Consumer  >  Individuals  >  Frequently asked questions

Frequently asked questions

If you've got any questions, why not have a look at the following list.

How much will I need to save?

Before starting a retirement plan it's a good idea to think about how much income you're likely to need when you retire. Think about the lifestyle you would like to have when you retire - holidays, hobbies, time with family and friends.

Your financial adviser will be able to work out a realistic figure for you and help you plan how you are going to achieve that level of retirement income.

You may be able to supplement your retirement income with other sources of income, such as interest from other savings and investments, share dividends, rental income from property or part-time work.

When should I start saving?

Generally as soon as you can afford to.

Although saving for retirement might not be your first priority financially, the sooner you start the better. That way your hard earned savings will have longer to grow.

By starting to save in your 20s you could accumulate a substantial retirement fund by the time you retire. If you leave it until you are in your 30s or 40s you would have to save a much larger proportion of your disposable income to provide the same level of income in retirement.

What happens if I die before I start taking my retirement benefits?

Your plan can provide support to your dependants in the following ways:

  • The value of your plan will be paid as a tax-free cash sum, normally to your family or to the person you nominated when your plan was set up.
  • If extra life cover has been added to your plan, the appropriate amount will be paid out as well

You can tell us who would like to receive your benefits if you die by completing the nomination of beneficiaries form included in your plan documentation.

What happens if I die while taking my retirement benefits?

When you start taking your retirement benefits, you can ask for your regular income to be paid to your spouse, civil partner or dependants if you die. If you choose this option your regular income may be lower.

Can I increase my regular contributions?

As long as you have not taken your benefits in full or reached your 75th birthday, you can increase your contributions to the plan.

What if I can't keep up my regular contributions?

Don't worry. You can reduce the amount to a level that's more affordable. Or you can stop making contributions altogether then restart when you are ready.

There is no charge for reducing or stopping your contributions. However the amount you get back will be reduced if you choose either of these options.

Can I make single contributions to my plan?

You can make single contributions to your plan by cheque to top-up your retirement savings. Restrictions may apply if you’ve started taking benefits from your plan or reached your 75th birthday.

If you have a Section 32 Buy Out Plan, you are not able to make additional contributions to your plan.

Can I transfer existing retirement savings into my plan?

It is normally possible to transfer any existing retirement plans you have into your Scottish Life plan. Transfers are complicated, so if you're thinking of doing this you must talk to a financial adviser to make sure it's in your best interests.

What about retirement savings I have built up with previous employers?

If you have retirement savings built up with a previous employer, you can:

  • Transfer the value of your existing retirement savings. Transfers are complicated, so if you're thinking of doing this you must talk to a financial adviser to make sure it's in your best interests.
  • Contribute to both arrangements, so long as you don't exceed the Annual Allowance.
  • Stop making contributions and leave the plan invested.

What happens if I join my employer's plan?

If you join your employer's own plan, you can:

  • Contribute to both your plan and your employer's plan at the same time, so long as you don't exceed the Annual Allowance.
  • Stop making contributions into your plan and leave it invested.
  • Transfer the value of your plan into your employer's plan - provided it is able to accept transfer payments. Transfers are complicated, so if you're thinking of doing this you must talk to a financial adviser to make sure it's in your best interests.

Can I cash my retirement savings in early?

Your retirement savings are locked in until you reach age 55.

It may be possible for you to start taking your retirement benefits before age 55 if your health means you can no longer carry on working.

What happens when I want to start taking my retirement benefits?

You will be contacted before you start taking your retirement benefits. At this point you will receive information detailing the options that are available to you.

Depending on the type of plan you have, the options available to you may include:

  • a regular taxable income by purchasing an annuity from us
  • a regular taxable income by purchasing an annuity from another insurance company - this is known as an open market option
  • a tax-free cash sum and a lower taxable income by purchasing an annuity from us/another insurance company
  • a tax-free cash sum and a retirement income taken directly from your plan.

Can I change my mind?

You have 30 days from when you receive your plan documents to change your mind. If you decide that you don't want the plan you should complete and return the cancellation form provided to you.

Who do I speak to if I have a complaint?

Providing our customers with excellent service is very important to us. But if there's anything you're unhappy about, talk to our Customer Service team who will try their best to resolve the matter.

If you want to make a complaint, write to our Customer Relations team at:

Royal London House
Alderley Road
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 1PF

If you're not satisfied with our response you can complain to the Financial Ombudsman at:

Financial Ombudsman Service
South Quay Plaza
183 Marsh Wall
London
E14 9SR

Last update: August 2012
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