If you are looking to retire in the near future it's important to get your financial house in order prior to finishing work. I have outlined below 5 key tasks which should be actioned now to give you a good financial plan for when you finally put your feet up.
Check out the details of all your pensions
- Make a list of all the pensions you have from either your current or former employers together with any personal plans
- Check the retirement dates on these policies to ensure they are in line with your retirement plans
- If retirement dates are different across the different policies find out whether there are any penalties imposed for retiring at a different date
- If any of your policies are defined contribution then look at the underlying funds that they are invested in and look to switch out of any volatile funds to protect your income in retirement. Make sure you check the cost of switching before executing any changes
- Calculate how much tax-free cash you can take from each pension so that you can make a decision on whether to exercise these options. Also check whether your defined contribution schemes offer any guaranteed annuity rates
- Do some research on the types of annuities available out there so that you can make an informed decision when the time comes. Make sure you read my articles shop around when buying an annuity and consider an enhanced annuity or an impaired life annuity
- Find out if any of your pensions allow income drawdown as this may a more suitable alternative to buying an annuity as soon as you retire - more here
Take a check of all your company benefits
- If you currently enjoy reduced or free life cover find out if this continues or if not can you finance it yourself at a reduced rate. Speak to the health insurance provider early on to make sure you comply with any rules regarding continued cover.
- If you currently have a company car or maybe a car allowance make sure you include this loss of this benefit when calculating your post retirement income requirements
- You may have other benefits such as free or reduced gym membership
Find out what benefits you may be entitled to
- Check at what age you will receive your State Pension as changes have been made recently that may affect you. You can do that here
- Get a state pension forecast to find out how much you will receive when you reach state pension age
- Find out if you are entitled to any other benefits particularly if you are a carer or lack mobility yourself. Read my article the online tool that quickly tells you the benefits that you are entitled to
- Depending on your age you may also be entitled to free or discounted travel, free entrance to leisure facilities or other perks
Take stock of all your other financial resources
- Calculate how much income you could receive form the sources to supplement your other pension income
- Check if there are any withdrawal penalties in regard to savings accounts
- Decide if you need to make changes to any non-cash investments to reduce the risk or to make them more tax efficient
- Make sure you are getting the best saving rates possible with consideration given to the access you may need to your money in the future. Here I list the best savings rates out there
Determine how much income you will need to support your retirement lifestyle
- First work out the level of income received from your pension schemes
- Calculate how much income you can expect from your other investments
- Add to this any other benefits you may be entitled to
- Also calculate the various costs in working that you will no longer have to pay - travel to work, clothing, lunch etc this will give you better idea of your retirement outgoing needs
- Consider if they will be any extra cost when you retire such as heating your home all day or cost of days out etc.
- You will now have an idea of your income in retirement and can makes plans to live within this income
In all area of our finances planning is always key and this is never more so than when preparing for retirement. Walking blindly from a working life, with a nice salary, to retirement on a reduced income can be daunting, so carrying out the 5 tasks outlined above will make you more prepared for the changes ahead. Also if you find your personal situation too complicated please seek the advice of an Independent Financial Adviser.