There is no reason why any of us should approach retirement with anything other than a positive outlook. The average life expectancy in Ireland has risen from 69.8 in 1960 to 82.3 in 2019*, meaning most of us will live longer and healthier lives in retirement. But for many retirement can be a gloomy prospect full of financial worries, not to mention the fear of ill-health or death. No matter what your personal outlook or financial position you can improve your retirement by taking some simple steps:
- Plan. Decide what it is you want to do when you are retired. How much money will this cost and how much time will you need? The more detail you have the easier it will be for you to allocate your two greatest resources, time and money. Discuss with your partner to ensure they’re on board.
- Assess your finances. Have a clear idea of the value of all of your assets, including pensions past and present. Balance against your plans above and allocate accordingly. A good financial adviser can help you gather and interpret this information.
- Take advice. You can lose or gain a great deal of money through good/bad financial planning. Find an adviser you trust and work with them to design the very best financial plan for your particular situation. It may cost you money but will be well worth it in the end.
- Use buckets. You will have short, medium and long-term needs once you retire. Have short, medium, long-term buckets for your money – match investment risk to each bucket. For example, accessibility is more important than investment return for your short-term bucket, which makes a deposit account in the bank ideal. For your medium and long-term buckets, it makes sense to take on some risk as you will not need to access this money and can afford the time to both accumulate interest and recover from any potential dips in market performance. Buckets can be ‘tipped in’ to each other depending on good/poor investment return.
- Look after yourself. Make sure you understand your spouse’s pension/financial position. You may be left with a stressful mess to sort out otherwise, should they predecease you. Also, think about life cover on your spouse/partner so that you will receive a lump sum payout to help you through a difficult period. A ‘joint-life first death’ plan is ideal for protecting both partners in this regard and reasonably priced.