Can I extract money from my pension?

2 May 2012

Q

I have a private pension that I no longer pay into, and I would like some way of getting money out to pay off my credit card. Is there any way for me to do this?
From
AB/via email

A

The simple answer is no. As a rule, you can only get access to your pension fund from age 55 and even then you can only take a quarter of the fund as a lump sum, with the rest supposed to provide you with an income in retirement.

There can be exceptional circumstances where you may be able to access your pension fund earlier than age 55 - these are typically if you have a projected earlier retirement age or if you are forced to retire early because of ill health. Unfortunately, paying off your debts is not an acceptable reason.

Find the best annuity rate for your circumstances

Having said that, it is still a good idea to look at paying off your credit card debt, especially if you are paying high rates of interest. If you’re struggling to meet your credit card payments then contact the lender to discuss alternative arrangements.

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Also, look at your finances to see if there are any other expenses you could reduce to clear your card bill quicker. It may be tempting to go for a quick-fix solution by clearing your debt with an overdraft or payday loan. But in doing so, you’re simply switching one debt with another.

Provided you are able to clear the debt before the 0% period ends or willing to transfer to a new deal at that point, transferring to a 0% balance transfer card could be a good way of clearing your debts more quickly.