In the past, most people worked until the age of 60 or 65 and then retired with a combination of state and company or private pensions. Therefore, you were either working and receiving a salary or you were retired and being paid a pension. Nowadays, especially since the introduction of pension freedoms in 2015, retirement can be more fluid as you move from full-time work to full time retirement gradually over several years.
In this sense retirement is a journey not an event because you don’t have to make big one-off decisions when you first retire. It may be better to ease into retirement step by step by making a number of smaller but equally important decisions as you get older and your financial and personal circumstances change.
Your retirement journey will hopefully be a long one but it may not be as smooth as you would like because we live in uncertain times. It may be good news that we are living longer, but more people are spending their last few years in poor health, often needing expensive healthcare.
Your objectives and priorities may change over time as you balance the need for flexibility in early retirement with the need for peace of mind and security later on. There are four different stages of retirement, and you should plan for each stage.
Generally speaking, in the countdown to retirement you should review your investments and make sure you are not taking too much investment risk. If the stock market falls shortly before you retire and you are over exposed to equities you could retire with a much-reduced pension pot and less income than you thought.
As you approach retirement you will have to make some of the most important financial decisions of your life. These include working out how much income you take from your pension pot and how much risk you take. Throughout this guide I will explain how you can make better decisions if you plan ahead.
This is the period where you should make sure your retirement finances remain in good shape. It is vitally important your plans are constantly reviewed to make sure your plans remain on track.
As you approach the last phase of retirement the priority is to make sure you have financial security. You should think about peace of mind for your family and this may involve reviewing your wills and making sure you have set up a lasting powers of attorney. If you need extra money you can consider equity release.
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