Start thinking right now about retirement and plan ahead. Image: iStock

When you want an optimum retirement solution, you don’t have to choose either a pension or a lump sum; if possible, take both. The ideal combination depends on your individual income and assets. In principle, your daily needs should be covered by your pension. Any additional amount taken as a lump-sum payment can be used to finance extras.

Should I have the retirement savings from my pension fund paid out as a lump sum, or should I draw a monthly pension for the rest of my life?

Lump sum withdrawal or a pension – that’s not even the question. What you need to ask is: “What financial resources will I need in old age to get by in daily life – including the occasional small luxury?“

The rule of thumb

It should be possible to cover your running costs out of your regular income – pension payments, interest earned on your assets and any other regular income streams. Depending on your individual needs, a lump-sum payment can be used to increase your budget, finance major projects, or be passed on to your descendants.

Check your personal situation

Your personal situation will dictate the best balance between regular pension payments and taking a lump sum.

A close analysis of your wishes and goals, as well as your family and financial situation, could mean that a combination of the two is a good idea. Draw a pension for the amount you need to cover your living costs, and use the rest of the capital you have accumulated as you choose. Or you can have the majority, or perhaps even all of your capital paid out. This allows you to benefit from more flexibility and scope to plan your individual finances.

  • I am married
  • My spouse is a lot younger
  • The amount I need to maintain my standard of living is always the same
  • I want to take early retirement
  • I have little experience of securities and am somewhat skeptical of market trends
  • My financial options are limited
  • I value security and being able to plan
  • I am single
  • I am planning to make significant investment
  • The retirement savings I don’t use can be bequeathed
  • My life expectancy is not particularly high due to health problems
  • I would like to be very flexible in accessing my retirement savings
  • I intend to continue working beyond normal retirement age