1. Think about the type of retirement you want

In order to plan effectively, you need to understand your likely financial needs. This is not pounds and pence, but a broad brush idea of how much you’d like to travel, whether you’ll still have any dependents and whether you will keep some element of paid work.

Life will always get in the way. No-one expects to have to help children or deal with major house repair or healthcare costs. However, if you think about the type of future you’d like it makes it easier to point in the right direction of travel.

2. Stay invested

The temptation is to move into lower risk assets as you get older. However, your pension pot is never going to last you into your eighties if it’s all in cash and low-risk government bonds. It’s not going to provide you with much of an income either. You need to keep the right level of risk assets in your portfolio to keep your pot growing over this crucial period.

3. Know what you’ve got

Life has changed since people retired at 65 with a gold watch having put in forty years of loyal service. The modern career is eclectic and may comprise periods of employment, self-employment, entrepreneurship and consultancy. This can play havoc with your pension planning and may leave you with pensions all over the place.

Your first mission should be to collect together all the pensions you know about and you begin this process by contacting all the companies involved to get a pension statement. Add them together and use a pensions calculator to see the level of pension that might buy you. Consider consolidating your pensions onto one platform if they’re proving really unwieldy.

4. Turbo-charge your savings where possible

This is the last chance to make a meaningful difference to your retirement. If you have any windfalls – from bonuses, inheritance or that old vase in the attic – direct it towards your pension. These are also likely to be your peak earnings years, so you should have more spare cash to put towards your retirement. Remember, any cash directed to your pension will attract tax relief at 20% or 40% depending on your salary.

5. Check your statement of wishes

Pensions operate separately from your will. That means they won’t necessarily go to your spouse. That may be fine with you, depending on your relationship with your spouse, but it is worth checking who else it might go to before you cut them out – your ex-spouse might be even worse. The beneficiary for pensions is determined by a ‘statement of wishes’. You probably filled it in when you first took out the pension. Either way, it’s easy to find out and easy to amend.

How we help

We can help take the effort out of this for you by demonstrating how this would work for you and your family and providing you with one cohesive Holistic Lifestyle Financial Plan.

You can arrange a meeting by clicking here to access my diary, email info@smartfinance.ie or call 087 8144 104.