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Joining a plan

Making decisions on joining

Depending on the type of pension arrangement you are joining or taking out, you may have to make certain decisions on joining. Generally, you will need to complete an application form to become a member of a pension scheme or start a pension contract. This will require you to confirm your personal details and outlines areas where you will need to make a decision.

If you are taking out a personal pension or PRSA, the main decision you will have to make is how much to contribute.

The Pensions Authority's online Pension Calculator can help you with this decision.

In a defined contribution scheme you may also have a decision on how much to contribute, especially if the employer's contribution depends on how much you pay.

In a defined benefit scheme you may also have the option to make additional voluntary contributions.

Other decisions that you have to make may include investment decisions, and deciding how any benefits payable on your death should be administered. Your application form will generally ask you about dependants and other beneficiaries if they are covered.

The importance of starting a pension early is illustrated  in this example based on someone contributing 15% of a typical salary to a pension fund.  The amount built-up in the fund is illustrated at each age shown below.  In this example, the pension fund accumulated at age 65 by someone who only starts to contribute at 45 is less than half that of someone who starts to contribute when they are 25.  So it makes sense to start early.

The Pensions Board - The Importance of Starting Early