People are living longer and healthier lives which means for many retirement is the start of a new and exciting chapter, therefore it is more important than ever to think about where your income will come from when you retire.

Contributing to a Pension can make up for the loss of income you may experience in retirement and ensure that you have accumulated enough funds to continue the same standard of living throughout your retirement years. It is important for you to take control of your retirement planning. Searing Point Wealth Management can build, manage and grow the optimum pension solution for you.

It is a Revenue requirement that your company invests in your executive pension but you can also choose to make additional voluntary contributions yourself. A percentage of your salary is put into the pension scheme automatically each payday,

It is a very tax efficient way of providing for your retirement, as both you and your company benefit from generous tax reliefs on contributions to your pension. In addition, your money grows tax-free until you retire.

Executive pension plans also offer a great deal of flexibility as you can:
  • Stop, start or vary your contributions at any time
  • Invest directly in all the main asset classes including equity, property, fixed interest and cash deposits
  • Pool your other eligible pensions into an executive pension plan
  • Keep your fund invested or transfer it to another pension arrangement when you change employment

They are a tax efficient, flexible and accessible way to provide financial security for your employees’ retirement.

If you are a member of an occupational pension scheme, then a group AVC scheme can be set up so you can improve the benefits you receive on retirement.

You can withdraw from it regularly to give yourself an income. When you die you can leave any remaining funds to your spouse/civil partner or other beneficiaries. The transfer of a matured pension fund into an ARF is an option for; holders of personal pension plans, proprietary directors, PRSA owners and also members of occupational schemes who have sufficient AVC contributions.

There are other conditions in place which determine the value which can be transferred to an ARF. These conditions centre on the risk that the retiree may withdraw too much too soon from the ARF and not having enough funds to cover their later retirement years. Before being able to purchase an ARF, it is a requirement that the individual has some other source of guaranteed pension income, this minimum level of income is €18,000.

If the minimum guaranteed income condition cannot be met, the individual may purchase an AMRF for €119,800.

If you are unsure if you qualify to invest your pension fund in an ARF please contact us to schedule a review of your retirement options.

Maintain Capital Value

The benefit of using an ARF is that your accumulated fund continues to be invested and grows tax free in capital value, after you retire.

Similar to when the pension investor needed an investment strategy while accumulating their pension fund up to retirement, another strategy is now required to continue to grow the pension fund while in retirement.

Recent changes to tax legislation have impacted the way ARF’s are taxed. Now, even if there is no drawdown of income from the ARF, a tax liability will be assessed each year on an assumed drawdown value.

The major benefit of an ARF over an annuity contract is the ability to transfer capital to an individual’s estate, after the death of the retiree. Unlike an annuity contract that ceases upon the death of the retiree (unless purchased with a guaranteed term), the balance of the ARF is passed on to the deceased retiree’s estate.

Depending on your pre retirement pension arrangements and your individual circumstances, your post retirement arrangements may include an ARF and an annuity contract.

Providing Income

In the past the ARF was seen as the capital preservation product and it still is when compared to annuities.

However revenue rules have now made ARF withdrawals a requirement. From 2010 the revenue will assume a drawdown of 5% of the asset value of the ARF, even if the withdrawal has not been made. Your tax liability will be based on this assumed drawdown. The national income drawdown has been increased from Budget 2011 to 5% of the asset value as of the valuation date Dec 31st.

It is therefore advisable to make a withdrawal of income to at least the assumed revenue percentage.

ARF Funds

An ARF can invest in almost anything that a pension fund can invest in. Therefore the same investment criteria applied in pre-retirement pension investment can be carried forward, although risk levels may lower and it should be assumed that a level of income will need to be drawn down each year.

Saving via a pension plan gives investors access to generous tax reliefs that are not available via other savings or investment plans. Pensions can be one of the most efficient vehicles to use when investing your surplus income over the longer term.

Personal pensions are available to those who are self-employed or who work in non-pensionable employment and who:

  • Wish to invest a % of their disposable income over the longer term
  • Wish to maintain their standard of living in retirement
  • Wish to invest their long-term savings in the most tax-efficient manner
  • Want to invest in a range of equity, property based funds &/or secure funds
  • Want more control over access & investment options of their accumulated pension funds in retirement

A change in the Finance Bill 2004 authorised small self administered pension schemes to borrow, other than in limited syndicated investment situations. This relaxation of the rules has allowed SSAPs assume a fresh impetus and direction. Property purchase at home and abroad is now readily realisable within one’s pension fund.

Why my own pension fund?

Because it embodies options, flexibility, transparency and control. Business-owners warm to the idea of knowing what’s going on – especially when it comes to a sizeable on-going investment of hard-earned money. This combination is ideally placed to give better value for money.

Flexibility: a wide range of investment options presents itself – stock-market investments, deposits, tax-exempt unit-funds, property, forestry.

Transparency: means no more and no less than having a handle on what’s happening to your money, how funds perform from year to year and charges incurred.

Control: puts the business-owner in the driving seat.

You can contribute to it whenever you want and stop making contributions at any time.  you change job, therefore a PRSA can be seen to be more flexible than the traditional personal pension plan. Your employer can contribute to your PRSA, unlike a personal pension plan where employers can’t make contributions.

The benefits of a PRSA pension are:
  • Tax relief on PRSA contributions
  • Any investment growth on your PRSA is tax-free
  • Flexibility – you decide how much to contribute to your PRSA
  • Take your PRSA with you when you move jobs
  • Stop and restart PRSA contributions at no extra cost
  • Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVCs)

If you are a member of an occupational pension scheme, then you may be in a position to improve the benefits you receive on retirement by making AVCs through a PRSA.

Due to the generous tax relief, this is undoubtedly the best value life cover you can buy and can be seen as one of the most cost-effective ways to protect your loved one’s future.

Company Pensions

A Company Pension or otherwise referred to as an Occupational Pension is one that is arranged for you by your employer. The purpose of this is to provide retirement benefits for some or all of its employees and can be seen as a highly rewarding company incentive.



A PRSA is a personally owned pension that lets you save for retirement on your own terms. You can contribute to it whenever you want and stop making contributions at any time.


Approved Retirement Funds

An Approved Retirement Fund (ARF) is a personal retirement fund into which an individual can, in certain circumstances, transfer part of their maturing retirement fund instead of using those funds to buy an annuity or take as a taxable lump sum.


Group Schemes

In a group pension, the scheme is run by a pension provider that your employer chooses, It’s a collection of individual pension plans – and one of these plans will belong to you. Your pension pot builds up using your contributions, any contributions your employer makes, investment returns and tax relief.


Pension Term Assurance

Pension Term Assurance is life insurance that covers the period of time up until retirement. If you die during this term (i.e. before retirement), your family will receive a payment to ensure they do not suffer financial hardship.


Personal Pensions

Personal or private pensions refer to a pension that is organised individually by self-employed people or employed people who do not have the opportunity to avail of an occupational scheme. You choose the provider and make arrangements for your contributions to be paid.



The term Self Administered refers to a pension where you have the opportunity to decide yourself what the pension fund will invest in. .It allows you to enjoy the greatest level of control over the direction of your investments, including access to investment in property and structured investment bonds while also being a tax efficient investment scheme.


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