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I feel very prepared for my retirement, but are there any final aspects I need to consider?

3 Comments
First of all, congratulations. If you feel prepared for retirement, you should be proud of the hard work that you must have put in – as there are many, many unprepared people who would love to be in your shoes.
 
However, there might still be one or two additional things that you should consider looking at, to ensure you are even more prepared. Retirement is such a life-changing experience that you don’t want to look back with any regrets.
 

Here are the four things that you need to consider

Investigate your retirement income options

 
The rules around utilising your pension are changing from April 2015. Everyone with a defined contribution pension will be able to access and use their pension fund however they like when they reach the age of 55 – you can even withdraw the full pot as a lump sum (although only the first 25% would be tax-free).
 
If you have already gone through your likely expenses when you finish working, you need to consider what level of retirement income you will be able to rely upon to meet them. What you do with your pension fund is one of the biggest financial decisions you will ever make, so make sure this doesn’t become an afterthought and investigate your options now as part of your retirement planning.
 
If you have already gone through your likely expenses in retirement, you need to consider what level of income you will be able to rely upon to meet them
 

Start to visualise your life in retirement

 
This is not simply day-dreaming about going on a luxury holiday, but the actual practical day-to-day realities of retired life. There are many, many positives about being retired, but there are negatives too. Some people feel lonely and miss their working environment; others miss the satisfaction of making a difference in their career – as they are left with a huge gap to fill.
 
Think about what you enjoy about your life as it is, and what elements you would miss if it was taken away during retirement. That way, you can start to consider making plans to address any potential issues in retirement. 
 
For example, if you believe you are the type of person who will miss the satisfaction of a productive day’s work, how about undertaking some volunteering in retirement? If you think you might find it difficult to fill your day, consider ways of still applying some form of routine to life after you stop working. 
 
Another key issue is your fitness and health – don’t allow your body and mind to decline through inactivity. Of course, retiring is a time for relaxation, but don’t switch off completely – otherwise you may pay the price later.  
 
Think about what you enjoy about your life as it is, and what elements you would miss if it was taken away during retirement
 

3. Investigate the range of benefits available to you in retirement

 
The basic State pension is an obvious benefit that most people receive in retirement, but there are a range of others too. According to Age UK, around £5 billion of benefits go unclaimed by over 60s every year. 
 
The following State benefits may be available as you get older, providing you claim for them:
 
  • Pension credit (available if your income is below a certain limit, or if you have saved money towards retirement, such as via a pension – see www.hmrc.co.uk for more information)
  • Cold weather payment
  • Winter fuel payment
  • Help with certain health costs
  • Council Tax discount (if you live on your own or your partner has a disability)
  • Free travel pass (once you reach 60)
  • Free TV licence (if you or anyone in your household is 75 or over)
  • Free eye tests and free prescriptions
 

4. Consider if you can afford to defer your State pension

 
The benefit of waiting to claim? You might be able to earn a higher retirement income. 
 
Under current rules, your State pension will increase by 1% for every five weeks you put off claiming, or 10.4% a year.
 
If you are entitled to receive the full State pension at the 2014/15 rate, you would receive an additional £611 by deferring for a year (State pension is worth £5,881.20 a year, 10.4% of £5,881.20 is £611). 
 
The rules are set to change in 2016, where your State pension will increase by 1% for every 10 weeks you put off claiming.
 

Comments

Are you sure 'when you reach 60" for travel passes - for many in retirement planning' i would question this
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Travel pass is now issued in line with normal retirement age
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Anyone considering deferring their state pension needs to calculate how long it takes to recoup the pension they have lost during the deferral. I think it will take approximately just over 9 years to be in a break even position using current rules. So if you are pessimistic about your life expectancy deferral may not be a good strategy. Obviously this analysis is a bit simplistic and the figures will change from 2016.
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