We all want a secure and comfortable future and If you are at the point in your life where you are beginning to think about how your future and your pension will look, you’re in the right place, You can never start thinking about your pension too early or too late so whether you’re just starting your career or approaching retirement age, having a clear grasp of pension choices can significantly impact your financial well-being in your later years.

Read on for our guide on understanding the different pension options in Ireland. 

State Pension

The State Pension is the most traditional retirement income for many Irish citizens and comes in two forms: Contributory and Non-Contributory. To qualify for the Contributory State Pension, you need a certain number of social insurance contributions. The Non-Contributory State Pension is means-tested, ensuring a basic income for those who don’t qualify for the Contributory Pension.

Occupational Pension Schemes

Employer-sponsored pension schemes offer a reliable way to save for retirement. 

An occupational pension is a pension provided by your employer. They are also known as company or employers’ pension plans. Occupational pension schemes provide a regular income after retirement. Some also give you a lump sum payment when you retire.

If your employer does not have an occupational pension scheme, they must give you access to a type of pension plan called a Personal Retirement Savings Account (PRSA).

Each pension scheme has its own set of rules. Pension schemes are generally regulated by the Pensions Authority. Members of schemes have certain rights, to information about their pension, for example.

You can get tax relief on your contributions at source via the payroll.


Additional Voluntary Contributions, or AVCs, are contributions you can make to supplement your existing company pension. 

Executive Pensions now called Retail Master Trust

An executive pension plan is suitable for company owners and directors. These types of plans help employers get the most they can from their contributions. 

 Personal Pension Options 

  • Personal Pension – If you are self-employed, or if your employer does not offer a pension scheme.
  • PRSA Pension – Personal Retirement Savings Accounts (PRSAs) are pension options that offer flexibility and control over your retirement funds. They are flexible pensions to suit everyone, regardless of your employment status.
  • Retirement Bond – A retirement bond that lets you take your existing pension entitlements with you when you change employment, without having to transfer to your new employer’s scheme.

Considerations When Choosing a Pension 

Several factors will influence your pension choice:

Age: The earlier you start, the longer your contributions have to grow.

Risk Tolerance: Consider your comfort level with investment risk and choose a scheme that aligns with it.

Retirement Goals: Define your retirement lifestyle and choose a pension that supports it.

Seeking Expert Advice

While understanding the basics is crucial, pensions can be complex. Seeking advice from certified financial advisors can help you make well-informed decisions tailored to your unique circumstances.

Confidently navigating pension options in Ireland is an important aspect of securing a comfortable retirement. Understanding your pension options will allow you to make informed choices which align with your circumstances and financial goals. Need some support? Why not chat to our friendly expert team today? 

Zurich also have a handy Maximum Pension Contribution Calculator, you can find it here