If you’re only just starting out in your career you might not have given much thought to your retirement yet, but it’s never too early. Perhaps, you’re in your 30s or 40s and you’ve no idea how much you’ve managed to invest into your pension fund. Either way, it’s important to know if you’re on track for a comfortable retirement. Before you know it your retirement can creep up on you, so knowing what your future holds is a good way to feel more relaxed, whether it is managing your assets or taking a look at estate planning, being prepared will get you far.
Although most UK adults will receive a basic state pension, the weekly rate of 110.15 is rarely enough to support the current lifestyle. Retirement is supposed to be our golden years – a time when we can finally do all the things we have been dreaming about. However, the stark reality is that millions of Brits will be wrapping themselves in layers to avoid switching on the heating or giving up the car because they can’t afford fuel.
It’s absolutely essential that you plan for your financial future as relying on state pension could leave you on the brink of the poverty line in your retirement. As we are living longer, our retirement could last for 30 years or more, so it’s important to give it plenty of thought as early as possible. Plus, as you get older, you may need to go into a senior home to help with your care, so you need to plan ahead for that eventuality and look at ‘senior living near me‘, for example, to see what is available and how much it may cost you as the years go on.
Here are some hints and tips to help you start preparing for a secure financial future:
Clear your debts
Whether you’ve got student debt or credit card debts, it’s important to repay them as soon as possible. It seems nonsensical to start saving at a rate of 0.05% AER or some other measly amount when you’re paying in excess of 18% APR on borrowing.
Save for the future
It is prudent that you build your nest egg for stepping into a safe and financially secure future. Saving for retirement is one of the ways to do that. It may not occur to you as something really crucial but think again do you want to live a life of unhappiness caused by a financial crunch? When you are 55+ without a constant source of income, how would you be able to afford the lifestyle that you dreamed of for your golden years — perhaps you want to move into a quick move-in house (see here for quick move in home advantages) — or go on a world tour!
Hence, it is prudent that once you’ve managed to pay off what you owe, it’s time to start saving. The first thing to do is open an ISA as this allows you to save up to 5,760 (2013/14 tax year), tax-free. Try to save every penny you can as this will allow you to get into good habits from an early age.
Join the company pension scheme
As soon as you start a proper full-time job, it’s worth joining the company pension scheme. This means that your employer pays into the fund as well as you; sometimes they match your contributions but others will pay three times as much.
Top up your pension
You might already be entitled to state pension and have a company pension but if you can save more, it’s important to do so. Opening a personal or individual pension will help boost your income during retirement. To find out how much you need to save in order to continue your current lifestyle, check out this pensions calculator from Moneyvista.com.