Self-employed at 60 – can you access your Personal Pension and continue working?

Most self-employed people may not wish to retire completely but instead would like to slowly reduce their working hours over a period of time. However, this reduced working time will also likely involve a reduction in income. Indeed stopping work suddenly for somebody who has been self-employed all their life is very likely a bad idea. You will need time to adjust back into civilian life !

The good news is that if you are more than 60 years of age, you are permitted to access your Personal Pension irrespective of your decision to continue working or not.  So, how do you access this Personal Pension? With personal pensions you will be entitled to the following:

  1. 25% (capped at €200,000) of the value of the Pension fund as a tax-free lump sum.
  2. The balance of 75% is used to provide you with an income in retirement or semi-retirement. This 75% balance of your pension fund and how you decide to access can be done in one of two ways:

A) You can opt to use your remaining pension value to purchase an annuity – essentially a guaranteed annual payment for life which will pay you or your spouse an income for life.

B) Alternatively, you may opt to place your funds in an ARF (Approved Retirement Fund) or AMRF (Approved Minimum Retirement Fund). Essentially this type of arrangement allows you to retain ownership of your retirement fund and, within certain Revenue limits, to dip into your funds when and if you need them. You may, for example, decide that in certain years you need more income than in other years and this option may allow you the flexibility to do this.

Aside from the above, there are a number of other considerations involved with regards to the most appropriate and tax-efficient way in which to access your pension. Remember you are not just making decisions with regards to your own standard of living in semi-retirement but also need to consider the knock-on effect these decisions might have on your spouse/partner, children or business in the future.

Whilst the above information is a simplification of the options available to you, the essential point is that you can access your Personal Pension from age 60. This will allow you to use the Pension to supplement your reduced income from the business whilst you slowly adjust to civilian life!

If you have any pension access related questions, please feel free to contact me, Michael Coburn, using the contact details listed below.
Dublin 01 5267770
Wexford 053 9110380