IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT: MyWalletHero is becoming The Motley Fool UK - click here to read more about our name change.
Thoughtful senior couple relaxing at park

How to set up a pension when self-employed

By:  Kate Anderson | 12th October 2021

There are some definite perks to being self-employed. Being your own boss means you can choose your own hours. But when it comes to pensions, it has its downsides. With no auto-enrolment scheme or employer contributions, it’s up to you to set up and save for your own pension. Let’s take a look at how to set up a pension when self-employed.

The self-employed pension gap

The pension gap for the self-employed in the UK is widening. According to recent figures from the DWP, self-employed pension participation has dropped from 21% in 2009/10 to just 16% in 2019/20.

The auto-enrolment scheme has ensured that most UK employees are now placed in a workplace pension scheme. But with no equivalent for the self-employed, it’s up to you to set up a pension.

Having retirement savings for later life is important. And there are other benefits to having a pension, like a tax top-up from the government and low-cost access to professional investment managers. So let’s take a look at how to set up a pension when self-employed.

How to set up a pension if you’re self-employed

If you are self-employed, you can set up a personal pension to save for your retirement. But before you do that, there are a couple of things to think about:

It’s also worth noting that there are different types of personal pensions. So before committing to a provider, have a think about which of the following types would suit your needs.

Personal pension

A personal pension is offered by most large providers. When you set one up, you will be given a choice of pension funds, which will then be managed by professional money managers. The value when you retire will depend entirely on how much you’ve paid into it and how your investments perform.

Self-invested personal pension (SIPP)

A SIPP lets you choose how your savings are invested. It’s a type of defined contribution personal pension. So again, the value of your pension pot depends on the amount you pay in and the performance of your investments.

Stakeholder pension

Stakeholder pensions are arranged between an individual and their pension provider. They typically have a cap on their charges and offer a default investment strategy. This can be helpful if you don’t want to make investment decisions.

Key takeaways

If you are one of the many self-employed Brits who do not have a pension, it is worth thinking about getting one started.

Saving for your retirement can make a big difference in later life. While you will still be eligible for the State Pension, this is not enough to live comfortably on. So having your own pension plan in place is a financially savvy move to make.

Still have questions?

If you didn’t find everything you were looking for on this page, we have other ways to help:


Some offers on The Motley Fool UK site are from our partners — it’s how we make money and keep this site going. But does that impact our ratings? Nope. Our commitment is to you. If a product isn’t any good, our rating will reflect that, or we won’t list it at all. Also, while we aim to feature the best products available, we do not review every product on the market. Learn more here. The statements above are The Motley Fool’s alone and have not been provided or endorsed by bank advertisers. John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. The Motley Fool UK has recommended Barclays, Hargreaves Lansdown, HSBC Holdings, Lloyds Banking Group, Mastercard, and Tesco.

Was this article helpful?
YesNo