you more LGPS pension. This is only possible if you take your main LGPS benefits at the same time.
You can leave the money in your AVC pot and take out cash lump sums whenever you need to - until it's all gone or you decide to do something else. You decide when and how much to take out. Every time you take money from your AVC pot, the first 25% is usually tax-free and the rest may be subject to income tax. You can't take your main LGPS benefits when you take this option.
If you started AVCs before 13 November 2001 (30 June 2005 in Scotland, 1 February 2003 in Northern Ireland), you may be able to use the value of your AVC pot to buy more days and years of service.
You can normally mix and match the above options as long as you are eligible for those options.
You can do this by moving your money into a drawdown plan. In most cases you can take up to 25% of your money tax-free. You'll need to do this at the start. You can then dip in and out when you like or take a regular income. This may be subject to income tax.
You can normally transfer your AVC pot into a new pension plan and take one or more cash withdrawals from it until your money runs out or you choose another option. You decide when and how much to take out. Each time you take a lump sum, 25% is tax-free and the rest is taxable. If you have sufficient money in your plan, you may be able to buy a guaranteed income for life or a flexible retirement income.
Pension Wise is a free, impartial guidance service available to those aged 50 and over. It's offered by the Government to help you understand your options at retirement. You can find out more at moneyhelper.org.uk/pensionwise or by calling 0800 280 8880 to book a phone or face-to-face appointment. We recommend that you use this service to help you understand your options.
Your AVCs pot could provide you with extra in retirement.
Adding to your AVC pot could be easier than you think.
Change your contributions to suit your needs and circumstances.
Check your investment choice online and switch whenever you want to.
Prudential is an appointed AVC provider to 72 of 99 Administering Authorities within the LGPS.