Cash in Your Pension Early

Trusted by 2,000 Clients Across Ireland

Call to check if you qualify in 30 seconds!
Cash in my pension

We Provide a Free Consultation


We can help

If you have ever paid into a:-

Personal Pension Scheme

What we do

Help You Assess Your Options
Help You Cash in Your Pension (if eligible)
Help You Access a 25% Tax-Free Lump Sum (if eligible) *up to €200,000


How to book an appointment:

Free Consultation

Our Process

Join over 2,000 clients who have used our services to access their pension.


Contact Our Team

Contact our team to book your Free consultation


An advisor will review your current pension arrangement.


If beneficial and the correct choice for your situation, you will be enabled to transfer to a Personal Retirement Bond (PRB).


If eligible, you may be able to access your pension and withdraw 25% tax-free.

Video Time 0:52

We help clients across Ireland assess their pension options.

Table of Contents

Can you cash in your pension early in Ireland?

Yes. Most people will be eligible to cash in their pension from age 50. However, there are certain criteria that must be met. It must be either an occupational pension with a previous employer, an Executive Pension or a PRSA.

Before assessing your pension arrangement(s) and evaluating the pros and cons of transferring benefits, it’s advisable to use our online pensions transfer assessment along with speaking to one of our qualified financial advisors.

Accessing your pension early is not a decision that can be reversed.

It’s important to consult a qualified expert before making any decision.

Who can cash in their pension early in Ireland?

In certain circumstances, you may be able to withdraw cash from your pension. If you were part of an occupational pension scheme and have since left or changed employment you may be eligible. However, this will depend on the scheme rules. If you are in this position it may be worth contacting a financial adviser for assistance.

Eligibility and criteria for accessing your pension early

Meeting the age threshold is only the first step.

To be eligible for early pension access, several other key criteria must be met. These include:

  1. Type of Pension Plan : You must have been part of either a Defined Benefit or Defined Contribution pension scheme.
  2. Employment Status: You should have left the employment where these pension benefits were accrued. This means that the pension you wish to access early should be from a previous employer, not your current one.
  3. Age Requirement: You must be over the age of 50 to consider early withdrawal from your pension scheme.

If you meet the above criteria, accessing your pension from age 50 may be an option.

But there’s a caveat.

Just because you can access your pension doesn’t mean you should.

Navigating the world of pensions can be complex. There are a number of websites with a plethora of information.

As you think about your choices, we can’t stress enough how important it is to read the small print and make sure you’re getting help from a qualified professional.

Always look for a Central Bank  regulation piece as you browse online.

Ensure you’re dealing with a regulated entity and getting your information from a trustworthy source.

At Pension Support Line, we’ve a team of highly qualified advisors  who’ve been assisting clients for over 100 years combined

Early Pension Access at 50: Can I cash in my pension early?

One of the most frequent questions we get as financial advisors is from what age can you access your pension?

Fortunately, in some cases you can access your pension arrangement from age 50.

However, there are certain criteria that must be met.

The first potential stumbling block will be the type of pension arrangement you have, followed by your age.

Below is a breakdown of the most common pension arrangements along with what age each can be accessed

Pension Arrangement Age you can access benefits from
Defined Benefit (Occupational) 50
Defined Contribution (Occupational) 50
Executive Pension Plan 50
Personal Retirement Savings Account (PRSA) 60
PRSA (If an employee has left service) 50
Personal Pension 60

It’s important to note although your arrangement may be technically accessible from age 50, there’ll often be further criteria.

Can I withdraw my pension before age 55?

It is almost always possible to cash in your company pension scheme early. In most cases, you’ll be able to access 25% of your benefits as tax-free cash. However, to access these occupational pension schemes early, you must have left the employment where your benefits accrued.

These occupational pension schemes falls under two categories:

  1. Defined Benefit Pension Scheme – a pension income in retirement based on your career earnings
  2. Defined Contribution Pension Scheme – The amount paid will depend on the balance of your fund at retirement.

Leaving employment is a crucial element. Otherwise, you will not be in a position to access your benefits early.

Can I cash in my pension before age 50?

Again, the ability to access your pension will be dependent on the structure you’re invested in.

As per above, once it’s an occupational pension scheme and you’ve left service, you’ll be eligible to access your benefits from age 50.

