Can I set up a joint pension?

My husband is a stay-at-home father to our four children while I go out to work, but I’m not sure what will happen when he comes to retire.

I’m part of my employer’s pension scheme and am earning National Insurance contributions towards the state pension, but my husband isn’t making any provisions because he stays at home. I was wondering if I could set up a joint pension for both of us so we can both have an income when we’re older?

Question asked by Mrs M James
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Answered by Michael Englefield

Are there joint pension plans for married couples?

The short answer is no, there aren’t joint pension schemes for married couples. Pensions are held in separate names, not joint names.

Joint annuity

However, once you reach the age of 55, you have the option to use your retirement savings to buy a joint annuity. This is an income for life, which will be paid to a designated dependant, usually your spouse or partner, after you die.


You can choose how much income you want them to receive as a percentage of the annuity that you receive during your lifetime. This can be anything up to 100% of the income you get.

Bear in mind that with a joint pension, your starting income will be lower than if you’d opted to buy an annuity solely for yourself.

The biggest risk of opting for joint annuities is that if the dependant you’ve designated to receive an income dies first, you’ll have a lower income for the remainder of your life.

National Insurance credits to get the full state pension

If you’re currently receiving child benefit, your husband may be entitled to some National Insurance credits for the time he has spent out of work caring for your children, which could help him build up entitlement to the full state pension.

Paying into a private pension if you’re not working

Your husband could also choose to start his own private or personal pension, even though he doesn’t work. He’ll still receive tax relief at 20% on his contributions, even though he doesn’t pay tax. If he does set one of these up, the maximum he can pay in is £3,600 a year, made up of his contributions of £2,880 and topped up by a HMRC’s contribution of £720.

Personal pension
National Insurance contributions
Retirement income
This information does not constitute financial or other professional advice. You should consult your professional adviser or contact us directly on 02084327333 should you require financial advice. It is important to ensure any insurance policy you take out is suitable for your needs.
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