Everyone has different circumstances and different expectations
No matter how far away you are from retiring, it’s important to plan for the future. It’s hard to know exactly how much you’ll need because everyone has different circumstances and different expectations. Today you have new pension freedoms to decide when and how you retire.
There’s also no fixed path to retirement or finite end point. Everyone has a different journey through life, with their own experiences along the way, and there’s no need for it to become stressful. You can reduce any anxiety by planning how much you’ll need to retire and working out how best to build up your pension pot.
The purpose of a pension is to provide an income for you to live the life you want once you have retired. But, due to longer life expectancies, less generous schemes and lack of understanding around saving, a common problem is that some people don’t retire with enough to last them.
Making the right choices
It's important to think about how much money you might need in the future and whether you’ll have enough to give you the lifestyle you want. You might be eligible for the State Pension but can you manage on this alone? Also, you may want to retire before your State Pension age.
Making the right choices now could make a big difference to how much money you have in the future and saving into a pension plan could help you achieve the lifestyle you would like.
The current life expectancy in the United Kingdom in 2017 to 2019 was 79.4 years for males and 83.1 years for females, while you can access your pension savings from the age of 55, and the State Pension age is currently 66.
Changes to your lifestyle
The concept of retirement has changed. The idea that we stop working at 65 and then spend our time playing golf and travelling the world is now anachronistic and probably ageist. However, retirement is a challenging new phase in life.
While it ranks high on the scale of stressful life events, it also provides the opportunity to enjoy a new lease of life. A fulfilling and enjoyable retirement will, of course, depend on the age at which you choose to retire your retirement plans and factors that impact your life expectancy, such as your health.
Retirees are falling short by decades
A survey of people aged 55 to 64 who have not yet retired found that 25% of this age group are only budgeting for their pension savings to last ten years. Around 10% are only budgeting for their pension savings to last five years.
All of these people are risking a significant gap with eventually no income from their retirement savings. While they may be eligible for the State Pension, that will provide less than £10,000 a year to live on.
Income needs tend to change
Perhaps these people have created their budget believing that less than £10,000 a year is likely to cover their needs in later life. They may feel that the first five to ten years are when their spending will be highest, so plan to use their retirement savings during that time.
But this isn’t a typical pattern for retirement spending. Often, there is a peak in spending in the first five to ten years, when many people pay off their mortgage or make a big purchase, such as a trip-of-a-lifetime. But there is another peak towards the end of life, when many people may need residential or at-home care, which can be expensive.
Retirement spending forecast
Surprisingly, 80% of survey respondents said they had received no advice on their retirement needs, and more than half of these people had no plans to. Receiving professional financial advice will help you identify and forecast how your retirement spending could change over time, make a realistic budget and determine how many years your current savings may last.
If there is a shortfall, you’ll then be able to make the necessary adjustments to ensure you top up any potential savings shortfall before you retire and see how many more years you may need to work for. You can also get a better understanding of where your pension is invested and your options to take an income from it. These factors might affect the income you’ll eventually receive, and what you can do about it.