Retirement is something to look forward to. After a life dedicated to work and family, it offers us the space to relax and spend a little more time on ourselves. The average retirement age is 62, meaning the average period spent in retirement is around 16 years. But with people living longer and life becoming more expensive, it might be worth thinking about your retirement savings a little earlier than you planned – even when retirement seems impossibly far in the future.
Retirement planning sounds scary and saving for retirement can seem futile when you’re so far from it, but it’s a sensible and astute life decision. In this guide, we’ll simplify the options for retirement investment so that when the time comes, you can put your feet up without money worries.
How much money do I need to retire?
When you think of your retirement you probably imagine the same quality of life as you live now – if not better. But if you want to keep up the good times into your old age, you’ll need to understand exactly how much money should be waiting for you in your retirement pot.
It’s estimated that you’ll need 70-90% of your pre-retirement income to maintain the same standard of living – including inflation and any pension income you may receive. However, if you still have a mortgage, plan to tick off some big bucket list goals, or if you’re likely to need medical care, that amount can really begin to add up.
Whether you’re 25 or 55, now is the time to start investing if you’ve not already chipped away at your retirement savings. The longer your money is in your retirement fund, the more time it has to earn interest.
So even if you start small and increase the amount as you get older, it’s better to start earlier rather than later. However, if you want to enjoy a financially secure retirement, you should consider early retirement planning and contribute to your savings plans by your early 30s.
Setting up an automatic transfer every month is an easy way to get started, as it can fit into your existing budget, increase as your salary grows, and means you don’t even need to think about your retirement until the time comes closer.
Financial planning for retirement
Retirement investments are a good way to make your money grow faster when you’re saving for retirement and can run alongside your workplace pension. Retirement investment accounts offer options including stocks for growth, bonds for safety, and other alternative asset options depending on your timescale and your risk aversion.
Early retirement investment is a smart move because the longer your money sits in investments the stronger it becomes. So, if you commit to investing when you’re younger, you’ll have more opportunity to scale back later in life when your nest egg has had the time to benefit from years, if not decades, of growth.
Eliminate your debt
The less debt you have at the beginning of your retirement, the better your post-work years will be. A rule of thumb from financial experts is that everyone should aim to be debt-free by the age of 65. You don’t want to enter retirement owing money – you want all your hard-earned investments to go towards your new lease of life. So paying off car loans, mortgages, credit cards, and any other debt you might have incurred should be a priority before you hit 60.
It’s never too late to start
Even if you don’t start saving for your retirement until your 50s, it’s better to start late than never. Not everyone has the privilege of a pension plan or even a stable income to help them build a strong pension pot. But it pays to be prepared as soon as you can be.
And if you’re late to the game, you’re not alone. Plenty of people are unprepared for retirement and don't understand the reality of how expensive life after work can be. Your best bet is to get stuck into retirement planning and investments that can accelerate your savings at a faster rate so you can improve your circumstances in the long run.
How much money do I need for my retirement?
Experts estimate that you need 70-90% of your pre-retirement income to maintain the same standard of living when you retire. However, if you want to travel or tick off big bucket list items, you might need to save more.
When should I start saving for retirement?
You should start saving for your retirement as early as possible, ideally before your early thirties. Set up a pension pot as soon as you start working, or enroll into your employer’s pension scheme.
Should I invest for my retirement?
Retirement investment options like growth stocks, ISAs, bonds, and other assets are a good way to grow your wealth over time. The longer your money has to mature, the larger your pot will be when you get older and decide to scale back.
What should I do about my debt?
If possible, you should aim to be debt-free by 65 so you can enter retirement with no money owed. This includes student loans, mortgages, car payments, and credit cards.
Is it too late to save for retirement?
It’s never too late to start saving, and the sooner you start the easier it is.