State Pension: Can you transfer your state pension to a private one?

Leaving your pension scheme occurs when, for example, you leave your employer, if you decide to opt-out or stop making contributions. If you leave your pension scheme, the benefits you’ve built up still belong to you. You normally have the option to leave them where they are or to transfer them to another pension scheme.

Can I transfer my state pension?

You cannot transfer your state pension.

You can only transfer private pensions.

You can transfer your private pension benefits to a new scheme at any time up to a year before when you are expected to start drawing retirement benefits.


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You may wish to seek financial advice to check whether it is in your best interests to transfer.

On transfer, you may lose benefits that can only be provided by the original scheme such as a guaranteed income or life cover.

What is a state pension?

Under the Pensions Act 2011, since December 2018, the state pension age for both men and women has started to rise and is planned to reach 66 by October this year.

The changes have meant that people with different dates of birth have reached state pension age on a certain date of the year.

Another group of people are set to reach their state pension age in a matter of weeks, on May 6, 2020.

This applies to people who have the date of birth between July 6, 1954, and August 5, 1954.

According to Martin Lewis, otherwise known as the Money Saving Expert, the basic advice with pensions is to put in as much as possible, as early as possible.

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His website,, reads: “There’s a very rough rule of thumb for what to contribute for a comfortable retirement.

“Take the age you start your pension and halve it.

“Then put this percentage of your pre-tax salary into your pension each year until you retire.

“So someone starting aged 32 should contribute 16 percent of their salary for the rest of their working life.

“While 16 percent of your pay seems a huge commitment, this figure includes your employer’s contribution – so you only need to fund the rest.”

With auto-enrolment workplace pensions, there are minimum contribution levels.

However, if you can afford it, you really should be contributing more towards your retirement.

From April 6 2019, the minimum employer contribution level increased to three percent.

Under auto-enrolment, total contributions must be at least eight percent, so if the employer only puts in three percent, the employee has to contribute five percent.

If you’re employed, aged 22-plus and earning at least £10,000 a year, you’ll be auto-enrolled into a pension to which your employer must contribute at least three percent of your salary.

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