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Using DC savings, such as your Investment Builder pot

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

Your Investment Builder and your Money Purchase AVC (MPAVC) pots, if you have them, are defined contribution (DC) pension savings. You can use a DC pot in a variety of ways, and you don’t have to wait until you retire.

Before making any decisions about what to do with your pension savings, we recommend that you seek guidance and/or take financial advice. Visit the guidance and financial advice page, to find resources to support your planning and information on how to find a financial adviser.

In most cases, you can start using your DC pot from age 55 (rising to 57 in 2028), but some of the options trigger the Money Purchase Annual Allowance, which limits the total amount of DC pension savings that you and your employer can make each year.

Options for using your DC pension savings, such as the Investment Builder

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

An annuity gives you a regular guaranteed retirement income for the rest of your life. Watch the video to find out more.

Getting the right annuity for you

MoneyHelper, the free guidance and advice portal set up by the government, has lots of information about finding an annuity, including a market comparison tool.

As a member of USS, you also have access to the guided annuity service provided by HUB Financial Solutions Limited*. It’s designed to help you understand the annuity options available, and search the market to find the annuity you want. Find out more on their website.

*The services provided by HUB Financial Solutions Limited are not free of charge.

If you wish to get specific financial advice contact a financial adviser.

Use your pot to provide a flexible retirement income

Flexible retirement income, also known as flexi-access drawdown or just drawdown, is a way of taking money out of your DC pot to live on in later life. Watch the video to find out more.

Getting a drawdown product to meet your needs

MoneyHelper, the free guidance and advice portal set up by the government, has lots of information about finding a drawdown provider.

As a member of USS you have exclusive access to a drawdown product provided by LifeSight. Find out more about LifeSight and see the Important information about LifeSight below.

To get tailored advice on flexi-access drawdown and other options for using your Investment Builder savings, contact a financial adviser.

Take your Investment Builder pot as cash

You can take all of your Investment Builder pot as a cash payment (full UFPLS) any time from age 55 (rising to 57 in 2028). There is no minimum amount and no charge.

UFPLS factsheet

If you don’t want to use your whole Investment Builder pot at once, you could take up to four cash payments each year (partial UFPLS) of at least £2,000 each, and leave the rest invested, where it could continue to grow (the value of your pot could also go down). For each cash payment you take, the first 25% is normally tax-free and the rest counts as taxable income.

This is only available for Investment Builder pots, but you can move any MPAVCs to the Investment Builder at any time before taking any benefits from your MPAVC pot.

If you take a cash payment from a defined contribution (DC) scheme like the Investment Builder, it will trigger the MPAA. Read our UFPLS factsheet to find out more about full and partial UFPLS.

Make sure UFPLS is right for you

To find out whether UFPLS is right for you, we recommend you seek guidance or financial advice. To take UFPLS, you’ll need to complete the relevant form.

Before taking an UFPLS, you should read our UFPLS factsheet and see the important information at the bottom of this page.

Take your whole pot as tax-free cash

Depending on the size of your pot and the value of your Retirement Income Builder pension, you might be able to take your whole Investment Builder pot as tax-free cash when you retire. Find out more about taking your benefits and savings.

You should consider whether this option is appropriate for your needs. You can find out how to access guidance and financial advice on our guidance and financial advice page. You can also get financial guidance or advice from your own financial adviser or another appropriately qualified and authorised firm.

Leave your pot invested

You don’t have to take your Investment Builder pot at the same time as you start taking your Retirement Income Builder pension. You can leave any Investment Builder and MPAVC pots you have invested until you’re ready to use them. Find out more about taking your benefits and savings.

See the value of your USS benefits

You can see your Investment Builder savings, and what you’ve built up in the Retirement Income Builder, at any time in My USS. To find out the value of any MPAVCs you may have, contact Prudential or log in to the Pru-Retire site.

Also on My USS, you can find a link to the Benefit Illustrator, which will help you estimate the value of your future benefits, and you can review and change your investment choices in the Investment Builder to make sure they’re right for you.

To access our whole range of modelling and calculation tools, visit the calculate your benefits page.

Important information

The information contained on this page is for general guidance only and does not constitute advice. It is not a legal document and does not explain all situations or eventualities. USS is governed by a trust deed and rules and if there is any difference between this publication and the trust deed and rules the latter prevails. Members are advised to check with their employer contact for the latest information regarding the scheme, and any changes that may have occurred to its rules and benefits. For a glossary of our terms please see more information on our important information page.

Updated: 20 September 2021