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You know the routine when it comes to holiday time:

  • Get things finished at work.
  • Make sure you’ve got your passports and boarding passes.
  • Ask someone to look after the pets.
  • Buy lots of stuff you’re never going to need.
  • Change up your cash.
  • Panic because you’re convinced you’ve forgotten something!

Think about how much preparation goes in to organising your holiday?  A holiday is an opportunity to wind down, relax, see some great places and spend time with people you (hopefully) love.  That said, it can be stressful planning for it.

I genuinely see retirement as a holiday… A MASSIVE ONE!  An opportunity to do whatever you want, with whom you want but, unlike a normal holiday, you’ve got all the time in the world to do it!

I find it a bit sad, therefore, that people seem to spend too little time planning for the longest holiday of their life, compared to the amount of time they spend organising two weeks away.

In this blog, I thought I might share with you the pitfalls of not getting everything in order, in good time, for take-off.  I may use some holiday related analogies and, perhaps, some very poor holiday based puns but please bear with me, it should still be a useful read!…

How Are You Feeling?
So, you can see retirement arriving on the horizon.  It may still be a way off but it’s coming.  How does it feel?  Exciting?  Daunting?  Not really thought about it?  However you feel, it makes a lot of sense to me that you prepare in the right way.

But what practical steps can you take to make sure you get to the departure lounge in good shape?  It’s funny, once you come through the other side of immigration at the airport, it feels as though the holiday’s started.  Your retirement is like going through the metal detector!

Holiday Checklist
Let’s do a bit of a checklist:

  • What do you want to do while you’re on your retirement holiday? What pursuits will you follow?  What places will you see?  What does a great retirement look like to you?
  • How much spending money will you need? It’s a long holiday so you need to make sure you’re honest with yourself about how much it’s going to cost.
  • Do you know what guaranteed income you’re going to have when you get there? This will be things like your state pension and any final salary pensions you have through work.
  • Now then, there might be a gap to fill which is the difference between what you want to spend and the amount of guaranteed income you have.
  • What other resources do you have? Cash, investments, pensions (not the final salary type), property, etc?  This is what’s going to fill that gap.

DIY or Travel Agent?
When you book a holiday, you have a choice.  You can do-it-yourself, which is easy for some and a nightmare for others (I’m in the ‘nightmare’ camp!).  Finding flights, finding accommodation, hiring a car, timing it all, making it fit…

On the other hand, like we did in the old days, you might go to a travel agent and they’ll handle everything for you.  It probably costs a bit more but you know it’s going to be done right and it saves you a lot of hassle.

In some respects, the service we provide is like a travel agent.  It’s about:

  • Making sure you’re in good shape.
  • Helping you plan your budget.
  • Checking you have everything you need.
  • Taking away the hassle.
  • Being a ‘go to’ place if things go wrong (very important because it often does!).

The people who use us are those that either can’t do it themselves or don’t want to.  Most of our clients are interested in the holiday but they’re not too interested in how it all comes together, they’re too busy enjoying themselves!

Keep the Sun Shining
One of the most important things we do is make sure you’re always able to live this great holiday, for as long as you want to.  We check in with you regularly, review how your spending money’s going, make sure your income’s OK and keep an eye on your money so you don’t have to worry.

We want you to have the time of your life without worrying about the money side of things.  You need to know the money’s taken care of.  What’s the point of setting out to enjoy yourself but worrying about whether or not you can afford it?

We’re that safe pair of hands that stand at the edge of the pool to make sure you don’t go under, that checks the scuba diving equipment, that makes sure you’ve got enough money to buy new flip-flops and suntan lotion!

Enough of This!
I think I’ve probably written enough to either get my message across or to annoy you!  You get the point, hopefully!  Plan well for your future and it could be a truly wonderful experience.  Plan badly and you could be in trouble.

‘Life’s too short…’  ‘Life’s not a rehearsal…’  We’ve all heard the sayings so often that they’ve tended to lose their potency but they’re absolutely right.  I want to remind you of them.  Grab life while you can!

Until next time…