Topping up your pension benefits

If you want more money to live on when you stop working, you can make extra payments to top up your pension benefits. These payments are called Additional Voluntary Contributions, or AVCs for short.

You might want to think about making AVCs if:

  • you want to save more for the long-term in a way that could save tax
  • you started saving into your pension later in life
  • you stopped working for a while – for example, to raise a family or have a career break
  • you want to retire early and need some extra money to help you do this
  • some of what you earn isn’t counted as pensionable pay – like overtime, for example.

When you make AVCs, you’ll get a statement in the post each year to tell you how much you’ve saved. The current value of your AVC account is shown on the Money4Life website. AVC factsheets can be found here.

For more information about your Age60 and Age65 benefits watch the video ‘How your Age60 and Age65 benefits work’ on the ‘Understanding your Pension’ page. Find out more about how you can top up your pension below.

How does it work?

Flexiplan lets you make extra payments to top up your pension, so you have more money to live on later in life. You can set up regular payments or just pay in a one-off amount. You can also increase or reduce the amount you pay, and stop making payments at any time.

With Flexiplan, you choose where your money is invested.

How much can I pay in?

How much you pay in is up to you, but it can be as little as £1 per week or £5 per month.

In theory, you can pay in up to 100% of your taxable pay. This includes the 6% that you normally pay into the RMPP, as well as any extra payments you make using Addplan and Flexiplan. However, there are other things that need to come out of your pay – like National Insurance contributions, for example – so, in practice, the maximum is likely to be around 85%.

How long can I keep paying?

You can keep topping up your pension with Flexiplan until you decide to take your benefits, leave service, opt out of the RMPP, or die.

What happens if I die?

If you die before you retire, the money in your Flexiplan fund is added to the lump sum death benefit that’s paid from the RMPP. You can tell us who you would like this to be paid to by completing a nomination form. You can find this on the ‘After you die‘ page.

Where can I find out more?

For more information, take a look at the ‘Guide to Additonal Voluntary Contributions’ below.

You can download an AVC form from the Media Library.

With Flexiplan, you decide where your payments are invested. You can choose from a range of different investments funds.

Which funds can I choose from?

There are six ‘self select’ funds:

  • Growth Fund

  • Balanced Fund

  • Cautious Fund

  • Cash Fund

  • Ethical Global Equity Fund

  • Shariah Law Fund

How do I decide which funds to invest in?

The funds you decide to invest in will have an effect on how much your money grows. So you’ll need to choose carefully. Find out more about each fund in our Guide to Additional Voluntary Contributions – below.

What is the Lifestyle option?

The Lifestyle option has been chosen for members who do not wish to actively manage their AVC investments.  Whilst you are a number of years from your selected retirement age, contributions are paid to funds which are mostly invested in equities (also known as shares) – these offer the potential for growth but can be quite volatile (the value of shares goes up and down).  Your AVC account is gradually moved into less volatile funds as you get closer to your selected retirement age. You should consider whether this investment option is right for you, and review that decision periodically.

Where do I find out more?

You can also download Additional Voluntary Contribution documents and the latest fund factsheets here. These show how the funds have performed in the past. Remember, past investment performance is no guarantee of future performance.

What if I’m not sure?

If you’re not sure which funds would be best for you, speak to an independent financial adviser. We can’t give you this sort of advice – just explain your options. They might charge you for their time.

Can I switch between funds?

Yes. You can move the money in your Flexiplan account between funds at any time.

How do I invest?

Take a look at the Guide below and if you have further questions, contact the Pensions Service Centre – contact details below.

You can download an AVC form from ‘Forms’ in the Media Library.

Addplan is no longer available. It’s only for people who applied before 31 March 2008.

How does it work?

Until 1 April 2008, Addplan gave you the option to top up your final salary pension by buying extra years. The extra years you could buy were known as Added Years. The cost of any Added Years you bought would have been spread over the time from when you first started paying for them, to your 60th birthday.

Is it still available?

Addplan is no longer available. We stopped offering it on 1 April 2008. That’s when the final salary part of the Plan closed.

If you’d started using Addplan before 1 April 2008, here’s what you need to know:

  • You can’t start a new Addplan contract or increase the amount of Added Years in your original Addplan contract.

  • You can’t reduce the amount of money you’re paying, but you can stop making payments at any time. If you do this, you’ll only get the Added Years you’ve paid for up to the date you stopped paying.

  • If you stop paying in to Addplan, you can’t restart it.

What else can I do to top up my pension?

Have a look at our other option, Flexiplan.

Where can I find out more?

If you need more information, please contact the Pension Service Centre – contact details below.


Guide to Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVCs)

If you don’t know which section you’re in, contact the Helpline (contact details are at the bottom of the page); or If you recieve an Annual Benefit Illustration the section is noted on the front page.