Posted in:

Retire at 55: What is a Good Pension Pot at 55?

As you stand stuck on a crowded commute, your mind may wander to early retirement and how much it will cost to retire at 55. The prospect of being able to retire early is what keeps many going through the daily grind, and it doesn’t need to be a luxury kept for a fortunate few.

Whether you dream of an around-the-world cruise, writing a best-selling novel or starting a new hobby, careful financial planning on “What is a good pension pot at 55?” will take you closer to making your dreams a reality.

By prioritising your earnings, savings and investments, you can retire at 55 – way before the UK retirement age for state pension– although it will take some sacrifices along the way. Working with experienced advisors to better understand where and how to invest money for the future is a good start. Take a look at Moneyfarm’s personal investment plans to start planning for early retirement.

Tell me more

How much do I need to retire at 55 in the UK?At least, £37,600 a year
First step to retiring at 55?Start as soon as you can
Can I afford to retire at 55?Yes, but with proper financial planning
Top tips for retiring early1. Start early 2. Set a target and invest as much as possible 3. Keep more of your money

What is the average pension pot in the UK?

What is a pension? A pension is a fund specifically designed to provide income during retirement. However, it’s important to note that the average pension pot in the UK. According to the 2019/20 FCA retirement income report, the average pension pot in the UK is £61,897, which is very little once you start taking an income from it. For example, if you draw 4%, which is £2,475 a year, and add the maximum new state pension of £9,339, your annual retirement income will come to £11,814.

If you want to retire at 55, you need more than £61,897 as you will have more years in retirement. Therefore, a good pension pot at 55 should be at least triple the amount. To achieve this, you need to save as hard as you can while working. Also, the more you save, the more robust your retirement will be.

What is a good pension pot at 55?

If you aim to retire at 50 with a good 50s retirement savings, you must ask yourself many questions, including “What is a good pension pot at 55?”. A good pension pot on which to retire at 55, will depend on individual circumstances and what type of lifestyle you want in retirement. However, the good news is that most people overestimate how much they’ll need in retirement. To retire at 55 and maintain your chosen lifestyle, you’ll need between half and two-thirds of your annual salary as retirement income when you hang up your work boots.

After all, you’ll probably have paid off the mortgage, won’t have to fork out for your commute, and the kids will – hopefully – be independent.

How much do I need to retire at 55 in the UK?

According to ONS and Pension Bee 2o23 data, the average pension pot in the UK was £35,357, while the average pension for 55 to state pension age was £37,600. If you are wondering how much a pension pot size to retire at 55 requires, it will be much higher.

According to the Retirement Living Standards website, for a comfortable retirement income-wise, you’ll need around £43,000 a year (London: £44,900) as a single person – that’s about £3,583.33 a month. With that, you’ll be able to pay for the essentials and a few luxuries – a 2-week European getaway a year and eating out, for example.

A comfortable retirement for married couples will require £59,000 a year (London: £61,200). With that, you’ll be able to afford a yearly 3-week vacation in Europe, more financial freedom, and some luxuries.

If you want to live a moderate lifestyle in retirement, you will need £31,300 (London: £32,800) per year as a single person and £43,100 (London: £44,900) as a couple. Your priorities will probably change as you age, and you might replace your regular holidays with high insurance bills.

State pension

Setting aside the question of “what is a good pension pot at 55?” for the moment, you’ll get a helping hand from the government in the form of the state pension – as long as you’ve contributed to national insurance (NI) for between 10 – 35 years. Please note that if you retire at 55, you cannot claim the state pension until you are age 66.

You’ll get just over £11,500 a year from the government unless you reach the pension age before 6 April 2016, which means you’ll get the old state pension of just over £8,800.

With the full new state pension, if you have at least 35 years of national insurance, your annual retirement income will be £11,502.40 (£221.20 per week). With 20 years of NI, you will receive an annual retirement income of £6,572.80 (£126.40 per week) and £3,286.40 (£63.20 per week) for 10 years of NI contributions.

For the new basic state pension, you will receive £8,814.00 (£169.50 per week) annually with 35 years of national insurance contributions, £5,036.20 (£96.85 per week) with 20 years of NI contributions and £2,517.88 (£48.42 per week) with 10 years of NI contributions.

If you’re unsure how many qualifying years you have built up, you can find out through the Department for Work and Pensions.

Whilst you can typically access a workplace or personal pension at the age of 55, you won’t be able to get your state pension until pension age – which the government wants to rise to 68. If you’re wondering, “How much state pension will I get at 66?” it’s essential to check the current state pension rates and rules applicable to your specific circumstances. The advantages of deferring state pension are that you will get a higher state pension and you will have more time to save for retirement.

Unfortunately, you won’t be able to rely solely on the state pension to retire early or achieve a comfortable retirement. Instead, look to supplement your retirement income with a private pension.

Retire at 55 with £500k

If you want to have a gross retirement income of £25,000 a year, and assuming you will have no state pension income, you will need a pension pot worth a minimum of £500,000. That’s considerably more than the average pension pot in the UK.

The logic behind a 500K pension pot is that it’s reasonable to expect an average annualised return of around 5% from a balanced and diversified portfolio over the long term. So, assuming this is your return, if you withdraw up to the same 5% each year, you’ll never deplete the nominal value of your pension over time.

If you want to retire at 55 with a retirement income of £39,000 a year, you’ll need at least £780,000 at retirement if you want to withdraw 5%. However, if you’re a bit more conservative over your expected returns and want to withdraw 4% a year, you’ll need a pension pot worth at least £973,500.

When you find the answer to the question of how to retire at 55, you might realise it’s a bridge too far. You might need to work longer, then slowly reduce your working hours to ease yourself into retirement whilst sustaining an income.

