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Home Investment Lessons from SIPP millionaires – start early and contribute as much as you can

Lessons from SIPP millionaires – start early and contribute as much as you can

by uma


  • Hargreaves Lansdown currently has 3,166 SIPP millionaires.
  • 90% of SIPP millionaires are men.
  • The median age for SIPP millionaires is 62.
  • The vast majority of SIPP millionaires are no longer contributing to their pensions. This may be due to lifetime allowance issues. However, those who continue to contribute are more likely to do so on an ad-hoc basis rather than making regular contributions.

Helen Morrissey, senior pensions and retirement analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown:

“Over 3,000 HL clients are pension millionaires and have achieved the dream of being able to live a comfortable retirement. One thing is clear though – success is based on a long-term, rather than get rich quick approach with the median age for becoming a SIPP millionaire being 62.

It takes years of regular saving to build up such a pension but these millionaires show it can be done. Auto-enrolment should boost the number of people able to reach this important milestone in the coming years as we see more people contributing throughout their entire careers.

There are issues to be aware of though. The current lifetime allowance currently stands at £1,073,100. Pensions worth more than this will attract a tax charge. This does not necessarily mean you should stop contributing to a pension if you hit the limit but it’s probably worth discussing your options with a financial adviser.

Some of these millionaires will have accumulated their wealth at a time when the lifetime allowance was higher and will have organised protection for their pensions when it was decreased. Not so long ago it was as high as £1.8m. If you think you may have a lifetime allowance issue, then it is important to take financial advice to help you navigate around the issues as it can be complex.

Another major challenge is the gender pension gap with women on average retiring with much smaller pensions than men – this can be seen here– 90% of our SIPP millionaires are men. We hope to see the numbers of women accumulating significant savings grow over the coming years.

Top tips from the millionaires

When asked how they got to the magic million the key points are clear. By far the most popular answer was how important it is to start contributing to a pension as early as possible and to make sure you increase your contributions on a regular basis. One millionaire said increasing contributions when you get a salary increase is a good way of boosting your overall pension wealth throughout your working life.

When it comes to investment the SIPP millionaires said the key themes are not to chase short-term fads and fashions in the hope of making a quick buck. Instead, it is important to invest for the long-term, spread your risk and to check periodically to make sure your portfolio remains balanced and on-track.

Finally, knowledge is all important to developing a robust retirement strategy. Our millionaires advocated taking the time to understand what you are invested in and getting to grips with pension tax treatment. This helps you get the most from your pension contributions and make sure you don’t incur unnecessary charges. However, several also point out that making decisions about how and when to take your retirement income can be complex and if in doubt speaking to a financial adviser is always a good option.”

Top funds for our SIPP millionaires (alphabetical)

Artemis Income

BNY Mellon Global Income

Fundsmith Equity

IFSL Marlborough UK Micro Cap Growth

Legal & General US Index

LF Equity Income

LF Lindsell Train UK Equity

Lindsell Train Global Equity – Distributing

Rathbone Global Opportunities

Stewart Inv Asia Pacific Leaders Sustainability

Top equities (alphabetical)




Legal & General Group

Lloyds Banking Group

National Grid

Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust



Vodafone Group