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August 23, 2023

What Is the Average Pension in Ireland? (2024 Stats, Factors)

Find out the average pension in Ireland and if that’s sufficient for your retirement. Also, learn what factors affect pensions and how to boost your savings.

Aine Kavanagh

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Aine Kavanagh

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The average pension in Ireland is approximately €111,000, according to surveys conducted in 2024.

Is this enough to sustain yourself in retirement? 

What’s considered a good pension pot? 

We’ll answer these questions and break down Ireland’s average pension.

Further Reading

  • Can’t report to work due to illness or injury? Find out which Irish Illness Benefit Form you should submit to get the social welfare payment.

What Is the Average Pension in Ireland?

According to a 2024 Pension Support Line study [1], the average pension pot of Irish employees at retirement is about €111,000.

The same study also found that employees expected to receive a pension pot of around €433,000 at retirement — much higher than the average pension of €111,000. 

Why is the average pension not sufficient?

According to Numbeo [2], Ireland is the 20th most expensive country to live in, making it essential to have a substantial pension pot.

Now, one of the crucial factors affecting your pension pot is inflation. 

Ireland’s core inflation rate (which excludes volatile food and energy costs) was 5.3% in January 2024 [3], mainly due to higher mortgage interest rates and transport costs.  

Some experts predict that prices will continue to rise slowly in most sectors — even though the general inflation rate seems to be falling [4]. 

For instance, did you know Diageo recently announced a 6-cent hike in the price of its pints (their third hike in 18 months)? [5]  This is after a 12-cent hike in February 2023!

Bottom line: At the current average pension rate, most individuals won’t be able to afford a basic standard of living post-retirement in Ireland.  

That’s why ALONE (a national charity) has asked the government to implement benchmarking for the State Pension, as per the commitment made in the Roadmap to Social Inclusion 2020-2025 policy [6].

But how many people rely on the State Pension?

Let's take a look.

Important Irish Pension Statistics

A 2023 Pension Coverage survey [7] conducted by Ireland’s Central Statistics Office (CSO) observed that: 

  • The State Pension was the primary income source during retirement for 59% (two points up from 57% in 2022) of workers without pension coverage. This is concerning because the State Pension amounts to just approx. €14,400 a year in 2024, insufficient to cover one’s living expenses in Ireland. 

  • Only 68% (a 2% increase from 66% in 2022) of employees had some pension coverage, such as personal or occupational pension schemes, in addition to the State Pension.

  • Defined contribution (DC) pensions covered 66% (up from 62% in 2022) of employees enrolled in occupational schemes from their current employer, while defined benefit (DB) pensions covered only 30% (down from 32% in 2022). This shows that DC pensions are more popular than DB plans in Ireland. 

  • Pension coverage was lowest among young workers — only 33% (a 2% increase from 31% in 2022) of workers aged 20-24 had some form of pension coverage.

Further Reading

  • Explore the nitty-gritty of Triple Lock Pension in the UK (+3 major ways it benefits pensioners).

  • Want guaranteed access to a workplace pension plan in the UK? Learn all about the Auto-Enrolment Pension scheme.

What Is Considered a Good Retirement Pension Pot in Ireland?

A "good pension pot" is subjective, and your retirement pension may differ based on your salary, requirements, and circumstances.

Financial advisors typically recommend aiming for 50% of your gross pre-retirement income [8] as a pension. So, if you earned €75,000 per annum before retirement, you’ll need an annual income of at least €37,500 in retirement. 

Let’s look at rough estimates of what you should aim to accumulate in your pension pot throughout your career. 

Note: We calculated these estimates using Ireland’s average wage for full-time workers, which is around €44,202 (pre-tax) per year, according to a 2024 survey by Morgan McKinley [9].

  • Average Pension Pot at 30: A 2024 study by Fidelity [10] suggests having 1x your salary in your pension pot by the time you’re 30. Considering Ireland's average wage is about €44,202 per year, aim for a pension pot of the same amount by 30.

  • Average Pension Pot at 40: By age 40, you should have at least 3x your salary [10] in your pension pot, which would be approximately €132,606.

  • Average Pension Pot at 50: At 50, aim to have 5x your salary [10] saved in your pension pot, which should be approximately €221,010.

  • Average Pension Pot at 60 and Above: By 60, aim to have 8x your salary [10] in your pension pot, which amounts to approximately €353,616. At retirement age (usually 66), your pension pot should have 10x your salary [10], amounting to €442,020. 

