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‘I want to have a great retirement, but I don’t know if the financial plans I’ve made will give me enough to do the this’.

Could this be how you’re feeling?  It’s a common issue facing many who come to see us.  In this blog, I explore ways to help you get the answers.

Get Clear on Your Goals
You need to understand yourself.  Sounds a bit ‘zen’, I know, but YOU need to know what makes YOU tick.  What inspires you?  What gives you the greatest pleasure?

Retirement Goals

You’re going to have time on your hands when you retire and, with some thought, you’ll be amazed at what exciting things you could do.  What does retirement mean to YOU?

In a previous blog I start looking at 100 things you could do in retirement.  It’s just a bit of fun but the only limitations are your mind (and, perhaps, the money).

Be Specific!
This can be tricky for many.  Retirement is a process, not an event.  Don’t think of retirement simply as a destination.

Think about things like:

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  • What age do I want to retire and why?
  • What will a typical day / week in retirement look like for me?
  • How often do you I plan to holiday and what will that cost each year?
  • How often do I want to visit family, grandchildren, etc.?
  • Do I want to leave a legacy after I’ve gone?
  • Are there charities that are important to me that I’d like to support?
  • Apply some ‘£s’ to this process so you have a good idea of what it will all cost

Granted, these aren’t everyday questions but, hopefully, you’ll see there’s value in taking time to think about them.

Don’t Do This Alone!
I see it so often.  One half of a couple has an idea of what retirement looks like.  The other half has their own idea!  Goodness, this can create friction between them.  The gap can usually be bridged, but not without a lot of open discussion and compromise.

My advice is that you and your partner (if you have one) think about retirement separately and then spend time respectfully discussing how you both feel.  Often, you’ll be completely in sync but, often, you won’t!  Resolve any differences early in the process.

There will be things you’ll love to do together and things you’ll love to do separately.  That’s brilliant and this helps to keep relationships interesting but there DOES have to be some commonality in the kind of retirement you both want.

Once you’ve had a healthy and open discussion, you’ll, hopefully, feel more energised and excited and you’ll also know whether the ‘£s’ to cover the cost of it all might need to be adjusted.

Look at What You’ve Got
Now you’re clearer on what your retirement might look like, you’ll need to have an idea as to what this will all cost.  Scary!  The next thing to do is to look at all your assets, pensions, investments, cash, shares, investment properties, piggy bank, money down the sofa, etc.

There’s software out there that enables you to project forward, using certain assumptions, so you’ll have a good idea of what all your assets could be worth when you finish work.  It’s always best to keep any assumptions very conservative.

The same software also enables you to factor in monthly withdrawals (the monthly income you’ll need) and any lump sum withdrawals (holidays, new car, legacies, etc.).  You can also build in ‘secure’ income like the state pension and any work pensions.

The benefit this exercise is that you’ll be able to see if the arrangements you have in place are enough.  It may be that you have more than enough BUT, it might be that you’re way off which is probably not what you want to see.  That said, it’s important to know either way.

What If the Numbers Don’t Fit?
You’ve spent a lot of time working on what your ideal retirement looks like (with your partner, if you have one) and costed it as best you can.  You’ve looked at your existing arrangements and how much you’re going to need to spend but there isn’t enough.  Damn!

What do you do?  Well, there are a few things to consider:

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  • Retire a bit later which isn’t ideal but it could make all the
    difference
  • Review the cost and tax-efficiency of your existing
    arrangements
  • Lower your sights (perhaps plan to take less holidays,
    change the car less often, etc.)
  • Save more if that’s an option.  You might have spare cash that
    could be used to bolster your long-term savings

It’s all about having an open mind and a willingness to compromise.  Getting to know what things might look like early is SO important.  It gives you the opportunity to do something about it (mentally AND practically).

Review, review, review!
Plans change because life is unpredictable.  We all know that.  Any retirement plan will need constant adjustment as unexpected events come your way.

Review your goals and your financial arrangements regularly to make sure you can adapt to whatever life decides to throw at you.

Too often, we’ve seen excellent retirement plans but they’re not looked at regularly so, when it’s time to get them out of the dust covered folder, they can be redundant.  Don’t let this happen to you, please!

Until next time…