Thinking ahead for your retirement
If you’re young, energetic and in good health, you’re in the perfect position to start thinking about retirement. It’s never too soon to begin making plans, but if you have left it until late in the day, that’s no reason to despair. Even with limited time or funds, good planning can make for a happy retirement.
When considering retirement, the first thing you need to do is work out what your financial situation is. If you’ve worked in a government job, you’ll have been paying into a retirement fund automatically, and even if you held that job for just a short time there will be some money you can access. If not, examine your contracts of employment, past and present, to see if your employer made similar arrangements. You may also be able to access retirement funds from your trade union. If you still have some years of working life ahead of you, consider setting up a private retirement fund. It’s often possible to do this through an insurer.
Many people worry that they may be unable to retire because they don’t have enough money, but it’s usually possible to find a solution. Where money really makes a difference is in the quality of post-retirement life. What many people overlook, however, is that they may have other sources of money, such as a home which they plan to leave anyway or stocks and shares they had forgotten about. It’s worth speaking to a professional financial advisor to work out what your assets could be worth.
Once you’ve established that you can retire, the next question is do you want to? Simply reaching a certain age doesn’t make retirement mandatory. Retiring too soon can result in boredom and frustration. There’s no reason why your later years need to be empty, though, and if you give up work it might be time for you to pursue a different passion such as writing, painting or learning to play a musical instrument. Working out how to approach this ahead of time means you won’t suddenly find yourself plunged into uncertainty.
In the long term, most of us become infirm, and housing choices in later life need to take this into account. It’s not an easy time to live alone in a remote location. Many people, however, prefer to remain in their own homes, especially if they have friends nearby and if it’s possible to arrange for home-based care as and when they might need it. Others move in with their children, sometimes helping out with tasks like cooking or babysitting and thereby making a contribution to the household.
If none of these things appeal to you, there’s a third option, which is life in a retirement community. These can be fantastic places for gregarious people who want to retain their independent living in retirement, but know help is nearby should they need it. They’re also places where there’s usually plenty going on to keep you busy. Choosing to retire doesn’t mean settling for a quiet life.