If you’re still in service and part of an occupational pension scheme, you’ll likely have to wait until age 60. However, this is very much dependent on the scheme’s specific rules.

What is the cost of cashing in my pension early

There are no up-front fees. Firstly, discuss all potential options with your advisor. Should you choose to proceed then any fees and charges will be outlined in a transparent manner.

Understanding Early Pension Access

Early pension access refers to the ability to withdraw funds from your pension scheme before the standard retirement age, typically set at 65 or later.

Retirement and pensions go hand-in-hand. They’re inextricably linked.

However, in some cases you’ll be able to access your pension from age 50.

Understanding Early Pension Access

It’s also important to note that you do not have to fully retire to access these benefits.

You could access your pension benefits from a previous employment as you work a new job.

Or, you could be planning to leave employment and arrange to access your benefits once you leave.

Early access is governed by specific rules and conditions, which vary depending on the type of pension plan you have.

Types of Pensions and Their Rules

Your eligibility to access your pension early will be scheme dependent.

The earliest you’ll potentially be eligible to access your pension benefits is age 50.

Below is a breakdown of the different types pension arrangements and how or when they can be accessed.

Overview of Different Pension Schemes

As we’ve touched on briefly already, different pension schemes will have different rules.

However, they all serve the same purpose, to provide you with an income in retirement.

If your aim is early retirement , it’s important to begin contributing to a pension arrangement as early as possible.

Occupational Pension Schemes

Occupational pension schemes are provided by the employer.

They’re also called company pension schemes in many cases. Again, their aim is to provide you with a regular income in retirement.

There are two main types of occupational pension schemes:

Occupational Pension Schemes

1. Defined Benefit Pension Scheme: These are older pension schemes. The benefit you will be entitled to at retirement is calculated depending on your salary and years of service.

It’s important to understand the transfer value of your DB pension if you’re considering early access, as this will affect the amount you receive.

In some cases, transfers from a Defined Benefit scheme may be offered an Enhanced Transfer Value .

Although this will very much be a case-by-case basis and scheme dependent.

2. Defined Contribution Pension Scheme: In these pension arrangements, both the employer and employee will make contributions. The level of contributions along with fund performance will determine your benefits at retirement.

Regarding early access, both Defined Benefit and Defined Contribution pension arrangements can be accessed from 50, if all criteria are met.

Personal Pensions

In some cases, you may not have access to an occupational pension scheme.

If so, a Personal Retirement Savings Account (PRSA) is often the best choice. This will allow you flexibility regarding contributions.

Overview: PRSAs are flexible pensions that allow you to contribute at your own pace. They are available to both employed and self-employed individuals.

Early Access Rules: Generally, you can access a PRSA from age 60, but under certain conditions, early access from age 50 is possible, especially if the PRSA was set up by a previous employer.

Considerations: When accessing a PRSA early, consider the impact on your long-term retirement savings and potential tax implications.

If you set the pension up with a broker like us, you’ll have the ability to compare all providers and fund choices.

Regarding early access, PRSA’s can be accessed from age 60 onwards.

Or, perhaps you are self-employed  or a company director  and looking at alternative options.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Accessing Your Pension Early

It may be alluring to take benefits from your pension before retiring, particularly if you are in need of money.

But before you do, make sure you weigh all of your options.

Early pension access has implications and requires following a certain process.

It’s important to understand this. Below, we’ll examine the best ways to be ready and walk through each step of the process.

Preparing for Early Pension Access

Deciding to access your pension early at age 50 is a significant financial decision that requires careful planning and consideration.

It should align with your overall financial goals and objectives.

It’s a particularly big decision if you’re planning to transfer out from a Defined Benefit (DB) pension scheme.

Finding an experienced advisor is vital.

This preparation phase is about gathering information, understanding the implications of early withdrawal, and making an informed decision that benefits your future.

Accessing Your Pension Early: From Application to Access

The first step will be organising a chat with a Qualified Financial Advisor (QFA).

This chat will act as an assessment. It will help determine your eligibility for early pension withdrawal.

If suitable the process of accessing your pension benefits can begin.

In some circumstances the process can be complex. It’ll depend on your benefits and overall financial situation.

