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Using your Investment Builder pot

Find out what you can do with any DC savings you have with USS

Your Investment Builder and Prudential Money Purchase AVC (MPAVC) pots are defined contribution (DC) pension savings, which means you build up a pot of money that you can use to provide an income in retirement. These DC savings (your pot) can be used in various ways. USS allows you to take your DC savings flexibly, but we don’t provide all the options available to you. If you want to take these savings in a way not offered by USS, you can transfer them at any time to one or more different pension providers.

Before making any decisions in relation to taking your pension savings, you should access the guidance provided by Pension Wise and also consider taking independent advice to help you decide which option is best for you.

Options for using your Investment Builder savings

In most cases, you can start accessing your pot from age 55 (rising to 57 in 2028). You can mix and match any of the following:

You don’t have to take your DC savings when you retire but can delay taking them until a later date. Your pot could then continue to grow in a tax-free environment, potentially providing more income once you access it.

Yes – you don’t have to take your Investment Builder pot at the same time you take your Retirement Income Builder benefits.

Use your pot to buy a guaranteed income for life (an annuity) and take part as tax-free cash

You can normally withdraw up to 25% of your pot as a one-off tax-free lump sum, then convert the rest into a taxable income for life. This is called an annuity. There are different lifetime annuity options and features to choose from that affect how much income you would get.

Yes – you can use your pot to buy an annuity from a third party provider and take part as tax-free cash, but in some cases, you may have to transfer your pot to do this.

Alternatively, you can take your pot at the same time as your Retirement Income Builder benefits, you may be able to take up to 100% of your pot as tax-free cash – this will depend on the size of your pot and the value of your Retirement Income Builder benefits. You may instead choose to use your pot to increase your monthly income from the Retirement Income Builder.

Use your pot to provide a flexible retirement income - Flexi-access drawdown

With this option you can normally take up to 25% of your pot or the amount you allocate for drawdown as a tax-free lump sum, then re-invest the rest into funds designed to provide you with a regular taxable income. You set the income you want, though this might be adjusted periodically depending on the performance of your investments. Unlike a lifetime annuity your income isn’t guaranteed for life, so you need to manage your investments carefully.


Take a number of cash payments from your pot - UFPLS

You can take cash as and when you need it and leave the rest invested, where it could continue to grow in a tax-free environment. For each cash withdrawal, normally the first 25% is tax-free and the rest counts as taxable income. There are limits on how many withdrawals you can make each year.

Yes – cash payments can be taken any time from age 55 (rising to 57 in 2028), or when you retire. You can take up to four payments per year (minimum £2,000 each, unless you are taking your entire pot). There are no charges for cash payments with USS. This is only available for Investment Builder pots, but you can move Prudential MPAVCs across to Investment Builder at any time.


You could close your Investment Builder pot and take the whole amount as cash in one go if you wish. Normally, the first 25% will be tax-free and the rest will be taxed at your highest rate – by adding it to the rest of your income. There are many risks associated with cashing in your whole pot. For example, it’s highly likely that you’ll be landed with a large tax bill, it won’t pay you or any dependant a regular income and, without very careful planning, you could run out of money and have nothing to live on in retirement.

Yes – you can take all of your pot as a cash payment any time from age 55*. There is no minimum amount and no charge. This is only available for Investment Builder pots, but you can move Prudential MPAVCs across to Investment Builder at any time.

More information about your options in USS

If you want to know how these options work in USS, take a look at our taking your benefits and savings page, where you’ll also find information about how you can take cash payments from your Investment Builder pot (UFPLS).

Further information about your options