Pensions for the Self Employed

Tax efficient investment for Self Employed Individuals

In Ireland, self-employed individuals are responsible for their own pension provision and the government does not provide a state pension for the self-employed. However, there are several options available for self-employed individuals to save for their retirement:

  • Personal Pension Plan:

Self-employed individuals can set up their own personal pension plan, which allows them to make regular contributions and benefit from tax relief.

  • PRSA (Personal Retirement Savings Account):

A PRSA is a type of personal pension plan that is open to all workers, including the self-employed. Contributions to a PRSA can be tax-deductible, and investment growth is tax-free.

  • Retirement Annuity Contracts:

A Retirement Annuity Contract (RAC) is a type of pension plan that is designed for self-employed individuals and small business owners. Contributions to a RAC can be tax-deductible and investment growth is tax-free.

  • Occupational Pension Schemes:

Self-employed individuals who are members of certain professions or trades may be able to join an occupational pension scheme.

  • State Pension (contributory):

Self-employed individuals can also pay PRSI contributions and qualify for the State Pension (contributory), which is a means-tested pension for those who have paid sufficient PRSI contributions.

It’s important for self-employed individuals to consider their retirement planning needs and start saving as early as possible. Consulting with a financial advisor or a pension specialist can help them to choose the best pension option that suits their needs and circumstances.

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What are the main tax benefits of Pensions for Self employed professionals in Ireland?

Pensions for self-employed professionals in Ireland can provide a number of tax benefits, some of the main ones include:

1.  Tax relief on contributions:

Self-employed individuals can claim tax relief on contributions made to a pension plan at their marginal rate of income tax.

2.  Tax-free growth:

Investment growth within a pension plan is tax-free.

3. Tax-free withdrawals:

Withdrawals from a pension plan in retirement are generally tax-free if prudently advised and implemented

4. Tax-free death benefits:

Death benefits paid to beneficiaries from a pension plan are generally tax-free.

5. Retirement planning:

Pensions can be a good way to save for retirement and the government encourages it by providing tax benefits.

It is important to note that tax laws and regulations are subject to change and it’s always best to consult with a tax professional or the revenue services to confirm the actual tax treatment of pensions for self-employed individuals in Ireland. Additionally, pension plans have different features and it’s important to choose one that suits your specific needs and circumstances.

How are the main access rules for self employed pensions in Ireland?

  • Age: Most pension plans have a minimum age requirement for access, typically between 50 and 60 years of age, depending on which pension vehicle you choose.
  • Taxation: Withdrawals from a pension plan in Ireland are generally tax-free, but there may be limits on the amount that can be withdrawn tax-free.
  • Annuity Purchase: Some pension plans require the purchase of an annuity, which provides a guaranteed income for life.
  • Flexibility: From April 2021, pension plans have more flexibility in terms of when and how much money can be withdrawn, but still subject to the above rules.
  • Minimum contributions: There may be minimum contribution requirements to be eligible for tax relief, and some plans may have limits on the maximum contributions that can be made.


It’s important to note that the rules and regulations regarding pension plans can change over time and it is always best to consult with a financial advisor or pension specialist to understand the specific access rules of the plan you are enrolled in.

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Who provides pensions for the self employed in Ireland?

Pensions for the self-employed in Ireland are typically provided by financial institutions such as:

  1. Insurance companies: Many insurance companies in Ireland offer pension plans, including Personal Pension Plans, PRSAs, Retirement Annuity Contracts and others.
  2. Banks: Some banks in Ireland offer pension plans, including Personal Pension Plans and PRSAs.
  3. Investment firms: Some investment firms in Ireland offer pension plans, including Personal Pension Plans, PRSAs, and Retirement Annuity Contracts.
  4. Independent Financial Advisors (IFAs): Independent Financial Advisors can provide advice and guidance on the best pension plan options for self-employed individuals and can offer a variety of pension plans from different providers.
  5. Pension providers: There are also pension providers that specialize in pension plans for self-employed individuals, they can offer a variety of pension plans and solutions.

Where are the pension funds invested?

Pension funds are invested in a variety of assets, depending on the investment strategy and risk tolerance of the fund. Please note that pension funds can be invested in low,medium or high risk investments. Some low risk investors may decide to invest in a cash fund but it is usually recommended at least a portion of the fund into other assets (mentioned below). The most common types of assets that pension funds invest in include:

1. Cash; This asset is basically leaving your pension funds in a financial bank account. It is very low risk but alternatively, no potential return is ever generated from this asset.

2. Stocks: Pension funds invest in stocks, which are shares of ownership in a company. This can provide the fund with a share of the company’s profits and potential for capital appreciation.

3. Bonds: Pension funds invest in bonds, which are debt securities issued by companies or governments. This can provide the fund with a steady stream of income in the form of interest payments.

4.  Real estate: Pension funds invest in real estate, which can include commercial properties, residential properties, and real estate investment trusts.

5. Commodities: Pension funds may invest in commodities such as gold, oil, and other natural resources.

6. Alternatives: Pension funds may also invest in alternative investments such as hedge funds, private equity, and venture capital.

Most of the main Pension Providers in Ireland use Multi Asset Funds to provide individuals with the choice of investing in all of the assets mentioned above.

Multi Asset Funds (A mixture of assets)

Multi-asset funds are a type of investment fund that invests in a diversified portfolio of assets, including stocks, bonds, real estate, commodities, and other alternative investments. The main goal of multi-asset funds is to provide investors with a diversified portfolio that can help to spread risk and maximize returns.

One of the key advantages of multi-asset funds is their diversification. By investing in a variety of different assets, multi-asset funds can help to reduce the impact of market volatility on the overall portfolio. This can help to protect investors from significant losses during market downturns.

Multi-asset funds are also typically managed by professional fund managers who have the expertise and resources to make investment decisions on behalf of the fund’s investors. These managers use a variety of investment strategies, such as asset allocation, risk management, and portfolio rebalancing, to help achieve the fund’s objectives.

There are different types of multi-asset funds, such as target-date funds, which are designed for investors with a specific investment horizon, like retirement, and balanced funds, which aim to provide a balance between growth and income.

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