What is a pension?

A pension (sometimes called a pension scheme) is a long term savings plan to help you build up a pension fund for when you retire. Many pensions have better tax incentives compared to other types of savings. These incentives are to encourage you to start saving into a pension as early as possible for your retirement. There are many different types of pensions, some are run by your employer called occupational pensions, others can be set up by you which are called private pensions or, if you are working in the public service you will have a public service pension. These types of pensions in addition to the State Pension, are intended to provide you with an income when you retire.

Some of the types of pensions are listed below, including information on getting financial advice and making a complaint about your pension.

State Pension

The State pension is a regular payment from the Government that most people can claim when they reach the State pension age.

Personal Pensions

A personal pension is a retirement savings plan in which you make contributions either on a regular basis or a once off lump sum.


Occupational pension schemes are set up by employers to provide pensions for their employees.

Public service

Public service pensions, including civil service pensions, are occupational pension schemes set up by the Government for employees in the public service, local authorities, or semi-state companies.

Financial advice

Pensions are complex products and can be difficult to understand. If you want to buy a personal pension, strongly consider getting financial advice.

Make a complaint

How and where you make a complaint about your pension will depend on the type of pension you have. Click here to find out more about this process.

Explainer Videos

Eoin McGee, host of CCPC-sponsored TV show How to be Good With Money, presents four videos explaining pension topics.