5 steps to getting your finances retirement ready
Whether you are thinking of retiring in 10 months, or 10 years, there are several steps you need to take to get your money retirement ready. In this post, we’ll run you through each of the steps and give you a few tips to make the process as smooth as possible.
If retirement is a long way off and you’re just looking for some general financial planning tips, you might want to check out our 3 steps to money success post.
The 5 steps explained
1) Dig out your old pension paperwork
First up, it’s time to dig out the paperwork for both your current pension and any old pension pots from previous employment. With most pension providers sending annual paper statements, no doubt the paperwork has been piling up over the years - It’s time to dig it out and dust it off.
If possible, try and find the most recent statement for each plan, make a note of your plan number, scheme name, and the most recent balance. Don’t worry too much if the paperwork is old, as new up to date information can be requested. If it’s a defined benefit scheme, also make a note of the annual income the plan will provide.
Once you’ve done that, grab a piece of paper and make a note of the current values on any savings, investments, properties, loans, and credit cards, so you have the full picture in one place.
2) Pension analysis, risk tolerance, and capacity for loss
There are a couple of different options at this point:
You can use an online service to consolidate your pensions
You can get a financial adviser to do a thorough pension analysis for you
Over the past few years, a number of online pension consolidation services have appeared. These allow you to transfer your pension pots into one central pension.
It’s worth noting however, these are classed as ‘non-advisory’, meaning they do not carry out any analysis on the pensions you are transferring. This means it is entirely possible to sacrifice valuable benefits that are built into your old pensions without even knowing. And once these benefits are gone, there’s no getting them back!
It’s also worth noting, not many of the online services will analyse your risk tolerance and capacity for loss, which are incredibly important when planning your retirement years. The last thing you want to happen is to run out of money, and taking the wrong amount of risk with your pensions is a very easy way to do this.
If you go down the route of hiring a financial adviser, they’ll contact each of the pension schemes on your behalf, gather up to date valuations, benefits information, drawdown options as well as ensuring you’re not giving up any valuable benefits if you were to consolidate.
An adviser will also collect all the information on your other savings, investments, loans, and credit cards to get a full picture of your finances. They will also carry out a personalised risk assessment for you (this is normally in the form questionnaire).
3) Time for some blue-sky thinking
For some, leaving the workplace can’t come soon enough, for others it can mean giving up important social connections, routines, and challenges. Either way, getting a plan in place, however rough can help with the transition into retirement.
You may have spent years planning what your retirement looks like, but if not, now's the time to get a little creative. Perhaps it’s more time with your Grandchildren, on a golf course, a move to the coast, or traveling the world. If you’re after a little inspiration, here’s a good post from annuity.org around creating a retirement bucket list.
Once you’ve got a rough plan / bucket list, it’s a good idea to work out how much it may cost. If it’s an assortment of holidays, a rough annual cost will do the job. If it’s a significant one-off expense, make a note of how much it may cost and when you think you would like to do it.
4) Creating & shaping your retirement plan
By stage 4, you (or your adviser) will have detailed information on your pensions, investments, and liabilities. Now it’s time to tie it all together with your retirement bucket list and create the all-important financial plan.
Most financial advisers will now include cash flow planning as standard, but it’s worth checking if it’s included in any ongoing service (In case you’re wondering, cash flow planning is included as standard within our service at no additional cost!).
Example retirement cashflow:
Together with your financial adviser, you can create a number of different retirement cash flow plans based on different scenarios. The objective of any plan is to achieve as many of your goals as possible, whilst ensuring your funds last throughout retirement.
5) Keeping on top of your plans
Like most plans, they tend to change. So, keeping on top of your retirement cash flow on a regular basis can make sure you make the most of your money.
This does vary by individual / couple, but generally, I would recommend meeting with your adviser annually, although for some this can be every 2 years.
Hopefully, that’s useful. If you would like to get going with your retirement plans or just want to tidy up and simplify your finances, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or give me a call on 0117 924 9713.
Have a great day!