You need to start planning if you ever want to retire

Will you ever be able to afford to retire?

The later you leave it to think about your retirement, the less likely you'll be able to fund the lifestyle you want when you're older – and it seems lots of people now think they'll have to keep on working beyond the age when they thought they'd be taking it easy.

According to a recent report by market analysts Mintel, the outlook is worst for younger generations, with four in 10 of 18-34 year-olds resigned to continued employment.

See also: How pensioners are spending their cash

See also: Could equity release be the answer to your retirement wishes?

The figure drops to one in three people aged 54 and above – though that's still a huge number.

The report also found we're not well prepared for retirement. Just over half of full-time workers have a workplace pension. That drops to just over one in three part-time employees, while fewer than one in five self-employed workers currently pay into a pension.

Women are also less likely be prepared for retirement even though statistics show they are likely to live longer than men. Just under one in three women have a pension compared to four in ten men.

How much money will you need to retire?

As people are living longer, the length of time you could be retired for increases too. So if you're currently in your 30s and retire at 70, you could well live to 100, meaning you'll need 30 years of money to support you.

You also need to think about the lifestyle you'll want to live and expenses you'll need to cover. If you don't own a home you might have rent to pay, along with bills. And you'll need more each year if you want to go on holidays or replace big ticket items like cars or white goods.

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How much are you likely to have?

You can use the Money Advice Service Pensions calculator to see how much your current pensions are likely to give you when you're older. You can also use it to work out how much money you're likely to need.

How to build up a retirement income

If you're making National Insurance contributions (whether you're employed or self-employed) you'll be able to claim the State Pension when you're older.

At the moment if you're eligible for the maximum State Pension you'll get just £155.65 a week, unlikely to be enough to fulfil any retirement dreams.

It might be a little more than this if you had built up entitlement under the old State Pension system in force before April 2016, but it still won't be a fortune.

So it makes sense to build up more retirement savings, usually by saving into a workplace or personal pension.

When you choose to retire, you can choose to draw an income from your pension pot or use it to buy a guaranteed income for life (called an annuity).

Most employees are now auto-enrolled into a workplace pension scheme (or will be by 2018). Employers have to pay into a workplace scheme as well. If you pay in more than the minimum legal amount, some employers will match any contribution you make helping you save even more for the future.

If you don't have access to a workplace pension, you can open up your own personal pension.

Finally, don't forget that building up other savings, including ISAs, investments or property can also give you additional income when you've retired.

This article is provided by the Money Advice Service.

How we spend our pensions
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How we spend our pensions

Figures from Saga show that the over 50s now account for the majority of money spent by Brits on travel and tourism. They have the time to spare, the money, and they are healthy enough to take on the world.

A poll from Abta found that in the wake of pension freedoms, 35% of people were considering cashing in at least part of their pension to travel. A separate study by Senior Railcard found that pensioners take an average of three holidays a year, plus two weekends away, and 17 day trips.

Research from Senior Railcard found that retirees eat out an average of three times a month. However, one in ten do so more than twice a week, and one in three people said that one of the first things they did when they retired was to go out for lunch with their friends.

Of course, just because retirees want to enjoy themselves, it doesn't mean they are happy to throw money away. The vast majority are keen to eat at lunchtimes, when a fixed lunch menu tends to be cheaper, and canny retirees are skilled at tracking down pensioner special offers too.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics show that on average nearly a fifth of the money spent by people aged 65-74 is on leisure. This includes everything from the cinema and theatre to golfing and gardening. They spent more on this than on food, energy bills and transport.

A report by Canada Life found that retirees are spending £4,279 a year on having fun - that’s more than £1,000 more than they spend on boring essentials, and is a 74% increase over the past ten years. It went on to predict that this trend was set to continue, and that pension freedoms would encourage people to spoil themselves a bit more in retirement

Pensioner property wealth is now over £850 billion, and all these family homes don’t look after themselves. The Senior Railcard survey put home renovations in the top 20 activities people got stuck into on retirement, and figures from ABTA found that almost a third of people who were considering raiding their pension pots under the new pension freedoms planned to spend the cash on their home. This seems like an eminently sensible investment - looking after what is undoubtedly their most valuable asset.

Unsurprisingly, while some pensioners are very well off indeed, others are struggling with debt. Figures from Key Retirement found that the average retiree has £34,000 of debt.

Most of this is mortgage borrowing - in many cases driven up by the number of people who unwittingly signed up to an interest-only mortgage. However, credit cards, overdrafts, and loans are also common. It’s why so many pensioners have used pension freedoms to access enough cash to pay their debts.

The day to day basics are swallowing up their fair share of pensioner cash too. On average, people aged 65-74 spend a third of their weekly income on essentials like food and bills - which is hardly living the high life.
The bank of gran and grandad has become an increasingly vital source of cash for families. According to Key Retirement, of those who release equity from their property, 21% of them use the cash to treat their children and grandchildren. This includes an average of £33,350 to help children get onto the property ladder, £6,000 to buy them a new car, £11,000 on family weddings, and £24,780 giving grandchildren a helping hand.

While retirees are quite rightly spending what they need to enjoy retirement, they are hardly all throwing caution to the wind, buying flash cars and spending the kids' inheritance.

Most expect to have something left over to pass onto their family after their death. Some 69% expect to leave property in their wills, and 75% expect to leave cash - according to - because while baby boomers know how to have fun - they also know how to save for the future.


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