There are alternatives to taking out a lifetime annuity.
It is possible for you to access a retirement income and/or tax-free cash lump sum without using a Lifetime Annuity.
These alternatives include Capped Drawdown and Third Way Pensions.
Unlike with a Lifetime Annuity, your pension funds will remain invested and have the opportunity to further increase (or decrease) in value.
There is obviously a lot more uncertainty that comes with these alternative arrangements and they are not for everyone.
Flexible Drawdown is a possibility for people with qualifying sources of guaranteed income in excess of £20,000 per annum (reducing to £12,000 from 27 March 2014).
Anybody who is aged of 55 or above and has money in a personal pension plan has the right to draw down their pension fund in instalments or as a lump sum by electing to enter Flexible Drawdown.
At the other end of the spectrum, under something called the Trivial Commutation rules, where an individual is aged 60 or over (but less than 75) and their total pension funds from all occupational and personal pension plans is less than £18,000 (rising to £30,000 from 27 March 2014), the entire fund can be paid out as a lump sum.
An adviser will help you to decide whether any of the annuity alternatives are suitable for you.