Retirement is an opportunity for you to do all the things that you have promised yourself you will do when you have the time, all those places you want to visit, the memories you want to create with the people you love and finally getting to enjoy the fruits of your labour.
Whilst we see people who continue to have positive aspirations for their retirement, there is often a widespread lack of confidence about what retirement could actually deliver.
With careful planning you can address all of your potential concerns and ensure you are ready for a happy and productive retirement. Below, we look at some of the the most common retirement worries and how they can be mitigated by having one eye on the detail.
1 – Will I have enough money to last throughout my retirement?
This is often the primary concern for many retirees we meet.
When you are employed or have a regular income it is relatively easy to budget and you can do so with a degree of certainty that at the end of the month another pay cheque will land in your account.
When you retire you are likely to have your State Pension paid to you and you may also have some final salary pension funds that could replace some of your regular income, however you may also have what is known as a ‘money purchase’ pension plan.
This will have a value dependant on how much you and / or your employer has paid into the scheme and how well or otherwise the investments you have chosen have performed.
From this you can typically draw 25% as a tax free lump sum and the remainder is then either used to buy an annuity (an income for life) or you can now draw as little or as much from this as you like, although this is subject to tax.
The ability to take what you want from your pension fund could mean that you take too much in the early years of retirement and have nothing left in the later years, however it could also mean that you are so concerned with running out that you don’t want to spend any of it and you are left with a big pot of money and a load of regrets when you realise you could have done some or all of the things you wanted to do.
Understanding what your retirement lifestyle is going to cost and knowing how much you have available to provide that income is a good first step.
If you are planning on an elaborate lifestyle costing £100,000 per annum and you have £20,000 in pensions and investments, you are going to be disappointed.
2 – What if my health fails?
This is a legitimate concern and it is a fact of life that as we get older our health can deteriorate.
We shouldn’t let this stop us from doing what we want to do though and being active and busy in retirement can be beneficial and help to maintain your health.
If your health does start to worsen and you need care you may be concerned that you wont be able to afford this.
There tends to be two schools of thought here, there are those that feel they should spend all their money while they can enjoy it and would look to the State to provide care if and when it is needed and there are others that would like the ability to choose and pay for the care that they need.
Either way, recognising that your health is likely to impact your retirement at some point and thinking about what you would do is sensible.
3 – Will I get bored?
Retirement should be the time we get to do those things we have always dreamed of, but if you haven’t settled on what you want to do and are worrying about stagnating in your leisure days, why not retire in a staged manner, cutting down hours to part-time as you gradually accustom yourself to the change?
Many retirees favour this approach as it keeps them mentally and physically active. They continue to feel useful and the income is always handy for those future plans!
Identifying what it is that you really want to spend your time and money on during retirement is important here.
Not giving it sufficient attention means you may get to retirement and be left with not knowing how to fill your days, and it is easy to then get in to a habit of not really doing much.
This is not good for your health and you may or may not be aware of the saying ‘retirement killed more people than hard work ever did!’
Having a purpose in retirement and doing the things you love doing will be beneficial to your health and will avoid you getting bored.
4 – I might be fleeced by a scam artist!
You may or may not be aware that recent changes to pension legislation means that you now have a great deal of flexibility when it comes to how you take your pension benefits.
This is great news for you as it gives you options, however it has unfortunately spawned a number of opportunists out to fleece savers.
An increased number of unregulated investment firms are actively pursuing over 55’s and their newly free pension savings.
High-earning professionals, you may be surprised to learn, are the most likely to fall victim.
Understanding your options is important and also recognising the signs of a scam could save your retirement savings being targeted. The Pensions Regulators website is a good place to start.
If you are going to take advice on your options and what may be best for you, make sure you sue a regulated firm. For extra peace of mind, use a Chartered or Certified Financial Planner
5 – The Unexpected
Everyone fears the unknown. No matter how sensible we are and how much preparation we do, we cannot plan for every eventuality.
The recent financial crisis dented the confidence of many. A sensible approach is to make sure that your investment portfolio is balanced and risk appropriate and that you have a plan in place that looks at some of the potential ‘unknowns’.
How sensitive are you to a market fall? How exposed to stock markets and how will the amount of income you need be impacted by another crash?
You should also have a will and lasting powers of attorney in place. If you were to die or become unable to manage your affairs these documents can ensure that your wishes are followed. Knowing this is the case is one less thing to worry about and you can get on with making the most of your retirement.