7 tips for your retirement plans

How to get you and your retirement plans ready again.

It’s been said ‘a good plan today is a better than perfect plan tomorrow’. Naturally, it might feel like your plans for your future have been put on hold due to the recent world events with Coronavirus. But as lockdown measures change and public life adapts and prepares for what lies ahead - how could you start to pick your retirement plans up again?

Have faith in your plan

You’ve done a lot of hard work and made a lot of decisions to get you to where you are. It’s good to recognise that. Look at what you’ve saved and what you’ve done so far to give you the opportunity to make whatever plan you like. If you’ve benefited from financial advice, your adviser has spent time to ensure you have a robust plan based on your needs.

Continue to save

You can keep paying money into your pension, even if stock markets are continuing to fluctuate. A pension is a long term investment, but by continuing to invest you could buy your investments at a lower cost – with the aim of benefiting as markets bounce back. But remember, those investments can go down as well us up.

Use some cash

Thinking of taking money from your pension? Could you use some saved cash to get you by? Not everyone can do this, but it might give the investments in your pension some time to recover from market dips. It means you’re not selling your investments at a lower price. Once it’s gone, you’ve lost the opportunity for the value to go back up.

Get to know your pension

As well as keeping a close eye on the value of your pension and investments performance, take time to remind yourself of what your pension does. Not all pensions are the same. You might have additional terms or features that could affect what you can do with your pension savings at retirement. Your pension’s literature will hold this detail or we’ll remind you as you get closer to your retirement date. It’s also quick and easy to stay up-to-date with your pension on our mobile app.

Make your money last

It might be obvious but be careful when considering taking the money from your pension savings. Whether it’s an income or a cash lump sum, it will have long-term impact on what you end up with.

The money you've saved will need to last for the whole of your retirement. Make plans for your income and what you spend it on carefully. You don’t want to run out of money. Take time to think about how much you need, how long it needs to last for and how to manage it, so it doesn't run out.

With market fluctuations it may be tempting to take 100% of your pension when you retire. But think about the amount of time you could have in retirement. In some ways you still need to think longer-term, as you did when you were saving for retirement. You could still benefit from buying during market dips. Not to mention the eroding effect of inflation could have on your cash too.

Be flexible

So, you have your plan, but conversely and somewhat ironically, you’ll also need to be prepared to be flexible. Of course, you may have a specific retirement date as a focus. With times changing, you'll need an open mind. We're seeing businesses and public life being more flexible, changing and working differently. In this new landscape you might have to work longer than you thought to save for what you want to do. Or maybe even work part time – to suit you better. If working for longer isn’t possible then saving more now could be another option to get you to where you want to be. Remember, you might have contribution limits.

Get help if you need it

Uncertainties have been heightened recently but it’s good to know you can get help. We’ll always recommend you get the right financial advice and guidance when it comes to your pension savings and your retirement options. Take a look at how to find good financial advice if you’re looking for help. There’s also Pension Wise, a free impartial service offered by the government to help you understand your options at retirement. They’re available on 0800 138 1586 (every day 8am-10pm) or at pensionwise.gov.uk

No one can predict the future and we continue to live in changeable times, but there’s things you can do over time and help is available to create your plan.