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How your pension works

Find out about the Retirement Income Builder and the Investment Builder and see what they can do for you

The two parts to your pension in a nutshell

There are two parts to your USS pension. There's the Retirement Income Builder, which helps to give you security in retirement. And then there's the Investment Builder – allowing you to save more towards your future.

Watch our short video below on how we help you save for your future and how the two parts of USS work side by side.

Retirement Income Builder

Every single one of our members builds their pension in here.

It’s the defined benefit (DB) part of USS. You and your employer contribute and you get tax relief on what you put in. And when you decide to retire, you’re guaranteed an income for life and a one-off cash lump sum.

Investment Builder

You'll have savings here if:

  • you're over the salary threshold (in this case, you and your employer will contribute)
  • you're making additional contributions to save a little more
  • you've transferred your pension over from another scheme since 2016 (this includes if you've switched your Prudential Money Purchase AVCs).

This is the defined contribution (DC) part of USS. Your contributions are invested in funds which go into your Investment Builder pot. The value of your pot can go up or down, depending on how your investments perform. And just like with the Retirement Income Builder, you get tax relief on what you put in.

You’ve got more flexibility when it comes to the Investment Builder. That’s because you don’t need to wait until you retire to access what’s in your pot. Once you turn 55, you could take what you’ve saved as cash, use it to get an extra monthly income, carry on investing or you can do any combination of these things – it’s up to you.

Visit our Retirement Income Builder and Investment Builder pages for more information on the two parts.

Other benefits

As well as building up your retirement benefits, you may also be covered if you ever have to stop working because of ill health. And you can rest assured that your loved ones will be taken care of with life cover while you’re paying in to USS and a spouse/dependant’s pension when you die.

Understand what you’ll pay

We’ve come up with a couple of examples to give you a clear idea of how much you’ll put in each month, how much you could build up, and the impact of tax relief on your take-home pay.

Take a look at what you’ll pay to find out more.

Taking your benefits and savings

You have a few different options when it comes to taking what you've built up in the Retirement Income Builder and what you've saved in the Investment Builder.

Your age plays a part here, as there are different things you can access depending on how old you are. See your options at different ages and stages to find out more.

And to see the various ways you can actually take your money, take a look at taking your benefits and savings.

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