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You can usually join NEST if you’re self-employed or the sole director of a company that doesn’t employ anyone else. We call this second group of people ‘single person directors’. To keep things simple, we’ll refer to both groups as ‘self-employed’ on this page.

Signing up to NEST as a self-employed person is easy. You can do it all online. When you sign up you’ll have to answer some questions to make sure you qualify. It’s best to check if you qualify before you start.

People who are enrolled by their employers can often choose to opt out within the first month and get a refund of their contributions. If you choose to join as a self-employed person you won’t have this option. All your contributions will stay in your pot until you take your money out at your NEST retirement date.

As a self-employed person you’ll need to set up your own contributions to NEST. You can do this easily online by Direct Debit or debit card. Just log into your secure online account and click on ‘Contributions’.

You can contribute as often as you like. You just need to make sure you add at least £10 each time.

If you contribute more than the annual allowance or build up more than the lifetime allowance set by the government, you may be charged extra tax. You should take this into account when you decide how much you’ll contribute to NEST.

Most people won’t exceed the annual or lifetime allowances.

Find out more about the government’s annual allowance and lifetime allowance.

If you join NEST as a self-employed person you can keep being a member if you become employed later on. You can also continue contributing to your retirement pot. If you start working for an employer that uses NEST, they can contribute to your existing retirement pot too.

If you already have a NEST account from a previous job before you became self-employed, you can continue to use this now you’re self-employed.

If you’re self-employed and employ other people then the new employer pension duties will apply to you. In this case you may want to sign up for NEST as an employer. You can find out more about your options in our Self-employed checklist (PDF).

Do you qualify?

Not every self-employed person or single person director can enrol themselves into NEST. Fill out our short checklist to see if you qualify.

Why save in NEST?

Making contributions to NEST is easy through your online account and our award-winning investment approach will look after your money.

Set up your scheme

If you’re self-employed and don’t employ anyone else, you can create your self-employed NEST member account here.