Do you want to start making plans for when you stop working? Here’s how to plan for your retirement

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Retirement is your opportunity to do more of the things you’ve always wanted to do. Of course, these things generally cost money. For instance, running a car, going on holiday, evenings out with the family, and so on. Therefore, you need to plan for your retirement so that you’ll be able to afford to do these things. If you’re planning on retiring early, it’s even more crucial that you start preparing.

The time you do your planning is the time to think big about your retirement ideas. Allow the rationality of what is achievable to wait for another day. Once you know your big plans, you can discuss them with a financial advisor to get an idea of how much income you’ll need to achieve them. Check out Portafina. 

Deciding on when to retire.

The United Kingdom has no set retirement age any longer. Therefore, you’re entitled to continue working for as long as you wish or for as you feel necessary. If you are part of a defined contribution pension scheme, you should be able to access your funds from age 55. However, you might need to leave these funds invested if they are to sustain your entire retirement.

Such flexible access to your funds means that it’s easier to stage your retirement gradually rather than stop work abruptly. For instance, accessing a proportion of your funds means you could continue working part-time in a new job or cut down your hours in your existing rule. Also, an additional cash injection may be beneficial at this stage of your retirement.

You should find out what age your state pension benefit kicks in. Although this is a relatively small amount of money, it is still an amount you will have to plan to cover should you want to retire early.

Calculate your likely retirement income.

Once you’ve decided on what you want to do in retirement and when you plan to retire, it’s time to calculate your potential retirement income. Once you’ve done this, you’ll be able to see if it meets your aspirations.

Pensions are likely to make up a considerable proportion of your retirement income. You could have several workplace pensions, some of which you may have lost track of. Once you’ve located your pensions, you should decide whether to combine them or retain them as separate plans.

You also need to understand how much money is in each of your pensions and the income these will provide you in retirement. A regulated financial advisor can help you decide whether to combine your pensions or not and work out the income levels they provide.

You should also factor in the amount you will receive in the state pension benefits. You can get a forecast of this figure from the website.

Finally, factor in other sources of income you will have in retirement, such as part-time work, probably assets, or other investments.

Does your income match your retirement needs?

Now that you have your projected income and know what you want to spend it on, you can see if the two figures match. If your income is higher than your spending, that’s great. However, if there’s less, you will need to put other plans into action to boost your retirement income. 

For instance, you could start making additional top-up payments to your pension. Alternatively, you could adjust your retirement aspirations downward, but no one wants to do that.

Accessing your pension

You also need to think in advance about how you will access your pension funds. How you do this can be just as crucial as the amount of money you have in your pension.

You have several options for accessing your pension funds. Some are flexible but come with a greater degree of risk. In comparison, others provide more security but less flexibility. A financial advisor can help you achieve a good balance between flexibility and safety.

What you should do as you approach retirement.

As you approach retirement age, there are several people you must inform. Your employer is the first of these people, as they will need to find a suitable replacement or offer you an alternative position. Next, you should contact HMRC, as they will need to adjust your tax code when you retire. Finally, you should speak with the department for work and pensions and tell them when you intend to retire and start receiving your State Pension.

You should be planning for a long and comfortable retirement. However, it is prudent to update your will at this time. Remember, pensions are not included in wills, and you will need to construct an expression of wish to cover these.

Life after retirement day.

Your retirement can mark the start of a new and exciting phase of your life. Try to view retirement as a beginning and not an end. This way, you can continue looking forward and updating your plans on the way.


Melissa is a young and energetic writer, a mom to a sweet little boy, and a fur-mom to two perfect pooches. Before becoming the Associate Content Director for Project Female, she was a journalist specializing in topics related to women in politics and policy affecting women.

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