The single most important decision you can make to help realise your long-term goals

Retirement planning involves making your plans for the future now – that means investing your money with the aim of maximising its value ready for when you retire. Careful retirement planning, the right mix of assets and starting sooner rather than later will help lead to the retirement you are looking for.

Historically, for many people, the traditional view of saving for retirement was to simply put your money into a pension, with few decisions to make in the run-up to your retirement date and no choice over how the pension was taken.


Reviewing your retirement planning

Having a pension today is recognised as just one important step along the path to achieving your dreams once you have stopped working. Now, not only must you carefully consider where you actually invest your pension money and how you are going to use your pension, but if appropriate you should also review other forms of retirement savings. Reviewing your retirement planning is critical and probably the single most important decision you can make to help you realise your long-term goals.

Different investment choices produce different results. It’s essential that you contact us to review all your retirement investments to make sure they are heading in the right direction. If your circumstances change, some investments may no longer be appropriate. It’s important to get these things right, as you will be relying on the provisions you make now to generate income after you retire.

Factors that will determine your strategy

When building or reviewing your pension portfolio, there are a number of factors that will determine your strategy, including the level of risk you are willing to take. This is likely to change throughout your life, which means your investment strategy will also need to change. Receiving professional advice plays a vital role in helping to make sure that your pension holdings match your risk profile and your investment goals.

Typically, people in the early years of the term of their pension may feel they have time to take more risks with their investments, to increase the potential for higher returns. As they approach retirement and the duration of the investment is shorter, they may prefer, more predictability, to start to plan for their future after work. Alternatively, if they have reached their pension age and are still investing part of their fund while drawing benefits, they may prefer to keep an element of greater risk in return for higher potential growth.

When it comes to retirement planning

Your 40s is ‘the golden decade’ when it comes to retirement planning. This is when you should be putting as much as possible into your pension to give your contributions time to grow.

In your 50s, you may want to start

making decisions about your retirement. If you are going to convert all of your retirement funds into income the moment you retire, you may wish to start reducing risk now. If you expect to keep it mainly invested, you may wish to keep a good weighting in investments based on shares. After all, with the growing trend towards taking work in retirement, many people may feel they can afford to keep their pension invested for longer while drawing an income.

Delaying the start of your retirement provision may have an obvious impact on the potential growth of your pension. Not only will the time period for growth potential be reduced, but you could also be passing up the opportunity for valuable tax relief.

Streamlined pension regime

Pensions have always provided a highly tax-efficient environment for long-term retirement investments. However, in April 2006, a streamlined pension regime introduced a number of additional benefits, including the potential to contribute larger sums into your pension fund when the timing is right for you.

Key pre-retirement considerations

People estimate that living reasonably comfortably in retirement requires around 60%[1] of the income you had while you were working. Everybody’s circumstances are different, but the key considerations for most people when they think about retiring will come down to factors such as:

- if they’re renting, paying a mortgage or mortgage-free

- if they have any debt

- if they plan to keep working

- how much money they have saved in pensions and other investments

[1] Source: Scottish Widows, October 2014