Decide on a date. And stick to it
When you're sure you have enough money saved, fix a date for your retirement. This gives you time to plan for projects linked to it – whether it's downsizing, de-cluttering, paying off debts or giving your pension a last boost. If you're employed, it also gives your employer sufficient warning.
How will you begin the wind-down to retirement?
Do you want to ease into retirement? Try and think about how you will feel if you suddenly stop working. Four-day weeks, job shares or part-time working can all reduce the impact.
Work out your living expenses
Replacing your salary with a pension may be a dramatic change in income. Do you have enough to live the life you want? Would a part-time job help?
You can work out how much income you might need and how much you might get in retirement.
Know your options
The ways in which you can access your retirement savings have changed. You'll find information on this website to help guide you through these changes.
In addition to this, you should speak to your financial adviser about your choices. If you don’t have a financial adviser, you can find one at www.unbiased.co.uk and vouchedfor.co.uk where you can also read reviews – but bear in mind you will have to pay for the advice you receive. [ these links open in a new window – Zurich is not responsible for the content of external websites ]
If you’re 55 or over, you can also access free, impartial, government-backed guidance on your retirement options from Pension Wise -www.pensionwise.gov.uk. [ this link opens in a new window – Zurich is not responsible for the content of external websites ]
Find out if you have equity in your home that is worth releasing. Do you have other investments or shares? Before making any decisions about cashing them in, you should speak to your financial adviser who will be able to help you review your options.
Plan ahead for your own care
People are living longer, which means you could be living with ill health. Currently, if you have assets (including your home) of more than £23,250* you'll need to contribute to residential care. You may have to sell your home.
Consider insurance – your financial adviser can talk through what's available to you.
Use your cash lump sum effectively
Young adults are costing parents more money than ever before. The bank of mum and dad is often the only resort for children desperate to get on the housing ladder – and many parents are making financial sacrifices in retirement to help out.
To have the retirement you want it's important to strike a balance – to provide just enough financial support to ensure your child is happy, productive and self sufficient without undermining your own financial future.
Read more about the things to be aware of and the tax implications of taking a cash lump sum from your retirement savings.
Sort out your inheritance
Currently, you are able to leave £325,000 tax-free**, but anything more is taxed at 40%. Leave at least 10% to charity and the tax rate reduces to 36%.
Your financial adviser can help you plan your finances to reduce any inheritance tax liability.
**www.hmrc.gov.uk This amount will change in April 2016.[ these links open in a new window – Zurich is not responsible for the content of external websites ]