Adopt a proactive approach to your pension and take charge of your future

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The way we use services has changed. With businesses continuing to develop their online presence to improve what they can offer customers, the digital age has led to the rise of the self-service economy. According to Lloyds Bank Consumer Digital Index 2017, more than three-quarters of us now prefer online banking as it gives us more control over our finances, allowing us to access and move our money whenever we want.

However, despite the growing popularity of online banking, the trend for self-service hasn’t progressed to managing our pensions. As revealed in research by Aviva, despite 72% of people aged 45-64 managing their savings and investments online, only 31% of this age group choose to do the same with their pension. What’s more, only 28% of 45-64s said they felt completely in control of their pension, with those feeling in more control tending to be those who manage their pension online.

As a USS member, you can manage your USS Investment Builder membership online through My USS. Currently, 47% of USS members aged 45-54 and 58% of over 55s having already registered for My USS. What’s more, over 50% of both age groups pay additional pension contributions into the USS Investment Builder.

If you haven’t already registered for My USS and want to start making additional contributions into the USS Investment Builder, it’s not too late to start. There are a number of videos and resources available online to help you get started with the USS Investment Builder, which you can manage through My USS.

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How can I use My USS?

With a My USS account, you can do a lot more than managing your contributions to the USS Investment Builder. You can also choose how your contributions into the USS Investment Builder are invested, view your contributions, learn about other investment options and set or update your Target Retirement Age (TRA).

You can also use the additional contributions modeller in My USS to view the cost per month and estimated retirement benefits based on your additional contributions.

What does the trustee manage on my behalf?

The trustee manages the defined benefits built up in the USS Retirement Income Builder on your behalf. As a USS member, you benefit from being part of one of the largest private pension schemes in the UK, with assets valued at £60 billion in March 2017. Backed by over 350 employers from the university sector, as well as a diverse portfolio of assets, the organisations that contribute to USS have an annual payroll of £8 billion, almost £2 billion of which is then collected by USS.

The trustee takes measured, balanced and collegiate decisions with an outlook of the next 20 years and beyond. By taking a strategic and responsible investment approach, we ensure that USS members’ pensions promised to date are protected. As such, you can rest assured that the benefits promised to date in your USS Retirement Income Builder are protected by law. You can find out more about how the trustee invests and its responsible investment approach by taking a look at these guides to the investment plan.

Want to find out more about how USS is funded?
Take a look at our blog by USS CEO, Bill Galvin, How decisions are made on future pensions for USS.

What other benefits do I have as a USS member?

As well as the option to make additional pension contributions to the USS Investment Builder, there are other benefits available to you as a USS member, including life cover and ill-health benefits.

What’s more, when the time comes to access your benefits, you can take up to 25% of your pension as tax-free cash, giving yourself even more flexibility when making your retirement plans. There are a whole host of online resources available to help you get to know your benefits better. Our animated guides will help you understand your investment choices, while modelling tools such as the USS benefit illustrator can give you an estimate of what benefits you could receive at retirement.

Take look at our flexibility in retirement with the USS Investment Builder guide to find out more about the different ways you can access your savings in the USS Investment Builder once you retire.

You can also work through our Retirement Planning Tool to help you understand what you’ll need, what you’re likely to get, and what choices you might want to make ahead of your retirement.

Taking a proactive approach to your pension

Adopting a more self-service approach to your pension is a great way of getting to grips with all the benefits available to you as a USS member. By registering for My USS, you can take positive steps towards building up a pension that’ll fund the retirement you want. And, with a better idea of the income you could receive when you retire, you can start making concrete plans for the future.

If you want to find out more about how you can take a proactive approach to your pension, take a look at the further reading options below:

Important note: This publication is for general guidance only. 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 shall prevail. 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. Any references to the trustee or USSL in this document means Universities Superannuation Scheme Limited, the trustee company of Universities Superannuation Scheme and any references to the scheme or USS means Universities Superannuation Scheme.

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