However, we’ll give a simplified overview of the process below:

  1. Initial Consultation with your Advisor: The process begins with an initial discussion with a financial advisor. This conversation is aimed at assessing your current financial situation and determining your eligibility for early pension access. It’s a crucial step to understand the feasibility and implications of accessing your pension early.
  2. Receiving Compliance Documentation: If early pension access seems viable and you decide to proceed, the next step involves receiving and reviewing the necessary compliance documentation. This documentation is essential for ensuring that all legal and regulatory requirements are met.
  3. Completing Compliance Documents: You will be required to complete important documents such as a Fact-Find and Risk Questionnaire. These documents are critical in understanding your financial standing, investment preferences, and risk tolerance, forming the basis for any future recommendations.
  4. Recommendations Based on Financial Assessment: Once your attitude towards risk and overall financial situation are clear, personalised recommendations can be made. These recommendations are tailored to align with your financial goals and risk appetite.
  5. Paperwork and Application Forms: If you decide to move forward based on the recommendations, the next step is to complete the relevant paperwork and application forms. This step formalises your intent to access your pension early.
  6. Submission of Paperwork: Your advisor will then submit the completed paperwork to the relevant parties, such as pension providers or regulatory bodies. This step is handled by your advisor to ensure accuracy and compliance.
  7. Ongoing Liaison and Communication: Throughout the process, your advisor will maintain communication with you and liaise with the pension providers. This ensures that you are kept informed about the progress of your application and any developments.
  8. Receiving Your Pension Lump Sum: Upon successful processing of your application, you will receive your pension lump sum. The balance of your pension will then be transferred to an Approved Retirement Fund (ARF) or an annuity of your choosing, depending on your preferences and financial plan.
  9. Final Overview Call and Policy Documentation: To conclude the process, you will have a call with your advisor to give you an overview of the completed transactions. You will also receive your policy documents, which detail the terms of your pension withdrawal and any ongoing arrangements.

After successfully navigating the process of early pension access, it is critical that you do not consider this the end of your retirement planning.

An yearly assessment of your pension benefits is a must if you want to keep your retirement strategy matched with your changing demands and risk tolerance.

Your strategy and fund choice should derisk as you approach retirement age.

Potential Tax-Free Lump Sum at 50

The allure of accessing your pension for most people is the tax-free lump sum.

Whether you access it at age 50 or beyond. The potential tax-free lump sum is attractive to most.

In most cases, it’ll allow you to access 25% of your pension benefits tax-free  (within certain thresholds).

pension tax free lump sum

What is a pension tax-free lump sum?

The maximum pension tax-free lump sum in Ireland is €200,000.

This tax-free threshold is also a lifetime limit and will include all retirement lump sums paid to an individual from December 7th, 2005 onwards.

Name Pension Fund Value 25% Tax-Free Lump Sum Remainder 
Patrick €435,000 €108,750 €326,250
Pauline €244,000 €61,000 €179,000
Conor €350,000 €87,500 €262,500
Damien 545,000 €136,250 €408,750
Anne €134,000 €33,500 €100,500

Tax on a pension lump sum over €200,000

Any part of your pension lump sum that exceeds €200,000 will be seen as the ‘excess lump sum’.

Any excess will be taxed in two stages.

The amount between €200,0001 and €500,000 is taxable at the standard rate of tax (20%).

Any amount in excess of €500,000 is taxed under Pay As Your Earn (PAYE) at the marginal rate of (40%).

Lump-Sum Amount Tax Rate
Up to €200,000  0%
€200,0001-€500,000 20%
€500,000 upwards 40%

These limits can be from a combination of different pension arrangements you may have.

What Happens After I Access My Pension Benefits Early

Once you’ve successfully accessed your pension benefits early, you’ll have a decision.

The remainder of your pension benefits must be transferred to either an Approved Retirement Fund (ARF) or an Annuity.

Both options have distinct features and implications, and the right choice depends on your individual financial situation, goals, and risk tolerance.

Should I access my pension early?

Accessing your pension benefits early is a significant milestone, but it’s just the first step in a longer journey.

This decision should be part of a broader, well-structured financial plan.

Accessing your benefits early shouldn’t be a quick-fix.

It should be integrated into a comprehensive financial strategy.

