The definitive guide for retirement planning

It may sound like a cliché but it really is never too early to start retirement planning. In fact, the things you do now can lay the foundations for a more pleasant time when you do retire. For example, the earlier you decide on things like pensions and investments, the more likely you are to have the wealth you need to live comfortably when you finish working. Speaking with independent financial advisers is really useful here too.

We understand that it can be quite stressful planning ahead for your retirement. To help, we have a definitive guide here with information about the important things you need to do.


Your first priority with retirement planning, no matter your age, should be to choose the right pension. What you need to do is set it up as early as possible so it has the best chance to grow. This will ensure you have a healthy source of income in the future.

Pension planning is a little easier today than it was in the past. Employees should automatically join a workplace scheme when they are 22 or older, below retirement age, and earn more than £10,000 per year. Enrolment should be automatic and your pension pot will grow as long as you remain in employment.

If you are self employed you will need to make your own pension arrangements. Talking to an independent financial adviser is a very good idea here.

To maximise your pension you may want to also look at starting a private pension pot. There are lots of options here to suit different needs. You could also start making investments, looking at the long term and how you can give your money the best chance of growing.

When do you want to retire?

A big part of retirement planning is deciding exactly when you want to stop working. Not everyone has the luxury of being able to retire at a specific age. There could be health, financial, or personal circumstances to deal with. But you should have a rough idea in mind.

What you should do though is try to calculate when you can build up enough wealth to reach your retirement goal. This will be the sum that can provide an income so you can live comfortably when you stop working. What you need to look at is how much annual income you would like to have in retirement. You can then calculate how much you need to save each month or what your investment goal will be.

Reducing debt

One thing you should look at when you think about retirement planning is your debts. Retiring will likely mean a substantial drop in your monthly income. The last thing you want is to have to pay off a mountain of debt from this. That could make it difficult to cover other living costs.

So, what you should do is look to see how many debts you can clear before you retire. The big one to look at is your mortgage. Ideally you should be aiming to retire and have it all paid off.

Speak to an independent financial adviser

An IFA is a fantastic resource for retirement planning. Advisers can help you to look at everything from pension products to investment ideas. They will work for you to ensure you build your wealth and have enough to retire on. Plus, they can look at important things like tax allowances and how to efficiently use your money.

You may be able to create a retirement plan on your own, but the extra support and resources you can get from a financial adviser can make it even better. It is definitely worth it, and in many cases you can make more money with an adviser even after paying their fees.

Post-retirement budgeting

As we said above, in retirement you may have to live with a much smaller income each month. To make the most of it, you should have a clear budget. This can make adjusting easier, reduce stress, and ensure you have enough to live.

When you are budgeting you should begin by organising your outgoings in terms of importance. Start with essential obligations like housing (mortgage or rent), utility bills, and other costs. You can then work out your remaining budget for things like food and leisure.

Think about the emotional side

While most of the above is about preparing and adjusting to the financial side of things, you also need to think about the emotions. Retiring is easy for some and harder for others. Some people feel a little lost having so much extra free time. In cases it can even lead to a feeling of isolation.

What you need to do is ensure you will be mentally healthy in retirement. Maybe look at what you will be able to dedicate your time to, including hobbies and social events. Make sure you will make time for things like exercise and try to get into a routine.

How are you going to retire?

Another thing to look at with retirement planning is how you want to retire. In some professions you don’t need to go from full time hours to zero in one go. Instead, you could reduce your work time and choose to semi-retire.

Alternatively, you may choose to retire completely from your current job and then start a part time job doing something else. It could even be a chance for you to set up a new business venture if you have an idea in mind. Or you could look at volunteering.

Reassess your investments

You can continue investing well into retirement if you want to. Some people choose to do that because they have more time to dedicate to market research and looking at opportunities. But what you need to do here is reassess your portfolio and goals. It is likely you will want to focus on investments that are lower risk that will offer steady income. Talking to an independent financial adviser about it is wise.

Estate planning

Although it does not link directly to retirement planning, it is a good idea to have your estate in order as you approach it. You should look at things like inheritance and how you can make things easier for your loved ones in the future.

Find independent financial advisers to help with retirement planning

If you want help from an adviser to look at any aspect of retirement, Find It Near Me can help you to choose someone. Try our directory today to find an expert near you or submit your details to have us select someone for you.