Mummy says….’There’s a well-known saying, “Time flies when you’re having fun.” For far too many of us, we grasp the reality of this old saying when we wake up one morning, realise we’re getting older and have no retirement plans or savings. That is exactly where I am at! I realise that while I’ve been focusing on living day-by- day,I may be almost out of time for planning for retirement.
But this doesn’t have to be the case. There are ways to plan and fund our retirement years even if we’re in our 40s (like me) or 50s. Whether you’re thinking institutional funds are going to be your saving grace or you’re plotting and planning a way to catch up on your retirement savings, the first thing you need to understand is this: it is never too late to get started. Phew – that is a relief.
Government state pensions
If you’re relying on your state pension for the bulk of your retirement funding, the first thing you need to do is determine at what age you can start receiving that pension. This target age may be different from the age at which you can get a personal or workplace pension. In order to receive state pension payments, you must make National Insurance (NI) contributions. These contributions need to be made throughout your working life. The government doesn’t recommend you rely completely on your state pension, however.
With the exception of very low income workers, everyone else should be in a pension plan through their employers by 2018. But you can still start now planning and preparing for your retirement.
How much will my retirement cost?
Everyone wants to be comfortable in their retirement. How much we’ll actually need to maintain a comfortable living situation in retirement will vary, depending on how we each define “comfortable.” Most people will want their retirement lifestyle to mirror their every day lifestyle. For that to happen, you’ll need income comparable to what you’re making now. Consider your current bills and how many of them will continue into your retirement years. For example, you may not have your mortgage in another 20 years but you’ll still be paying for your energy consumption. Make a list of what your expected expenses will be.
Decide if you’ll be staying in your current home or downsizing to a smaller and more affordable living arrangement in the future. Once you have a basic figure in mind, you can set an income goal for which you can aim.
When should you retire?
While many hope to retire when their state pension begins, this is not a retirement point that is carved in stone. You can continue to work past that age. You also don’t have to take your state pension straight away; you can carry on with building your retirement nest egg while you continue working.
Delaying your retirement can allow you to maintain the quality of your lifestyle for a longer period of time and gives you the opportunity for a higher income when you do retire. If you defer the receipt of your state pension for several years, you may be able to receive the deferred amount as a lump sum payment. Another option may allow you to received that amount in addition to the regular payments your state pension provides.
I hope you found this as interesting as I have. As I am in my mid forties with no pension plan at all, this all seems a bit too real to me! I definitely need to do some research and think about planning for retirement in the New Year – what about you?