This approach ensures that your immediate decision aligns with your long-term financial health and retirement goals.

At Pension Support Line, we use a state-of-the-art Financial Planning Software.

This allows you to look at several “what if” scenarios.It also allows us to eliminate guesswork.

(Above is a screenshot to show a sample of our Financial Planning Software – figures are for analysis purposes only)

Using such software allows you to forecast and assess your financial stability post-pension access.

It provides a clear picture of how your finances might look in different scenarios, aiding in making informed decisions.

Every individual’s financial situation and goals are unique.

There are no one-size-fits- all solutions.

Whether you should access your pension early or not is specific to your situation.

Understanding ARFs and Annuities

Approved Retirement Fund (ARF):

  • Definition: An ARF is an investment fund where you can keep your money invested after retirement, with the flexibility to withdraw funds as needed.
  • Control and Flexibility: You have control over the investments within the ARF and can decide how much to withdraw (subject to minimum withdrawal requirements).
  • Investment Risk: The value of an ARF can fluctuate depending on the performance of the underlying investments.
  • Passing on Wealth: On your death, the remaining funds in the ARF can be passed to your beneficiaries.


  • Definition: An annuity is a financial product that provides a guaranteed income for life or a specified period.
  • Security and Predictability: Annuities offer a fixed regular income, providing security and predictability in your retirement years.
  • No Investment Risk: Once purchased, the income from an annuity is not affected by market fluctuations.
  • Estate Considerations: Typically, annuities do not provide a residual value to your estate upon death, although certain types of annuities may include death benefits.

Making the Right Choice

Advantages of ARF
Advantages of Annuity

It’s a decision that should be made with a clear understanding of your financial needs, goals, and the characteristics of each option.

Below is a simplified version of the framework we use when assisting clients.

  • Assess Your Financial Needs: Consider your need for a stable income versus the desire for investment growth and flexibility. Annuities offer security, while ARFs provide more control and potential for growth.
  • Consider Your Health and Longevity: If you have a longer life expectancy, the guaranteed income of an annuity might be more appealing. Conversely, if you’re in good health and confident in managing investments, an ARF could be more beneficial.
  • Evaluate Your Risk Tolerance: An ARF exposes you to investment risk, which might not be suitable for everyone. If you prefer a risk-free income, an annuity might be the better option.
  • Estate Planning Goals: If leaving an inheritance is important to you, an ARF’s ability to pass on wealth to your beneficiaries might be more attractive than an annuity.

Due to the complexity and long-term implications of this decision, an experienced advisor  is recommended.

They can provide personalised advice based on your specific circumstances.

Do you qualify for accessing your pension at 50? (free assessment)

Determining your eligibility to access your benefits at 50 is the first step of this process.

Eligibility varies based on several factors, including the type of pension scheme you’re enrolled in and your employment status.

To simplify this process and provide you with a clear understanding of your eligibility, we’ve developed a straightforward approach involving a short questionnaire.

What happens after the questionnaire?

Determining your eligibility to access your benefits at 50 is the first step of this process.

Eligibility varies based on several factors, including the type of pension scheme you’re enrolled in and your employment status.

To simplify this process and provide you with a clear understanding of your eligibility, we’ve developed a straightforward approach involving a short questionnaire.

Want to cash in your pension early?

Take our 90-second assessment. One of our Senior Qualified Financial Advisors will be in touch to determine your eligibility and discuss options. 

We assisted over 2,000 clients and were shortlisted for Broker of Year 2023.

We’ve assisted clients from some of Ireland’s largest companies

Financial Implications of Early Pension Withdrawal

Accessing your pension benefits early, is a decision that should not be taken lightly.

While it offers immediate financial benefits, it’s crucial to understand the long-term implications.

Accessing your benefits early should align with your longer-term financial goals.

Any good financial advisor will always highlight both the advantages and drawbacks.

In this section, we’ll explore the key financial implications of early pension withdrawal.

  1. Reduced Pension Value: Withdrawing from your pension early means you start depleting your retirement funds sooner than planned, potentially reducing the total value available in your later years.
  2. Compounded Growth Loss: Early withdrawal can significantly impact the compounded growth of your pension fund. The longer your money is invested, the more potential it has to grow, thanks to the power of compound interest.
  3. Adjusting Retirement Expectations: If you choose to access your pension early, you may need to adjust your expectations for retirement. This could mean modifying your lifestyle, delaying full retirement, or finding alternative income sources.