Since these estimates are based on Ireland’s average wage, they may not resonate with your current salary. This information should be treated only as a guideline, not as financial advice. Please consult certified financial planning experts for accurate pension advice based on your personal situation.

Is your pension pot smaller than you had expected?

Let’s find out why.

6 Key Factors Affecting Your Pension Pot in Ireland

Some factors that affect pension entitlements are as follows:

1. Type of Pension Scheme

Your pension entitlement may differ based on the scheme you have opted for. 

For example, at retirement, some schemes provide a fixed pension amount based on your salary and other conditions, whereas the returns of some schemes depend on investment performance. 

Types of Pensions Available in Ireland

Three types of pension schemes are available to Irish citizens:

  • State Pension: The State Pension (Contributory) and the State Pension (Non-Contributory) are two social welfare payments made by the Irish government to people aged 66 and above. 

  • Occupational Pension: An occupational pension scheme is offered to employees by their employers. A defined contribution pension scheme is Ireland’s most common occupational pension scheme.

  • Personal Pension: Personal pension (aka private pension) plans are available to self-employed people or employees whose employer doesn’t offer an occupational pension. There are two types of personal pensions: Retirement Annuity Contracts (RAC) and Personal Retirement Savings Accounts (PRSA). 

2. Contribution Rate

The more you put into your pension pot, the better entitlements you get. 

Consider increasing your pension contribution levels if your employer also contributes to your pension. Your employer may sometimes match your contributions (up to a specific limit), resulting in a larger pension pot at retirement. 

3. Income levels

A higher income level will allow you to make larger contributions toward your pension pot. You should consider how an increase or decrease in salary may impact your pension pot. 

4. Gender 

Your gender can also affect your pension pot upon retirement. 

In March 2021, the OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) reported that women aged between 65 and 79 receive 26% less pension than men in Ireland.

This pension gap mainly arises because women often work part-time, take career breaks, earn less during their working lives, and face high childcare costs. 

As a result, they contribute less to their pensions and have smaller savings.

To help reduce this pension gap, the Irish government launched the "Long-term Carers Contribution" scheme in January 2024. This scheme lets people who have been full-time carers for at least 20 years (1,040 weeks) qualify for the State Pension (Contributory).

5. Inflation

Inflation can cause your pension to lose value over time. 

As goods and services get more expensive, your pension pot’s purchasing power reduces. Sound investment decisions and professional financial advice can help to prevent these losses.  

6. Life Expectancy

Ireland's average life expectancy rate as of 2024 is 82 years

How does that affect pensions?

You may need a larger pension pot to sustain yourself after retirement. 

For instance, if you retire at 66 and live until 82 (average life expectancy in Ireland), your retirement fund should last 16 years.

Learn about the Retirement Age in Ireland.

Due to rising life expectancy rates, the Irish government increased the State Pension age from 65 to 66 in 2014. Although it was expected to rise to 67 in 2021 and then to 68 by 2028, no provisions for change have been made as of January 2024.

When Can You Claim Your Retirement Pension in Ireland?

It depends on your age and the pension scheme you’re in. 

Let’s look at Ireland’s three pension types to understand when you can claim your pension income: 

  • State Pension: The State Pension is only paid to people aged 66 and above. 

  • Occupational Pension: In most cases, you can claim an occupational pension when you reach the retirement age of 65 or 66, depending on any contractual provisions for mandatory retirement age. However, you can also claim your pension income at 50 if your employer and scheme trustees permit.

  • Personal Pension: You can claim your pension income at 60 by investing in an Approved Retirement Fund (ARF) or purchasing an annuity. You can also claim your pension income at 50 by taking an early retirement if you have retired from PAYE (Pay As You Earn) employment and are not working elsewhere. 

Further Reading

4 Tips to Maximise Your Savings at Retirement 

Want to increase your retirement savings?

Here’s how you can do that:

  • Start Saving Early: Starting pension savings early leads to higher investment growth, resulting in a larger pension pot that could sustain your standard of living during retirement. So, if you haven’t started saving yet, we recommend doing it immediately. 

  • Define Your Retirement Goals: Defining your retirement goals will allow you to make realistic pension-saving decisions. Once you have decided what you want, you can focus on expenses like healthcare and travel. 

  • Evaluate Your Investment Performance: Regularly review your pension fund performance against relevant benchmarks to make informed decisions. Also, consider if the value of your pension fund aligns with your retirement needs.

