I stare at my mother sometimes and think about how quickly life is passing. The concept of me growing older is one thing but I forget others are growing too. This includes my nieces and nephews as well as the elders in my family. As I dọ̀bálẹ̀* out of respect for them, they often remind me that sooner or later, we will be the next generation. Change is a journey that is inevitable and we have to embrace all aspects of it. This includes retirement.
*dọ̀bálẹ̀ – stretched out with face on the ground in adoration or submission also: lying flat. Another term for it is ‘to prostrate’.
When I was first at a loss with understanding what my pension looked like, I went to https://www.yourpension.gov.uk/ and stared in disbelief as I looked the age my State Pension would be available to me. The age was 68. Looking back on it now I laugh but it’s entirely one of the reasons I work as hard as I do. Every time I see someone over the age of 60 that is still working and it doesn’t feel like an option, I think about how we can make decisions that help us think ahead for the sake of future comfortability.
A pension calculator is a great way to get an idea of how much you’ll need to contribute towards your retirement. From your current age to your personal monthly contribution to what your employer is adding, it builds a clearer picture of what your golden years will look like.
Here are a few other great tips that will help you prepare for retirement.
Talk to your employer about what your pension includes
You want to start by knowing how much you’re contributing towards your pension. This is usually marked out as a percentage and when you join a company you should be automatically enrolled on the basis that you earn over £10,000 a year and you are over the age of 22. Take the next step by asking how the money in your pension will be invested.
For those of you who are self-employed, it’s worth looking into getting a personal pension, also known as a SIPP (Self Invested Personal Pension). There is the option to use a Lifetime ISA (LISA) as a pension too, if you meet certain criteria. All proceeds added to your LISA are tax-free from the age of 60 whereas, with a pension, only 25% of it is guaranteed to be tax-free. It’s time to think about your options.
Stay out of debt and save
Understandably, it’s been a rough time for everyone in one way or another. Irrespective of this, it’s really important to keep your debts low. Clear that overdraft, clear your credit card, get a debt repayment plan in place and start building/rebuilding that emergency fund. Don’t dip into your savings and keep making long term goals that are 3 years, 5 years, 10 and more. Grand occasions such as children, weddings and property are all things to look forward to but look further and create viable habits now.
PensionBee has been a great resource for me to understand my retirement options in its totality. Their pensions explained section is the place I go-to for every possible scenario. One of the best things I did was start asking questions. I may not always know the answers and I may feel embarrassed to ask but a moment of uncertainty is better than the regret of finding out when there isn’t much time to correct the mistakes of my youth. So get started, it’s not as daunting as you might think.
This post has been sponsored by Pension Bee.