The decision to access benefits early takes on more importance if you’re transferring out of a Defined Benefit pension plan.

Again, this is where an experienced advisor will take time to highlight the pros and cons.

While accessing your pension benefits at age 50 can be tempting, it’s not automatically the best choice for everyone.

It’s a decision that should be made after careful consideration of its impact on your long-term financial health and retirement goals.

Managing Your Funds Post-Access

We’ve looked at when accessing your benefits early may be a good idea.

We have also explained that once accessed, the balance will be placed into an Approved Retirement Fund (ARF) or Annuity.

However, it’s still to understand how you’ll manage your funds once you’ve taken your 25% lump sum.

If you’ve chosen the Approved Retirement Fund (ARF)  option, then there’ll be specific rules to abide by.

You’ll have to withdraw a minimum of 4% per annum from age 61 and 5% from age 71.

Whichever option you choose, here’s some points to keep front of mind:

  • Strategic withdrawals: If you decide to access your pension early, it’s crucial to plan strategic withdrawals. Your pension pot isn’t an infinite amount of money. Therefore, you must plan accordingly.
  • Tax Implications: Your pension withdrawals will be subject to taxation. However, there are certain tax-free thresholds, particularly as you reach age 65. It’s important to strategically plan your withdrawals and perhaps backload some for later years when you’re no longer working full-time.
  • Regular Financial Reviews: Post-withdrawal, it’s advisable to have regular financial reviews. These reviews can help you track the performance of your remaining pension funds and make necessary adjustments to your retirement plan.

Life After Early Pension Access

When accessing benefits, there’s often two main concerns.

The first is whether you can continue to work.

And the second is how you’ll be affected by potential taxes.

We explain both in detail below.

Can you work after accessing pension benefits early?

Many clients who we help access their benefits early continue to work.

This is often because they are accessing benefits from a previous employment, not their current job.

Ideally, the 25% lump sum from your pension benefits will give you a cash injection to do as you wish and you can continue to live and work as normal.

Also, Continuing to work allows you to supplement your income, reducing the need to withdraw heavily from your pension funds, thereby preserving them for later years.

Taxation considerations

Accessing your pension early can have tax implications. The amount you withdraw and your overall income level can affect your tax bracket and obligations.

However, there are tax breaks as you get older.

For instance, you can earn up to €36,000 per annum as a married couple age 65 or over without paying any income tax.

This is a crucial point often overlooked in retirement planning.

Keeping aspects such as this in mind will allow you to efficiently plan your retirement.

Seeking Qualified Financial Advice

Navigating the complexities of early pension access at 50 is a journey that requires careful consideration and strategic planning.

The importance of seeking professional advice cannot be overstated.

Each individual’s financial situation is unique, and the decisions made today can have lasting impacts on your financial security and retirement lifestyle.

At Pension Support Line,  we’ve successfully guided numerous clients to access their benefits early.

Many who work for some of Ireland’s largest companies.

Our experience and expertise allows us to offer tailored advice that aligns with each client’s specific needs.

Remember, accessing your pension benefits early is not just a financial decision; it’s a life decision.

It requires a holistic approach that considers your current financial needs, future retirement goals, and overall lifestyle aspirations.

If you’ve a pension and you’d like to assess your eligibility for early access,, you’re welcome to contact our team.

You can leave your details below and we’ll be in touch.

Access Your Pension

2,000+ Clients

Our Latest Blogs


Pension Legislation Changes You Should Know about as a Business Owner

In late 2022, there were some important changes to pension legislation. Personal Retirement Savings Accounts…

Why is Income Protection important?

For many of us, our income is our most important asset. Without an income, everything…
Early retirement in Ireland
Early Retirement

A Guide to Early Retirement in Ireland

The goal of this article is to assist you in planning for early retirement and…
Should I accept my enhanced transfer value
Enhanced Transfer Value

Should I Accept My Enhanced Transfer Value?

If you are one of the many people considering an Enhanced Transfer Value, you are…

Our team hold a combined 100+ years of industry experience

Call us on 01 890 3518 or fill out our quick contact form