Are You (Financially) Ready For Retirement?

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If you’re at the younger end of the boomer generation, then retirement should be high on your list of priorities.  In fact, even if you’re in Gen X, retirement should be one of your key considerations, especially if you’re at the older end of it.  This means you should be assessing your financial provisions for retirement very carefully.  Here are some of the key points you should consider.

What does your ideal retirement look like?

Answering this question requires answering two, more specific questions.  Firstly, what age do you want to be when you retire?  Secondly, what kind of lifestyle do you want to live?  These answers to these questions will give you an idea of how much money you need to finance your ideal retirement.

What does your worst-case retirement look like?

The answer to this question is likely to be the inverse of the answer to the previous one.  For example, if you wanted to retire early and play golf, it would be having to work for much longer.  If, on the other hand, you wanted to stay at work as long as possible, then it would be having to retire early.  Again, however, defining this scenario will give you an idea of how much money you would need to finance it.

Where are you now?

Do you already have enough money to finance your dream retirement?  If not, how much time do you have left before you reach the age where you want to retire?  If necessary, could you go on working for longer?  The answer to this last question could have a significant bearing on your retirement prospects.  It’s therefore advisable to consider it carefully.

Realistically, the first point to consider is the likelihood of you staying healthy enough to work.  This does not necessarily mean working at your current job.  If it’s highly demanding, you may need to leave it behind.

It could, however, mean taking up some other employed role, going freelance and/or starting your own business.  If you are planning a career change, then think of the financial impact of this.  In other words, how would your potential income compare to your current one?  This will help to ensure that you don’t overestimate what you could earn.

One final point, that could be very important, is your personal situation.  In particular, are you likely to need to take on any caring responsibilities?  For example, are you likely to find yourself with grandchildren or grand-nephews/nieces? Childcare is notoriously expensive.  Working-age relatives might be very grateful for any assistance you can offer.

What changes are you able/willing to make?

If you still own your family home, then you need to think seriously about what to do with it.  You first need to decide whether or not you want to stay in it.  If you don’t, then you can look at alternatives that may lower your cost.  These can include somewhat “off-beat” ones.  For example, if you don’t have to worry about commuting to work, you might consider living on a houseboat for a while.

If you do want to, then you need to assess your house thoroughly for its ability to support your ageing in place.  Some properties may already have everything you need.  Some may be easy and affordable to update so they meet your requirements.

In other cases, however, updates may require significant investment.  You first have to decide whether or not you can actually afford this.  If you can, you then have to think about whether or not it’s really worth it.

If you do want to keep your family home, there are options that may help to lower the cost.  Some of these, such as Equity Release, may also help with estate planning.  Any decision to do with your home should, however, only be taken with great care and, preferably, after a discussion with a qualified financial advisor.

A lifetime mortgage is not suitable for everyone, and it is important to seek financial advice before taking any action.  All other options available should be explored before choosing equity release.

Interest is charged on both the original loan and the interest that has been added, the amount you owe will increase over time, reducing the equity left in your home potentially to nothing.  Please discuss with your family and beneficiaries.


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