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February 2022

Staggered Retirement

560 315 Eleonore Bylo

A more popular and increasingly common option many are considering.

Giving up the 9-to-5 doesn’t necessarily mean stopping work. But retirement planning has taken on an entirely new dimension as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak with many big questions being asked. When you picture yourself in your golden years, are you sitting on a beach, hitting the golf course, or still working behind a desk? For many people of retirement age, continuing to work is an option they are considering. Increasingly people are planning to stagger work or work flexibly. This can really appeal to some individuals who have caring responsibilities or health issues, or who are thinking about retiring in the next few years. 

Sudden transition from working five days a week

Several decades ago, working and retirement were binary terms, with little overlap. People were either working (and under the age of 65) or had hit the age of 65 and were retired. That’s no longer true, however, as staggered retirement is becoming more popular and more common.

Few people benefit from the sudden transition from working five days a week to not working at all. Retirement can often be an unsettling period and it’s not surprising given that the most common path into retirement is to go ‘cold turkey’ and simply stop working. 

More flexible retirement and working part-time

New research has highlighted the fact that fewer people are deciding against completely stopping working and are opting for a staggered and more flexible retirement and working part-time[1]. Nearly one in three (32%) pensioners in their 60s and 16% of over70s have left their pensions untouched. And of those who haven’t accessed their pension pot, nearly half (48%) of those in their 60s, and 24% of over-70s, say it is because they are still working. With people living longer, and the added prospect of health care costs in laterlife, retirees increasingly  understand the benefits of having a larger pension pot in later life.

Pensions are required to last as long as possible

Of those who haven’t accessed their pension pot, half (51%) say it is because they are still working while more than a quarter (25%) of people in their 60s say it is because they want their pensions to last as long as possible. Of course, retirees who haven’t accessed their pension pot must have alternative sources of income. When asked about their income, nearly half said they take an income from cash savings (47%), others rely on their spouse or partner’s income (35%) or State Pension (22%) while 12% rely on income from property investments added prospect of health care costs in laterlife, retirees increasingly understand the benefits of having a larger pension pot in later life. 

Offering people different financial and health benefits

This trend for staggered retirements offers many financial and health benefits. It is often taken for granted but continued good health is one of the best financial assets people can have. The benefits of working – such as remaining physically active and continued social interaction – can make a big difference to people’s mental wellbeing and overall health in retirement. People are increasingly making alternative choices about retirement to ensure that they do not run out of money, but it’s also really important to make pension savings work past retirement age so as not to miss out on the ability to generate growth above inflation for when there is the requirement to start drawing a pension. 

Worried about retirement uncertainty?

Planning your financial future is one of the most important things you can do in your life. Do you require professional advice and help with your retirement planning during this difficult time? Speak to us to find out how we can help you.

Guide to the final countdown

560 315 Eleonore Bylo

Time to review your financial plans with a financial check-up? 

If you are aiming to retire within the next five years, it’s time to get into the mindset of considering the practicalities of fulfilling your desired lifestyle and making plans. While you should think about retirement planning as early as possible, the five years leading up to retirement are critical. 

Retirement may be looming with terrifying urgency, and the reality is that you have just 60 pay packets left until you retire. This is a time when you’ll need to obtain up-to-date pension forecasts and obtain professional financial advice to make sure your retirement plans are on track. So, if you believe you are five years or less away from retirement, now is the time to seriously review your financial plans with a financial check-up.

What are the key things to concentrate on?

 The first step is to ask yourself if you are actually ready to retire. There are many factors to consider. Your financial affairs are the big factor to begin with. Your ability to afford retirement depends on your lifestyle, your family situation and home ownership. If you have dependent children, or have 15 years left on your mortgage, the time might not be quite right. You have to ensure retirement is the right move for you. Work can be stressful, but it can be rewarding and give you a sense of achievement. People may miss the routine of working life and the day-to-day interaction with people. 

Taking a different path

What you need might not be retirement, it could be change. A chance to get out from behind your desk to do something meaningful. Perhaps retirement is your ticket to achieving this – taking a different path where money is no longer the prime motivation. 

If you are afraid about having time on your hands after retirement, explore options for filling it well before you take the leap. 

Major change in lifestyle  

Retirement means a major change in lifestyle. You need a clear mind as to what you want your life to look like and how to spend your time. Then you can work on arranging your finances to suit. 

Decide on your priorities for retired life. Do you want to travel, or split your time between home and somewhere hot and exotic? Is there a particular hobby you want to immerse yourself in? What kind of leisure and social activities matter to you? 

Later years in your retirement

Try not to get caught up in what happens right after you end work – also consider the later years in your retirement. Will long-term travel continue to be feasible as you get older? Will you need such a large house, or will it become a burden? And what about in the latter stages of life? Would you need to fund care?  

You must also have a clear picture of what kind of life you would like to lead in retirement and what it will cost. Then you can start to dig a little deeper into what you might be able to afford. This means getting to grips with your sources of income once your earnings stop. 

Request up-to-date forecasts

Your first port of call is your pension – or pensions. Contact previous pension trustees to request up-to-date forecasts. If you’ve lost details of a pension scheme and need help, the Pension Tracing Service (0800 731 0193) may be able to assist you.  

You should also find out what your likely State Pension entitlement would be – you can do this by completing a BR19 form or by visiting www.direct.gov.uk. 

Consolidate existing pensions

If you have personal pensions, you need to find out where they are invested and how they have performed. Also check if there are any valuable guarantees built into the contracts. It may make sense to consolidate existing pensions, making it easier for y ou to keep track of everything and reduce the amount of correspondence you receive.  

With investments in general, it is important to review your strategy before you take the leap into retirement. You don’t need to suddenly become an ultra-conservative investor – you still want your portfolio to grow over the next few decades. Should the investment markets make a correction, you may want to limit your downside. Don’t forget, there may be another 30 years ahead. 

Don’t put off confronting the truth

If your investments don’t look on course to give you the income you’d hoped for in retirement, don’t put off confronting the truth. You may need to revise your projected living costs. Alternatively, there’s still time to change your investments, and you could also cut back on spending while you are still earning to generate more savings.  

Your income can be used in other ways besides topping up your savings as you prepare for retirement. Clearing debts, including your mortgage, should be a priority before you retire. Whatever you owe on credit cards and loans, focus on paying off the debt that charges the most interest first. Debt will be the biggest burden once you do not have a regular working income. 

Consider re-adjusting your finances

Having no mortgage to pay is a major step towards re-adjusting your finances for a post-salary life. You might also decide you want to sell up, whether to downsize, to give you a lump sum of cash to live off, or to fund your dreams of moving abroad. Either way, use your working income while you can to improve your home, maximising potential revenue when you come to sell it.  

Finally, retirement is a huge change, both personally and financially – so big it might be too much to take in all at once. It makes good sense to practice at being retired before it becomes a reality, especially if you will have to make certain adjustments and sacrifices to compensate for a reduced income. You might even consider a phased retirement, cutting back on your hours gradually. This will not only soften the financial effect, but it will also get you used to having more spare time to fill. 

Are you planning to enjoy your retirement?

One of the most important stages in life which everybody has to save for is retirement. You work hard to enjoy your current lifestyle, but are you doing enough to ensure that you can continue to enjoy it in your retirement?

If you would like to review your situation or arrange a meeting to discuss your retirement planning options, please contact us for further information – we look forward to hearing from you.