We all deserve to enjoy our older years of life, and though for some this day may seem to be a long way away, having a retirement plan in place is essential when planning for the future. As with most ventures, the first steps can be some of the most daunting, especially as a large degree of planning is required and it can be quite complex at the start.
Also See: Private Pension Advice
If you have a clear plan and have defined your financial goals for your pension, then you are halfway there. This is because defining your goals will help you in establishing a viable strategy on reaching these objectives and will help you save time, money, and energy in the long run.
From utilizing financial planning services to preparing yourself emotionally for your retirement years, this brief guide is designed to help you secure a financially stable future and set out your own retirement plan.
1. Assess your current situation
“Know thyself” is an old maxim that is just as relevant now as in the time of the ancient Delphic oracles. Even though your retirement may be far in the future and trying to plan that far ahead can be extremely daunting, evaluating where you are now, personally and financially, can help towards putting that retirement plan in place when necessary.
First of all, you will need to decide at about what age you want to retire, as this will not only determine the longevity of the plan you wish to implement but also its shape and strategy. If you are fortunate enough to have more time than you thought then your initial level of investment does not have to be as large. If, conversely, you feel that you are cutting it a bit tight then you may decide to make a larger contribution to your pension pot, as well as influencing the style of investment and retirement portfolio that you decide to open.
Before you start planning your future, it is vital you consolidate your current situation, that is to say if you have any debts then paying them off should be an absolute priority. There is no time like the present, and failing to settle debts could have an adverse impact on your plans for the later years in your life. This is important, as it is best to get rid of your debts before your income significantly declines, which it is likely to do in retirement. If you are still paying off old debts, then you may not be able to live out the lifestyle that you are hoping to enjoy when you retire.
It’s also a good idea to look into where you can start making savings for the long term, which will be a financial asset to you when you arrive at retirement age. Think about how you can cut down on household bills or the cost of your utilities, and maybe switching provider, which can help you save money in the long run. The savings you make now will add up and help you to increase your income once you retire. You should also consider any direct debits and standing orders, maybe even cut back on your Prime subscription! In any case, you need to take stock of your current outgoings and to see if you are wasting any money, and whether you will still need them at all when you retire.
2. Check sources of income for your pension
In order to spend your retirement living the way you want and doing what you want, it’s important that you have in place the financial resources and income in order to ensure that you have the funds in place to fund this lifestyle. Before you reach retirement age, it’s important that you assess the different avenues of income for your pension, as well as find out how much you can get. This way you know that you can implement your retirement plan without having to worry about whether you have the funds to do it.
There are several pension calculators online, such as SmartAsset, but also many others that you can use to help you work out how much money you’ll need in retirement and how much you’ll need to save. You should use these to check whether the contributions being made into your 401(k) are going to let you live your retirement years in the manner you hope for.
When doing these calculations, you should also take into consideration any other savings, or revenue streams that you may have. Whether its stocks and shares in listed companies, second properties you may be renting out, or any other investments you may have, no matter how big or small. In any case, it is vital that you have an accurate overview of your investments and possible incomes to help you prepare for the uncertainties of the future.
3. Consider retirement goals
As well as evaluating your financial situation, you should also define what your personal goals are and your expectations for when you retire. This could be downsizing to a smaller space, moving to the countryside, or vice versa, or finally ticking things off your bucket list, be it traveling the world or restoring a Firebird Trans Am.
By taking the time now to define and figure out these life goals for your retirement, you are giving yourself the chance to help turn these dreams into reality. By budgeting now and setting out a road map for these objectives, you will be able to make positive changes that will let you budget for the future. For example, you should take into consideration your household bills, the cost of your leisure activities, any insurance policies you may have, and the cost of health and medical expenses, to name a few. By taking stock now, you are taking control of your financial future.
4. Seek financial advice
When planning for the future, and especially when it comes to money management, things can seem quite complicated. Many of us with jobs, families, and day-to-day worries may simply lack the time needed to properly plan for our retirement. Therefore, I would conclude by strongly recommending that you talk to a professional and consult a financial advisor or planner. Even if you feel that you know what you are doing and have a plan in place, it will not hurt to get someone to give you their own expert opinion, at best they will confirm you are on course and at worst they will help you get back on track. Consulting a financial advisor or planner is the best way to ensure that you can put your retirement plan into place effectively.
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