Planning for your golden years: New experiences top priorities

In the past, retirement may have been associated with slowing down and taking it easy. But that’s no longer the case. Thousands of retirees are looking forward to giving up work to enjoy an exciting pace of life and gain new experiences. With more freedom and choice than ever before, it’s becoming more important to plan carefully for the retirement you want.

When Pension Freedoms were introduced in 2015, those approaching retirement age were given far more flexibility in how they create an income. As the meaning of retirement for each person is different and evolving, this greater flexibility allows more people to achieve their aspirations. Whilst your parents or grandparents may have been focussed on kicking back and spending time with family, these may not be your top priorities.

In fact, research conducted looking at how Pension Freedoms had affected retirement in 2017, suggested that relaxation was often far from the minds of retirees.

A survey from LV= found that half of retirees find the new phase of life exciting, with discovering new skills and travelling further afield at the top of their retirement wish list.

  • 64% of those that stopped working in the years following Pension Freedoms, said it opened new opportunities for them
  • 55% invested time in hobbies
  • 46% took the opportunity to holiday in places they hadn’t visited before, with the Caribbean, Australia and cruises proving a popular choice
  • 20% devoted time to learning new skills

What does this mean for your income?

Traditionally, expenditure has decreased as you leave the world of work and gradually over time as you settle into retirement. However, with more retirees now looking forward to embracing opportunities further afield, it’s a trend that could change.

This will depend entirely on what your plans for retirement are. If you’ve been envisioning grand plans of travelling to new destinations, keeping your skills up to date or investing in a hobby, you could find your outgoings each year actually increase. If your retirement goals follow this modern approach it means you’ll need to take a far more active role in managing your income throughout the length of your retirement.

A big part of this is how you’ll access the money saved into pensions and when. Under Pension Freedoms, most people can access their pension from the age of 55 onwards. You’re free to choose at which points you’ll make a withdrawal. However, this is just the start of the decisions you’ll need to make. Would your retirement plans benefit if you:

  • Made a lump sum withdrawal
  • Access your pension flexibly throughout retirement
  • Purchase a guaranteed income using an Annuity
  • Or a combination of the above?

There are pros and cons to each option, but the key thing to keep in mind is how they could fund the retirement lifestyle you want.

Setting out your plans

With the above in mind, it’s important to set out your plans as you approach the milestone. Whilst these aren’t set in stone it’s an exercise that can help you understand how your income needs will change over the course of retirement and whether your aspirations match up with the financial provisions you’ve made.

Without a plan, retirement can offer much but fall short of expectation. Often, retirees discover they’re in a better position financially than they thought when all assets are considered. Without taking the time to assess what you want and how to achieve it, some may believe that attainable aspirations are out of reach.

Alternatively, flexibly accessing your pension presents the very real risk of running out of money. Not understanding that there could be a shortfall, could leave you financially vulnerable in later years. Recognising this during the planning phase gives you a chance to adjust plans accordingly or take action to make up the gap.

Planning ahead has other benefits too, for instance:

  • Giving you confidence in your retirement finances
  • Planning for unexpected events
  • Considering the potential cost of care
  • Estate planning

Balancing retirement aspirations with your financial provisions can be difficult and there are many questions to answer, from how long your pension will need to last to the most efficient way to access it. Whatever your aspirations, these should be placed at the centre of your retirement plans. If this is an area you’d like support with, please contact us.

Please note: A pension is a long-term investment. The fund value may fluctuate and can go down, which would have an impact on the level of pension benefits available. Your pension income could also be affected by the interest rates at the time you take your benefits. The tax implications of pension withdrawals will be based on your individual circumstances, tax legislation and regulation which are subject to change in the future.