  • Seek Professional Advice: Understanding the performance of your pension fund can be complex. Seek financial advice from a qualified financial adviser who can help with retirement planning. They can analyse your investment strategy to ensure you’re on the right track.

3 FAQs on Average Pension in Ireland

Here are the answers to some commonly asked questions on Irish average pensions. 

1. How Much Will an Irish Pension Provider Charge to Manage Your Fund?

The fees pension providers may charge to manage your investments typically consist of the following:

  • Annual Management Charge (AMC): This ranges from 0.5% to 1.5% on average and is based on the value of your savings each year. The charges may differ across funds.

  • Entry fees/charges: Usually between 2% to 5% of your contributions. This fee applies to the money you invest in your pension fund.

  • Policy fee: A fixed monthly payment of around €5 that covers administrative expenses.

But look: 

Once the Irish government implements the auto-enrolment scheme (expected to launch in early 2025), these charges will be capped at 0.5% to cover all administrative and investment service charges.

Understand Ireland’s Auto-enrolment Scheme in detail. 

2. How Much Tax Do You Have to Pay on Your Pension in Ireland?

Under the PAYE (Pay As You Earn) system, all occupational pensions and social welfare payments from the Department of Social Protection are subject to taxation. 

However, you don’t have to pay USC (Universal Social Charge) and social insurance (PRSI contributions) on social welfare payments.

If you’re above 66, you’re liable to income tax on your annual retirement income. 

The first part of your income is taxed at 20% based on the standard rate cut-off points, and the remaining income is taxed at a higher tax rate of 40%.

When you retire, you can claim a portion of your pension as a tax-free lump sum (up to a specific limit), subject to certain conditions. 

But does everyone have to pay taxes?

In certain circumstances, such as if you’re 65 or older and earn below a specific income level, you may be eligible for a total income tax exemption

This income level is called the exemption limit. 

  • For individuals aged 65 and over, this limit is set at €18,000 per year. 

  • For married couples (with at least one spouse aged 65 or above), the limit is €36,000 per year

Additionally, for couples with dependent children, this exemption limit increases with each child.

Learn more about Tax Relief on Pension Contributions in Ireland.

3. What Would My Pension Amount be If I Don't Have a Workplace or Private Pension Pot?

If you don’t have a workplace or private pension pot to support yourself in retirement, you can avail of the State Pension.

As of 2024, the maximum weekly rate of the State Pension (Contributory) is €277.30 per week (€14,400 per annum).

If you don't qualify for the contributory pension, you can avail of the State Pension (Non-Contributory). It’s paid at a weekly pension rate of €266 per week if you're under 80 years of age and at a rate of €276 per week if you're 80 and above.

Offer Flexible Retirement Plans to Your Employees With Kota 

In Ireland, 50% of workers [7] don’t have access to an occupational pension because their employers don’t offer one.

As a result, most Irish employees become dependent on the State Pension, which isn’t sufficient to sustain them during retirement. 

Want to offer affordable and flexible pension plans for your employee’s welfare?

Try Kota.

Kota is a digital employee benefits app that allows you to manage, pay, and scale your health and pension benefits globally from a single centralised platform.

With Kota, you can: 

  • Enrol your staff in award-winning pension schemes within minutes.

  • Set matching employer and employee contributions.

  • Give employees complete ownership of their pension.

  • Automate pension provision to reduce extensive paperwork and administrative costs.

  • Stay up-to-date on how your package competes locally with geo-based data.

Join Kota today and empower your people with our all-in-one digital pension app.  


1. Pension Support Line IE - What is the average pension in Ireland?

2. Numbeo - Cost of Living Index by Country 2024

3. Statista - Core inflation rate in Ireland 1983-2024.

4. Irish Examiner - Price inflation falls below 2% as interest rates take their toll - 2024

5. Irish Examiner - Diageo to raise price of a pint by 6c in third hike in 18 months - 2024

 6. Alone - ALONE Calls for the state pension and other social welfare payments to be benchmarked.

7. Central Statistics Office - Pension Coverage - 2023

8. Irish Examiner - You can retire well on 50% of your gross income - 2022

9. Morgan McKinley - 2024 Salary Guide Ireland

10. Fidelity - How much do I need to retire - 2024

Aine Kavanagh

Article written by

Aine Kavanagh

👋🏻 Hi I'm Aine, Head of Customer Success at Kota. Whether you're a Kota customer, a Kota user, or you're just browsing, I hope to help educate and empower those who want to know more about owning their own benefits, and building financial autonomy 📚

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