Checklist of things to do when you near retirement
If you have spent your working life with a major employer, you might be fortunate enough to have sat through a pre-retirement course or two – and a checklist of things to do before you finally take retirement has been more or less carefully explained.
In many cases, you will have had no such luck. One day you are in full-time employment, and the next you are retired. Full-stop. Completely unprepared.
So, here is a brief checklist of some of the things you need to do as retirement approaches:
- however far off the retirement date, it’s never too soon to start financial planning – when you stop work, the steady source of income you have relied upon for so many years will cease, and you must turn to any pension arrangements you put in hand;
- your income during retirement is likely to comprise an occupational or private pension scheme to which you contributed, a State Pension (once you reach state retirement age) and the income from any other savings or investments you have made;
- financial planning for retirement is a whole subject in itself and, to maximise the performance of the resources you have, is likely to become complicated – so you might want to take advantage of the expertise and experience of specialist, independent financial advisers, such as ourselves here at Independent Pension Specialists Limited;
- it might have been some time ago that you contributed to some pension schemes and you lost contact with the provider when you stopped working for a particular provider or moved away from the area in which you were working;
- but the benefits are still there for the taking – if only you were able to trace the provider concerned;
- the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) estimates that the average person is likely to have had 11 different employers during their working career, which makes increases the chances of losing track of at least one occupational pension scheme to which you might have belonged;
- the relatively high turnover of jobs may also help to explain why it is that an estimated £400 million is currently locked away in unclaimed pension schemes;
- the online Pension Tracing Service (also available in Welsh) may help you to track down any lost or missing pension you have – or you may call or write to the relevant department;
Once you have an approximate retirement date
- when you have assembled the names and addresses of all your pension providers and decided the date – even approximately – on which you intend to retire, write and tell them of your plans and ask about pension values and your options for drawing down the benefits;
Check your State Pension
- finding out about the age at which you qualify for your State Pension and how much you are likely to receive is made considerably easier by using the official online enquiry service;
- you will need to confirm your identity and have your National Insurance number to hand;
- the website is able to advise you when you qualify for a State Pension (that is based on your date of birth, and qualifying ages remain under constant review) and the number of National Insurance contributions you have made during your working life and through periods of unemployment.
Once you have completed your checklist, you might want to step back and seek the advice of an independent financial adviser – such as ourselves here at Independent Pension Specialists Limited – before taking critical financial decisions that are likely to influence your affairs throughout many long years of retirement.
This data is correct as at the time of writing.