Retirement is like a long-awaited holiday after years of hard work, but what if you’re considering retiring a bit earlier than planned?  

If you have a defined benefit pension, you might encounter something called early retirement reduction tables. Don’t let the name scare you – these tables are simply a way to understand how your pension might change if you decide to start your retirement adventure a little ahead of schedule. 

Let’s demystify this concept in the simplest terms possible. 


Defined Benefit Pensions: A Quick Recap 


Before we dive into the early retirement reduction tables, let’s take a quick refresher on defined benefit pensions. 

A defined benefit pension is quite often referred to as a final salary pension.  

Unlike today’s more modern defined contribution pensions where you see the value of your pension savings change day by day, you will see no overall value for your defined benefit pension. Instead, you will be promised an income for the rest of your life based on your salary with the sponsoring employer and how long you have/had worked for the employer. 


The Early Retirement Temptation 

Now, imagine you’re sitting at your desk, daydreaming about all the wonderful things you could do if you retired a few years earlier. Travel, hobbies, spending more time with loved ones – the possibilities are endless. But here’s the catch: if you decide to take your defined benefit pension early you might encounter the early retirement reduction tables. 


Deciphering Early Retirement Reduction Tables 


Think of early retirement reduction tables as a set of rules that reveal how your pension could change if you decide to retire before the pension plan’s normal retirement age. In most cases, these tables are provided by your pension plan or employer and outline the adjustments that will be made to your pension payments based on the age at which you retire. 

The concept is pretty simple: the earlier you retire, the longer your pension payments need to last. This means that the monthly amount you receive could be a bit smaller than if you waited until the normal retirement age. These tables help you understand how much your pension payments might be reduced if you decide to start your retirement journey ahead of schedule. 

Doing the Math: An Example 

Let’s use an example to make things crystal clear. Imagine your pension plan’s normal retirement age is 65, and you’re considering retiring at 60. You take a peek at the early retirement reduction table and discover that for every year you retire before 65, your pension could be reduced by around 5%. So, if you retire at 60, your pension payments might be around 25% lower than if you had waited until 65. 

It’s important to note that the actual reduction percentages can vary depending on your pension plan and the specific rules it follows. Some plans might have a more gradual reduction scale, while others might have different rules altogether. 


The Key Considerations

While the thought of early retirement reduction might seem a bit discouraging, remember that it’s just one piece of the retirement puzzle. When deciding whether to retire early, consider: 

  • Your Financial Needs: Evaluate your current financial situation and estimate your retirement expenses. Will your pension payments be enough to cover your needs, even with the reduction? 
  • Other Income Sources: Take into account any other sources of income you might have in retirement, such as savings, investments, rental income or other pensions. 
  • Healthcare Costs: Early retirement could mean losing valuable health insurance or death in service via your employer. Make sure you’re prepared for potential future medical expenses. 
  • Quality of Life: Consider the benefits of enjoying more leisure time and pursuing your passions versus the impact of reduced pension payments. 


Early retirement reduction tables might sound a bit complex, but they’re essentially a tool to help you understand how your pension payments could change if you decide to retire early. While the reduction percentages might seem like a drawback, they’re just one factor to consider in your overall retirement plan. 

Before you make any decisions, take the time to thoroughly review your pension plan’s rules, consult with financial experts, and consider your personal circumstances. Remember, retirement is a journey, and understanding the early retirement reduction tables can help you make informed choices that align with your financial goals and dreams for the future. 

If you are not sure what to do with your personal and workplace pensions at retirement then please get in touch for a free no obligation 15-minute call. We would be happy to review your position, explain where you stand and what you need to do to get the outcome you desire. We have created hundreds of happy retirements over the years. This could be you too.  

Risk warning:

Stock market linked investments and any income from them, can fall as well as rise and is not guaranteed. Any figures quoted are for illustrative purposes and should not be taken as a forecast or guarantee. Past performance should not be seen as an indication of future returns and clients may get back less than they have invested.