Early retirement is a goal for many workers in Ireland. Those last few years of work are an important time for many people’s family lives as children are now at the age where they are getting married and having kids of their own.

Some people may have already paid off the mortgage and just have less of an incentive to work.

However most people in Ireland don’t have enough money to just pack in their job and walk off into the sunset.

Retirement can last 20+ years and you need to be prepared for whatever life throws at you.

This article will outline how you can best manage your pension to leave the workforce early and get a jump on the golden year.

Options for early retirement

Those fortunate enough to have a personal or company pension can consider the following options as a way to help secure a financial position that would allow for early retirement.

Cash in your pension early

Cashing in your pension early allows you to cash out 25% or €200,000 (whichever comes first) from your personal pension. This comes in the form of a Tax free lump sum.

This is a popular option for those seeking early retirement as it allows you to have quick access to a large sum of money while also having savings left to live off throughout retirement.

This option is available from the age of 50 right up through retirement.

If you have a personal pension or a company pension (of an employer you no longer work for), you should consider cashing in your pension early as an early retirement option.

Case Study

J.C / 58 / self employed / Galway / single, was approaching retirement age but after years of focusing on their career, which involved a lot of travel, they decided it was time to focus more on their family and watch their grandchildren growing up.

They had a lot saved in their personal pension and a company pension he had from their time working with eircom.
J.C got in contact with the National Pension Helpline who were able to help cash in 25% of their personal pension and old workplace pension.
This gave them the financial freedom to leave their current job and spend more time with their family, while also still having enough savings to last through retirement.

Buying property with your pension

Buying property with your pension is a popular retirement investment option. It involves using funds from your pension to pay for a residential, commercial or industrial property.

You are able to receive tax free income through rental income as well as avoid capital gains tax when it comes time to sell the property.

There are limitations to this scheme however. You may not rent or sell the property to friends, family or business associates.

If you have the pension funds to pay for a property, this is a great option for generating a steady income through retirement with minimal work.

This is a very safe investment option as your property is most likely to increase in value.

Case study

E.C / 60 / Cork / married / doctor was looking for a pension investment that would allow them to reduce their workload as they approached retirement age. The stress of the job was becoming more of a factor into the golden age of retirement.

E.C had a personal pension as well as a HSE Superannuation Scheme. They decided that they would like to buy a residential property using their personal pension fund and live off the tax free rental income.

When it comes time to sell the house they will be able to sell the property avoiding capital gains tax on the property which has already increased by 6% in value.

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Factors to consider before early retirement

Early retirement is a goal for most people but it is not a smart financial option for most people.

Before you make any decision on early retirement you should consider the following.

  • State pension
  • Post retirement income
  • Post retirement expenditure
  • Lifestyle

State pension eligibility

To be eligible for a state pension you must have 2,080 or more PRSI contributions. This is equal to 40 years of employment.
This makes early retirement difficult for those who rely partly or fully on a state pension for retirement planning.

Those who have been in the workforce and paying PRSI since the age of 18 will have to work until age 58 at the earliest to retire and receive a state pension.

Post retirement income

When we retire we lose our main and in some cases only source of income. For the rest of our lives we then have to live off the state pension and whatever savings we have in the bank or pension.
Before you choose to retire early, make sure you have planned for retirement income.

Post retirement expenditure

When we retire we hope that the amount of outgoing expenses have minimised. Hopefully by retirement age your pension has been paid off, children have joined the workforce and all loans have been paid off.

It is important to consider your expenses before early retirement and how much longer you will have to pay off these expenses.


When planning for retirement it is important to consider how much your lifestyle is going to cost.

If travel and luxury is something you want from retirement, make sure you consider this when choosing how early you wish to leave the workforce.

Begin your early retirement planning

If early retirement is a goal of yours, get in touch with the National Pension Helpline.

Our advisers have the expert knowledge to help you achieve your financial goals.

Fill in our eligibility quiz and a member of our team will be in touch with you.

If you want to learn more about early retirement visit our other articles:
How much do I need to retire in Ireland
Pension investment options