Tax incentives

If you aspire to retire at 55, it’s crucial to maximise the benefits of various tax incentives. There are generous tax incentives available to savers to encourage them to save more for retirement. For example, you can claim tax relief relative to how much tax you pay.

If you want to contribute £10,000 to your pension, you’ll need to pay £8,000. However, you’ll receive basic rate tax relief at source of £2,000, taking your total contribution to £10,000.

If you’re a higher or additional rate taxpayer, you can claim further tax relief from HMRC via your tax return – to the tune of 40% and 45%, respectively.

You can also take 25% of your pension pot tax-free once you hit 55. After that, you’ll need to pay income tax on your pension income, but as you’re likely to earn less in retirement, you might pay less tax. For example, if you received 40% tax relief on your contributions, you might only pay 20% tax on your withdrawals.

You can use Moneyfarm’s Pension Calculator to help you work out how much you need to be saving a month to get the income you want in retirement or start one of Moneyfarm’s regular investment plans.

Six tips to help retire at 55

  1. Start early

Once you’ve paid off expensive debt and saved up three months of your outgoing in a rainy-day cash fund, it’s time to make your money work harder for you by saving and investing. How to retire at 55 invariably means starting to save early – the earlier, the better. Not only do you put more money aside, but you also benefit from compounding – one of the most powerful forces of investing.

  1. Set a target and invest as much as possible

If you’re asking yourself, “How much do I need to retire at 55?” the first thing you’ll need to do is take the time to set a budget. Then, it’s time to put as much as possible aside each month into your pension to enjoy maximum tax relief. Of course, you won’t be able to get this money back in an emergency, so make sure you can afford it. Alternatively, invest in a Stocks & Shares ISA or general investment account to enjoy more flexibility in terms of withdrawals.

  1. Keep more of your money

Don’t let expensive management fees eat into your retirement savings. There are low-cost opportunities for investors who want to protect their money and grow it for the future.

  1. Don’t sacrifice your pension savings

As you go through life, you’re going to come up against competing priorities, whether it’s getting on the housing ladder, spending on your children, or house renovations. Try not to sacrifice the amount you put into your pension – it may be challenging at times, but it will be worth it in the long run.

  1. Ease yourself into retirement

You might want to slowly reduce your working hours before giving up work for good. That way, you can enjoy some more free time but still benefit from regular income. You won’t be using your pension pot as quickly as if you gave up work straight away.

  1. Decide what to do with your pension pot carefully

Your pension savings can help you achieve financial security in retirement, regardless of whether you have a workplace pension or a self-employed pension. The choices you make about how to disburse your pension savings can have a significant impact on your retirement lifestyle. You can swap your savings for an annuity when you retire at 55 and want regular income, although the annuity rates are often low. If you want more flexibility in retirement, you can keep your money invested in the market and withdraw as you like. Take a look at the Moneyfarm Pension Drawdown Service, which offers just this. It is important to plan well, though; once your savings are gone, they’re gone.

It can be difficult to plan for retirement in the best way for you and your family. If you need any help, talk to an independent financial adviser and read our pension guide.

Can I afford to retire at 55?

Can I retire at 55? The answer to this regularly asked question is yes, provided you make the right decisions as early as possible. The miracle of compound interest means that anyone who makes smart decisions with their money early on can see their wealth grow significantly over time. Unless you’re very wealthy or willing to make sacrifices to retire early, these kinds of decisions can make all the difference in the long run.

Ultimately, you want to know that you have your pension in the best possible place to grow successfully, and you have several pension options to do so. Therefore, shopping around is important – a lot of people will accept their workplace pension right off the bat without doing much research into what is a good pension pot on which to retire at 55. Comparison websites, digital wealth managers, free pension transfers – the industry has never favoured the investor, something anyone and everyone should take advantage of to maximise their wealth.

We all want a comfortable, fulfilling retirement, free from financial stress and the means to make our goals a reality. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to make this a reality. Get started early, invest as much as you can, and set clear goals, and you could retire at 55 with enough money saved to enjoy your best years.

The proposed workplace pension pot for life

As we have already said, making sure your pension funds are working as hard for you and starting as early as possible are both key – especially if you hope to retire at 55. In the Autumn budget, the Chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, has committed to holding consultations regarding workplace pensions and the right for employees to nominate which scheme will be used.

At the moment, your employer dictates which pension scheme you will join. The idea is that you will be able to nominate which scheme should be used in the future. Under the current workplace pension rules, a new pension is created each time you change your employer. The result is that many people end up with lots of small, different pension pots.

Some perform better than others, but the more pots you have, the more difficult it is to track them, and, in many instances, people even forget about them, particularly the ones that started earlier in their careers. Being able to nominate a specific workplace pension scheme could change all that. It’s called having “a pot for life.” If it comes about, it will be an important component when it comes to taking control of your workplace pension.

It will empower you to make the most of your pensions by ensuring contributions go to the best-performing scheme, and you can use the Moneyfarm pension calculator referred to earlier to see if your plan to retire at 55 is at all feasible.


How much do I need to retire at 55?

The desired retirement income per year will help determine how much you need to retire at 55. What is a good pension pot at 55 with a withdrawal rate of 5% pa? With a withdrawal rate of 5% pa, £25,000 per annum income will require a £500,000 pension pot, while a £33,600 will require a £780,000 pension pot.

How much do you need to retire comfortably in the UK?

For a comfortable retirement in the UK, you should have at least £37,600 per year in savings, which is slightly above £3,000 per month.

Can I retire at 55 and access my workplace or personal pension?

Yes, you can access your workplace or personal pension from age 55.


Did you find this content interesting?

You already voted!

*Capital at risk. Tax treatment depends on your individual circumstances and may be subject to change in the future.