What should the priorities be for retirement planning at each stage of your life? Your needs are going to be very different when you’re in different stages of life, so here are the actions you should be considering to bulk up your retirement savings, no matter your age.
In your 20s…
It might seem like retirement is a lifetime away when you’ve just graduated from university or college and are looking for a job. But it’s never too early to start planning for your retirement – and the good news is, if you start saving now, the less you’ve got to put away.
The experts suggest that you should commit to starting by saving 10% of your income at this stage of your life. That might sound like a lot – but of course, the numbers only start to go up the longer you wait. If you don’t start saving for your retirement until your 30s, for example, you’ll need to put away 20% to make up for the years of lost compound interest.
To learn how to save this amount in your 20s, you need to learn how to budget; this is particularly important if you’ve got variable income from shift work or job changes (1).
In your 30s…
Your 30s can be an expensive time. You might be planning a wedding, starting a family, buying a bigger home… or all of the above.
To keep yourself afloat in these potentially costly years, financial planners suggest creating a buffer for emergencies such as career redundancies, with funds worth around six months’ expenditure. This is also a key time to make sure you understand how much money you need to save for a comfortable retirement.
Once the emergencies are covered, it’s time to think about retirement savings. The experts suggest investing as close to the £15,000 ISA limit as possible. Then look into increasing contributions in your company pension, too.
In your 40s…
In an ideal world, you’ll already have built up some savings and have been planning for your retirement for some years by the time you reach this decade.
But even if you haven’t started yet – it’s not too late. You should start saving between 15% – 20% of your salary now, and make good use of any bonuses or pay rises during this time, too. Your 40s are also a key period during which you should buckle down on any outstanding debts, so that you’ll be able to hold onto your savings once you’ve socked it all away.
In your 50s…
This is the decade when retirement planning gets serious. Most people will need to continue working and planning carefully, saving as much as possible. Hopefully, this is a decade when other expenses will start to decrease, too, freeing up more cash for your pension pot.
Ideally, you’ll already have a sizeable fund by now. If you’re based in England, consider using a Self-Invested Personal Pension (SIPP) for greater investment control of your pension.
These are also the years when you can start thinking more about what you want your retirement to look like. Do you have a date in mind? How about a location?
In your 60s…
The time is approaching – this is probably the decade when you’re going to retire.
Hopefully, you have a good pension fund and a retirement plan sorted out by now – but if you don’t, panic not. Get yourself to a financial adviser to get help. They can help you assess your situation and find other ways to raise money for the years ahead.
Now it’s time to sit back and enjoy your golden years.