Approaching retirement

This page sets out some of the important considerations you should bear in mind as you approach retirement.

Normal retirement/pension age

You need to be aware of your normal pension age (NPA), sometimes called normal retirement age, in whichever pension scheme you are in. This is the age at which you can retire with no reduction in benefits, other than through premature retirement schemes.

For most teachers in the Teachers' Pension Scheme (TPS), NPA is 60. For those joining on or after 1 January 2007 or for service after that date not qualifying for NPA60, the NPA is 65.

NPA in the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) and in the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) is also 65.

Preparing for retirement

You need to ensure that you are prepared for retirement before it is imminent. Things to consider at least five to ten years before expected retirement are:

  • income in retirement - from your occupational scheme and other sources

  • change of lifestyle

  • the possibility of working after formal retirement.

Your branch or school/college may run pre-retirement sessions and ATL also runs courses on preparing for retirement around the country - see the training section for details. ATL has become aware of certain organisations offering teachers retirement planning seminars that are not endorsed by the relevant organisations. You can find out more here.

Phased retirement

Most occupational schemes now operate flexible retirement, whereby you can reduce your hours or level of responsibility and access part of your accrued benefits, whilst continuing to build up further pension.

For information on the TPS's phased retirement scheme, refer to ATL's pension factsheet Actuarially reduced benefits and phased retirement.

LGPS runs a similar scheme called 'flexible retirement' - details are available from your employer.

If you are a member of USS or any other occupational scheme, contact your employer or your local administrator for further details of any similar arrangement.

The Money Advice Service offers a range of free printed guides featuring clear, unbiased information and advice in plain English. They are a good starting point if you want general information about pensions and other financial products. For details, see the Money Advice Service website.

Applying for retirement

Under the Teachers' Pension Scheme, your pension is not put into payment automatically; you need to complete a retirement application form at least four months ahead of your intended retirement date, which your employer also needs to complete if you are retiring from active teaching service.

If you are a member of LGPS, ensure that your local fund administrator is aware of your intention to retire well ahead of the intended date to ensure prompt payment of benefits. They will tell you what forms you need to complete and the action your employer needs to take.

If you are a member of USS, the pensions contact at your institution should submit a request for a quotation ideally three months before your intended retirement date. You will receive this quotation along with the option form, which you need to complete to indicate your preference and return.

Closer to your retirement date and once the completed option form has been received, USS will issue final retirement figures to your institution.

Need more help on pensions?

For further information or for specific advice on pensions issues, please contact the pensions team at ATL's London office. The telephone number for pensions enquiries only is 020 7782 1600. Please ensure that you have your membership number and relevant papers to hand when contacting ATL.

Planning for your retirement involves many important and sometimes complex decisions. Endsleigh has been appointed by ATL as the preferred provider of financial advice, should you wish to seek this. Please visit their website or call 0800 917 8875 for more details. Telephone lines are open Monday – Thursday 9am – 8pm and Friday 9am – 5pm. Retirement planning DVDs and seminars are available upon request.

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