For many people their Pension is one of their biggest financial assets. However, accessing your Pension can be a confusing time. You are not just making decisions for yourself, but also you need to consider the knock-on effects these decisions might have on your spouse / partner & other family members.

Let’s have a quick look at what decisions face you if you are about to access your private pension.

As a general rule of thumb, most pension structures will allow you to access a portion of your Pension Fund as a tax-free cash lump sum (usually 25% of the pension fund value) and the remainder, 75%, is used to provide you with an income in retirement.

Deciding how you wish to receive this remaining 75% is an important decision. You can:

Option 1) Purchase an Annuity – essentially you elect to give up ownership of the remainder of the pension fund in return for a guaranteed yearly or monthly payment for the rest of your life. In some cases, a reduced percentage of this payment may also be paid to a spouse or partner in the event you pass away.


Option 2) Invest in An ARF (Approved Retirement Fund) or AMRF (Approved Minimum Retirement Fund). This type of arrangement allows you, within certain Revenue limits, to retain ownership of the remainder of your pension fund and draw income from these 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 the ARF option may allow you the flexibility to do this. Also, in the event of your death the money in the ARF passes to your estate.

The Annuity or Approved Retirement Fund decision requires some careful consideration and cannot be made without considering some important issues, such as:

  • Aside from any state pension benefit you might be entitled to, what other income do you have?
  • Will your spouse also be dependent on your pension in the event of your death?
  • Are you in good health?
  • Do you want to be able to pass your unspent pension fund to your spouse or family in the event of your death?
  • How much income do you need?
  • What debt / liabilities and assets do you have?

Whilst the above information is a simplification of the options available to you, I hope you can see that deciding on how best to access your Pension Fund requires some careful planning and thought.

You can also visit the dedicated Pension Access page on our website for more information by clicking

We have been advising clients all over Ireland for many years, showing them how to make smart decisions when it comes to accessing their pension.

Call or email us today and we would be delighted to guide you through your options.

Michael Coburn BBS, QFA, FLIA, LCOI, RPA, SIA

Phone: 01 5267770