Sunday, 10 May 2015

Being savvy now could help you be happy later

This afternoon I was in the garden and I heard our next door neighbour cutting back the high trees in the back garden. I called over to him, "are you practising for your retirement Martin ?" and he said he was getting used to being free and able to spend more time gardening. He is retiring next year and as a company director he has a pension and probably savings too. Our situation is not as fortunate and like many others I do wonder what the prospects are for me and Hubbie compared with our own retired parents and neighbours. I often joke about how I'll spend my retirement years doing all the things I don't have time to now. A bit of gardening, some travel, lots of swimming, yoga and running and plenty of writing and radio shows. In actual fact I have no idea what resources I will have to live on as like a lot of women I've taken time off from my working life to raise children and this has implications for my pension. 

I was asked to check out a new website called  Retire Savvy which was created by Skipton Building society to help people plan for retirement. The website isn't about just promoting their own products or services, it offers advice and answers questions about retirement planning and pensions in general. I did think at first sight that this was only aimed at older people as the only two menu options were 'are you retired ?' or ' are you approaching retirement ?' of which I am neither. On closer inspection it did have some useful information for me though.

I've changed jobs a fair amount in my working life and have paid into a number of pensions including a public sector one. I have never fully understood if this would pay out a reasonable amount in retirement and this site isn't about to answer that question, but it did help me find out how to amalgamate those small sums of money into a more manageable single investment fund. I also read found it interesting to see that range of 'frequently asked questions' asked about pensions aren't that different from mine. I don't feel nearly so silly any more.

Of course being a stay at home parent does impact highly on the potential income you can expect to have in retirement and a bit more around this would have been helpful. It is those of us who don't have a long history of consistent payments into a pension fund who will be most worried about what happens when we get to retire - whenever that will eventually be.

No one knows what will happen in later life. Hubbie has parents who both have a nice retired life with a good income and flashy holidays because father-in-law has always been pretty savvy with his investments and they both had good company pensions. We don't expect anything like as wealthy a retirement, but knowing that we have done our best to plan for it now is reassuring.

If you have questions about retirement planning this is a good place to start. They even have a jargon buster page so you can check out what all those terms in the small (and big) print mean.  It won't necessarily answer all your questions, but it's a good place to get some basics and for me it did spur me into looking at what I have already paid into and ensuring I don't lose it out of sheer incompetence. After all it's my money that I've paid in so I should check where it is and make sure it's working for me.

If I'm savvy about it now then I can spend more time enjoying retirement rather than worrying about it. 

I was asked to review by Skipton and the Mumsnet Bloggers Network. All views are my own. I was entered into a prize draw to win vouchers as a token of thanks for blogging. View other blogs on this topic here:

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