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A pensions overview

Let’s start with the basics

Putting a little aside

A pension is a simple way for you to save for your future. It could help towards things like paying off your mortgage, planning getaways or just getting you the retirement you're after.

You may receive the State Pension when you retire, but it might not be enough. Putting some income away now into a pension scheme means you’ll have a bigger income in the future. Plus, your employer will be contributing too – making up a big chunk of your pension.

Visit your pension explained for how your pension works with us or take a quick look at what you’ll get as a member.

A tax-efficient way of saving

Whilst a pension isn’t the only way you can save towards your future, one of the biggest benefits of building one is that you get tax relief on your contributions.

Whilst you get tax relief with a savings account like an ISA too, you put in money from your pay after tax and it’s only your interest that’s tax free. With a pension, your contributions are taken from your pay before tax (so you only pay tax on the salary you take home, which doesn’t include your pension contributions). So you’re getting tax relief on what you pay in.

Visit our pension tax pages to watch our short video – An Overview of Pension Tax.

Your employer contributes too

Your employer’s contributions help to fund the benefits you’ll get at retirement. And if you earn over the salary threshold, you and your employer will save into the Investment Builder too. Your employer also covers most of the investment costs for you.

Part of your financial plan

Whether you know what you want to do when you retire or you’re still figuring all of that out, having a pension and setting some money aside will form part of your financial plan to help your ideas come to life.

A flexible way to save

Being part of a hybrid pension scheme like USS means you get the best of both worlds – a guaranteed income with the Retirement Income Builder and a flexible savings pot with the Investment Builder (if you earn above the salary threshold, choose to pay additional contributions or transfer other pension savings in). This means you can make sure your savings work for you when you come to take them.

Visit how your pension works for more on the two parts of USS.

How to join

As long as you’re in a USS-eligible role, you’ll be auto enrolled into USS – unless you tell your employer that you don’t want to join. If you’re looking to re-join after you’ve decided to leave, simply speak to your employer to get things moving.

Even if you decide you want to opt out, your employer will have to auto enrol you every three years as part of their re-enrolment cycle, so you’ll have to opt out every time.

If you’re retired and return to work, you could be auto enrolled too. And if you leave one USS-eligible role and join another USS-eligible role, you’ll be auto enrolled again.

Auto enrolment is the government's way of boosting the number of people saving through workplace pensions.

If you have any questions about auto enrolment, rejoining or the re-enrolment cycle, please speak to your employer directly and they'll be able to help.

Working overseas or have come to the UK for a new role? Take a look at working or retiring overseas for more information.

Need some advice or guidance

If you want to seek guidance or take financial advice on the options available to you, visit the guidance and financial advice page. You’ll find a range of resources to support your planning and you can also find information on how to access an independent financial adviser.

Guides to download

Our guides provide help to better understand the benefits available to you as a member of USS.

Got a question?