Are you looking forward to a happy retirement, surrounded by the people you love and the things that matter most to you?

Reaching retirement is a wonderful reward after years of working hard. Whether you dream of a life that’s all go or you’re hoping to finally put your feet up and relax, it’s important to prepare for your future financially. 

As you think about your future, you may have a few questions like how much money do I need to save for retirement? Is it too soon to start a pension? Or am I entitled to a state pension?

The earlier you start a pension, the easier it could be to build up your fund which will allow you enjoy a comfortable retirement. Our pension calculator will help you understand if you’re on track to reach your monthly savings goal to achieve the future you want. 

What is a state pension?

A state pension is a weekly payment that the government provides to eligible individuals over the age of 66. It’s intended to provide a basic level of income to help cover living expenses once you’ve retired. 

How much is the state pension in Ireland?

As of January 2024, the state pension in Ireland is a maximum of €277.30 per week. This works out at approximately €14,400 a year or €39.50 per day. So, when you’re planning for your retirement, the big questions are:  

  • How much will your income drop after you retire? 
  • Will the state pension be enough for you to live on?  
  • How can you close the gap between the income you’re used to and the amount the state pension can provide? 

A private pension could be the answer. Personal pensions, also known as private pensions, are a way of saving for your retirement that could give you significant income tax relief. These contributions are invested and any investment gains you make grow tax-free. So, you can use your pension to save up money and give yourself an income after you retire. You will have to pay tax on this income when you draw it down. 

According to the annual pension coverage report from the Central Statistics Office (CSO), one in three workers in Ireland doesn’t have a private pension set up[1]. If you’re one of them, it could be because you haven’t gotten around to it yet, or you feel you can’t afford it. But there are small steps you can start taking at any time. 

Our expert advisors are on hand to discuss your pensions options with you, so you can feel confident that you’re doing everything you can to secure your future. Select one of the options at the bottom of this page to take the next steps.  

What are the benefits of a private pension?

A private pension can offer many benefits. Here are some of the key advantages:

  • More money to spend in retirement: A private pension allows you to supplement the income you get from the state pension. And if you have a company pension, your contributions may also be matched by your employer. 
  • Greater control over your retirement savings: With a private pension, you can choose how much you want to contribute to your pension fund, within certain limits based on your age, and work with a financial advisor to manage it as time goes on. 
  • Access to tax breaks: You may be able to claim income tax relief on your private pension contributions, which means that you can effectively boost the amount of money you save for your retirement. This tax relief is not available for state pensions. 
  • Early retirement: Depending on your circumstances, a private pension gives you the option of retiring earlier than 66 years old, the qualifying age for state pensions. 
  • You can top up your pension potAdditional voluntary contributions (AVCs) are extra contributions that you can make to your pension plan on top of your regular contributions. These contributions are voluntary, and you can choose how much to contribute and when. AVCs can be particularly beneficial if you have had a career break, during maternity leave, or have an irregular income pattern and want to bump up your retirement savings. 

Frequently asked questions on the state pension in Ireland 

If you want to retire abroad or continue working while collecting the state pension, it’s good to know all the options available to you. 

Who is entitled to the state pension in Ireland?

In Ireland, anyone over the age of 66 with enough pay-related social insurance (PRSI) contributions is entitled to receive the contributory state pension. The amount you get depends on the number of years you contribute to the Irish social insurance system. At a minimum, you must have been employed before the age of 56 and have paid 520 full-rate PRSI contributions before you reach retirement age. 

What types of PRSI contributions are there in Ireland? 

There are 11 different kinds of pay-related social insurance (PRSI) class in Ireland. They can be broadly divided into three categories: 

  • Public service workers: usually, these workers are Classes B, C, D, and H. They will typically qualify for the public service pension scheme in addition to the state pension. 
  • Private sector workers (and certain public servants): most of these workers fall under Classes A, E, and J. While they may be part of occupational pension schemes through their employer, many may also have their own private pensions. Click here to find out more about Personal Retirement Savings Accounts
  • Self-employed workers: if you are self-employed then you will likely be making Class S PRSI contributions. You can qualify for the state pension, but it’s worth setting up your own pension as a self-employed worker as well. 

How much is the non-contributory state pension in Ireland? 

Under what’s called the non-contributory state pension, you can receive up to €266 a week if you’re under 80 years of age – even if you haven’t paid enough PRSI to qualify for the state pension. Aged 80 and over, it’s €276 a week. Your non-contributory state pension rate depends on the outcome of a means test.

Can I still claim the state pension if I live abroad?

Even if you have worked or lived abroad, you still may be able to claim the state pension in Ireland. Similarly, if you have worked in Ireland but you dream of retiring elsewhere, the contributory state pension can be paid into your bank account wherever you are as long as you have paid enough PRSI contributions. 

With a non-contributory state pension, you must be a resident in Ireland to continue receiving it. 

Can I claim a state pension and still work in Ireland?

While many of us dream of putting our feet up once we retire, some people have different needs and aspirations. If you plan on working after the age of 66, you may be glad to know that you can still claim the state pension – even if you have other income.

If you claim a non-contributory state pension, you can continue to work, however, this may impact the amount of money you receive each week as the state pension is means-tested. 

Main takeaways on the state pension in Ireland  

The state pension can help you maintain a basic standard of living, and the amount you get is based on your contributions. A private pension helps to secure the future you want by supplementing the €277.30 per week you would get from the state pension (as of January 2024).  

The pensions landscape in Ireland is changing, and the Government plans to introduce auto-enrolment in Ireland by the end of 2024. Figuring out your pension needs can seem daunting, and it’s not something you have to figure out alone. 

Next steps: Calculate your pension

Or whether you’re looking for advice on AVCs or are simply curious about your options for your personal pension, our expert advisors are on hand to help. Get straightforward financial advice on personal pensions by speaking to our advisors at a time that suits you.