It's never too early to be an OAP

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Retired Couple

For many of us, we dream that when we retire we'll have all the time in the world for a golden sunset of hobbies, holidays and family/friends time. Yet with the state pension age rising and returns on private pensions falling, many of us may find it a challenge to make the reality, when we get there, match our dreams. That's why planning well for the financial future could help make your dreams closer to coming true.

Costs can be high..
For many, retirement can come at a price. So it's worth making a wish-list of everything from food, home maintenance and transport to clothes, holidays, gifts, sport and hobbies. Remember that some items, such as energy bills, will rise when you're spending more time at home.

Pension pot planning
From April 2016, the state pension will be worth around £8,000 a year, providing you've made 35 years of full National Insurance contributions – and only people currently in their 60s will be able to claim it before they're close to 70. The Institute for Fiscal Studies reports that people born in the 1960s and after are likely to struggle more than their predecessors, thanks to higher living standards, stagnating wages and the soaring cost of housing .

Even if you'd be happy living frugally, at the age of 25 you'd need to save around £43 a month – and if you want to enjoy all the good life on an income of about £27,000, that figure rises to around £500. The older you are, the more you're likely to need to pour into your pension pot.

Protect your credit status
More than a third of home owners now expect to be paying a mortgage until they're almost 70, while debt charity StepChange reports a surge in credit card, store card and catalogue debt among the over 60s. To help keep your credit status in the best possible shape as you approach your retirement, you can start by checking your Experian credit report to make sure all the details are correct. Pay particular attention to personal details, such as your name, address and date of birth, as even minor mistakes could lower your rating.

Retirement needn't be an issue as long as you continue to receive an income, you can afford to repay whatever you are applying for and your past borrowing record shows that you're a reliable customer. You can get your Experian Credit Score and find advice on how to improve your credit status with a 30-day trial of CreditExpert.