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How Do Irish Pensions Differ from UK Pensions?

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Understanding pension systems is crucial for planning your financial future, especially if you’re considering moving between Ireland and the UK. Both countries offer pension schemes designed to provide financial security in retirement, but there are notable differences in how these systems operate. In this blog, we’ll explore the key distinctions between Irish pensions and UK pensions to help you navigate these important financial considerations.

Types of Pensions Available


In Ireland, the main types of pensions include:

  • Occupational Pension Schemes: Typically provided by employers to their employees.
  • Personal Retirement Savings Accounts (PRSAs): Individual pension plans that offer flexibility and portability.
  • State Pensions: Contributory pensions based on social insurance contributions.

In the UK, pensions are categorized into:

  • Workplace Pensions: Enrolled automatically under the auto-enrolment scheme, where both employers and employees contribute.
  • Personal Pensions: Private pensions are managed by individuals through pension providers.
  • State Pensions: Basic and additional state pensions based on National Insurance contributions.

Contribution Requirements


Irish pension schemes may involve contributions from employers, employees, or both, depending on the type of scheme. Contributions are often tax-deductible, providing incentives for saving.


UK pensions under auto-enrolment require contributions from both employers and employees, with minimum contribution thresholds set by law. Personal pensions also involve voluntary contributions with tax relief benefits.

Tax Treatment of Pensions


In Ireland, contributions to pension schemes benefit from tax relief, allowing individuals to reduce their taxable income. Pension income is subject to income tax at retirement.


Similarly, contributions to UK pensions receive tax relief, helping to boost retirement savings. Pension income is taxed according to income tax bands and allowances applicable at retirement.

Retirement Age and Benefits


The retirement age for receiving the State Pension in Ireland is gradually increasing, currently set at 66. Occupational and personal pensions may offer flexible retirement options depending on the scheme rules.


The State Pension age in the UK is also increasing, currently set at 66 and rising further in the future. Workplace and personal pensions offer flexibility in retirement dates and withdrawal options.

Pension Protection and Regulation


Irish pension schemes are regulated by the Pensions Authority to ensure compliance with standards and protections for pension scheme members.


Pensions in the UK are regulated by the Pensions Regulator, overseeing workplace pension schemes and ensuring compliance with pension legislation and protections.

Portability and Transfers

Ireland and UK

Both Irish and UK pensions may allow for portability and transfers between schemes, depending on individual circumstances and scheme rules. Transfers between countries may have tax implications and require professional advice.

Ireland also has the option of cashing in your pension early. You can cash in up to 25% of your pension with a max of €200,000.


Navigating the differences between Irish pensions and UK pensions is essential for effectively planning your retirement savings and understanding your entitlements. While both systems aim to provide financial security in retirement through contributions, tax incentives, and state support, the specifics vary in terms of types of pensions available, contribution requirements, tax treatment, retirement age, and regulatory oversight.

Whether you’re residing in Ireland, the UK, or considering a move between the two, consulting with a financial advisor or pension specialist can help you optimize your pension strategy and ensure a secure retirement future. Stay informed, plan ahead, and make informed decisions to maximize your pension benefits under the respective systems.

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This article is for information only. When They Get Older is not a financial adviser. Please consult a relevant expert if making financial decisions.

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