Pension Options

For those earning a flexible income, there are different ways to save for retirement beyond what traditional employers offer 🏡 🏝️

Since pensions are long-term savings accounts, you should expect to wait until you’re at least 55 to access your money.

As an independent worker, you may want to think about how much flexibility you want in your fund options while you are younger. Checkout our Sidecard Savings article for more thoughts on this.


Below is an overview of the pension options you may want to consider:

1. Personal pension

A provider arranges for your contributions to be paid, charging under 1% fees on your savings for this annually.

Your provider will claim tax relief at the basic rate and add it to your pension pot. You can often also choose where you want to invest your contributions from a range of funds offered by your provider.

2. Stakeholder pension

These have low and flexible minimum contributions and let you start and stop contributing savings (premiums) without a penalty.

This is beneficial if you’re self-employed or on a low income, but it means higher charges at about 1.5%.

Often, these charges are capped with a default investment strategy if you want less choice.

3. Self-invested personal pensions (SIPP)

This has more flexibility with investments you can choose compared to the personal pension.

But this comes with higher charges like costs for using the platform (0.35% to 0.5%) and fund costs (around 1.5%).

As always, you should understand all charges before picking one - visit Compare Fund Platforms for a comparison of low-cost SIPPs.


It’s a good idea to also keep an eye out for our updates on a ‘pension sidecar savings’ scheme for those earning a variable income.

Efforts are being put into thinking about how pensions can work for more people with flexible incomes, and also act as an emergency fund 🔮