HOW TO PLAN FOR RETIREMENT & WHY

Hello friends, welcome back to the Bulletproof Life blog, where I share tips and hacks to help you make the right personal finance choices and decisions for building a bulletproof life. And of course, this includes your plan for retirement.

Today I’m going to ask you some nosey questions like:

  • When do you plan to retire? 
  • How will you survive when you retire?
  • Have you made retirement plans? 
  • Do you think you’re too young to talk about retirement?

If you don’t have a definitive answer to at least 3 of these 4 questions, then I’m here to tell you that you are gambling with your future and might end up in a place that you won’t like very much. 

To make sure that doesn’t happen, let’s talk about your retirement plans, why you should be thinking about your retirement even if you are in your 20s or 30s and how you can afford the life you love when you do retire. 

More Years In Retirement

Studies have shown that medical advancement and access to better medical care and quality of life means that you and I can live a lot longer life than previous generations have lived. 

This means that you are going to be in retirement for more years than you will expect. Imagine you retire at the age of 70 and then go on to live for another 40 years. This means you will need a lot more money to live a good life in retirement than before.

The Earlier You Start, The More You Will Have

The earlier you start planning towards your retirement, the more money you can put away and the better your retirement life. 

Do you want to be the old lady in a budget nursing home, shuffling around in a housecoat and a pair of old, tired slippers or the glamourous lady on holiday all year round and living their best life? 

So the earlier you get on top of your retirement plan, the more money you can put away and the better life you can have.

Compound Interest

Compound interest is this beautiful thing that can turn a penny into a million dollars because you have put it away and allowed the power of time and a 7% interest rate to work on it. 

So if you start putting away money in your retirement plan today, you are going to be better off than someone who starts putting away money ten years later, even if they are putting away more than you did monthly or annually. This is because you will have had the benefit of compound interest for ten years.

There Could Be Need for Early Retirement

Life is unpredictable, and although many of us are planning to work to the official retirement age of whatever country we are living in (which is anything from 65-75 years), there could be reasons for early retirement.

 Some people develop health issues that require them to retire earlier than planned. If this is you, you will miss out on years of work and also start dipping into your retirement benefits much earlier than planned.

Delay Could Mean Bigger Contributions in Future

Every year you delay putting money into your retirement plan is an extra year you will have to make bigger contributions to meet your retirement goals. 

It means that you have to make bigger contributions down the line, and you don’t know if you’re going to be able to do that depending on what other expenses you have as the years go by.

Now you have five good reasons to start making retirement plans right now (if you haven’t before). Let’s get into the steps you need to plan your retirement.

Develop Good Money Habits

The first step in planning your retirement is to develop good money habits. I have made a recent post where I talked about three money skills you need to take control of your finances and manage your money better. To plan for your retirement well, you need to have good money habits to help you save. These skills will create an opportunity for you to take out a chunk of your money so you can put that into your retirement plan monthly or annually. 

Decide your Retirement Goals

In addition to having good money habits, you also need to ask yourself some questions:

  • When do I want to stop active work and start living off my retirement pension or contributions?
  • What is my ideal retirement?
  • What lifestyle do I want to have in retirement? 
  • How much do I need to live that ideal retirement lifestyle?

These are the kind of questions you need to ask yourself because the answers will help you decide how much you need to put away for your ideal retirement. 

Determine How Much You Need to Put Away

It can be hard to figure out the exact amount you need to invest monthly in order to live your ideal life when you are 65 or 70 years old.

However, you can talk to a licensed pension adviser who can calculate the figures and give you an estimate. You can also use a pension calculator like the ones here and here.

Here are a few retirement plan options to consider:

For me, my ideal retirement life is to see the world, travel around countries that have gorgeous, delicious foods and explore tropical countries, especially in Africa. 

Once you know your ideal retirement life and how much you need to be putting away monthly (based on your income, lifestyle and age), you now need to know what your pension investment options are. 

1. Employer’s pension scheme

If you are employed, your employer should register you automatically in a pension plan. A lot of employers do this. They will give you a form at the time of joining so you can opt-in to a pension plan. 

So, if you have previously opted out of your employer’s pension plan, this is a good time for you to call HR and opt back into your pension plan. 

In countries like the UK, the employer matches your pension contributions. This means that the employer pays a certain percentage into your pension based on the percentage you pay into your pension, with a minimum employer contribution defined by the government.  

So, a good place to start is to opt into your employer’s pensions plan.

2. Private Pension Plans (PPP)

For those who are self-employed or are contractors, you can purchase private pension plans. The beauty of private pension plans is that you can choose the ones you like. Your pension provider is not chosen for you by anyone but you. 

There are a large number of tax-efficient private pension plans that offer these programs. You can opt-in and make contributions towards it. It’s a win-win for you to put money away into a PPP. 

Even as an employee, you could buy a PPP depending on the country you live in. In the UK, you can buy an additional pension plan. You can also invest by yourself using the Self – Invested Pension plan (SIPP)

However, please be aware that many countries or tax regimes restrict how much you can contribute to a pension plan.

3. Consolidate your Pensions

A lot of us over the years change jobs. Research has shown that people do about eleven jobs in their lifetime. So if you start a job and opt into their pension program, you may soon change job and opt into the new pension plan in your new workplace. 

That means you have two or more pension contributions. What you need to do is to consolidate your pension as this makes it easier for you to track your entire pension.

There is a 400million pounds worth of unclaimed pension in the UK. 

I mean people have a pension they haven’t claimed simply because they have lost track of it and this is partly because they have been moving jobs and have not consolidated their pensions.

To avoid this, make a list of all the jobs you have done in the past where you might have joined a pension plan and then consolidate them. 

To consolidate your pension, you have to pick one or two pension plans that you want all your pension to go into, track down all your other previous pensions and move them in. That way, your entire pension fund is in one place. Usually, a pension adviser can do that for you. 

In conclusion…

Now that you know your retirement options and why it’s never too early to start planning your retirement, you have no excuse to go on without a pension. It’s time to take care of your future self. 

So if you don’t have your retirement sorted, put it on your to-do list for December and let’s get that sorted. 

I hope you found this post informative and useful; I look forward to your comments.

Until my next post, 

All my love,

Ronke O.

Published by ronkeodewumi

I am a Chartered Accountant (ACMA, CGMA) and seasoned Management Consultant with about 16 years of experience driving the delivery of strategic solutions to complex problems of global firms. Through my blog, youtube channel, social media, tailored courses and downloadable material, I share information, resources and tips to help you manage your money better, grow your business, progress in your career, thrive in difficult times and create a life that is safe from failure, while being the best version of yourself. You will also find here links to my youtube videos where I share more nuggets to help you achieve and live your dream life. I am based in London, United Kingdom and always happy to connect with you via email (ronkeodewumi@gmail.com), social media or my contact page here.

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