Planning for 2017 and beyond
As 2016 draws to a close, many people use the long evenings in December to look to the future and plan for the coming year.
Whether you’re already retired or approaching retirement, it’s important to keep on top of your needs and options. It’s also important to make sure that you’re clear about the sort of lifestyle you would like to have in the future. Do you want to travel more? If so will you be staying with friends or family or will you have to pay for accommodation. Are there any hobbies or activities you want to start? Some of these, like gardening, can actually reduce your cost of living if you, for example, grow vegetables. Others, like sailing or motorsports, can be more expensive.
Or do you want to start a new career? Many people reaching retirement age take the opportunity to do something they have always wanted to do, such as passing on their experience by teaching, or starting their own business.
Whatever your current situation, it’s a good idea to take some time to work out how much money you will need to enable you to live how you would like to and do the things you would like to do. Finding out how much State Pension you could get is a good place to start, as a foundation for planning your retirement savings.
You can now get an online forecast of how much State Pension you could get and when you will receive it at www.gov.uk/check-state-pension. You’ll also be able to see how much National Insurance you have paid or been credited with. And crucially, you can see whether there are any gaps in your record, which you may be able to fill by applying for National Insurance Credits or making voluntary National Insurance contributions.
If you have a work or personal pension, it’s also worth asking for forecasts from your pension scheme provider to help you plan how much you may receive when you retire.
Once you know how much pension you can expect to receive, you can start planning any additional income and outgoings. Taking some time out now to review and plan for the next few years will help to ensure that you get the most out of life after 50.
Other ways to plan:
- Check your household outgoings. Are you getting the best deals from your utility suppliers? Could you save money on groceries by taking the time to shop around?
- What maintenance do you need to do on your home next year? Look out for special deals from DIY chains and maintenance contracts, for example for boiler maintenance.
- How often would you like to go away and are there any special treats you are planning with the family? Make the most of your budget by checking for special deals from travel providers, using your loyalty points and making use of discounts offered by leisure groups for theatre tickets, events and outings.
- If you have money on deposit or investments, how are they performing? Compare year on year performance and review individual investments and accounts to see if you can improve returns.
- Are you claiming all your tax allowances and benefits, such as the marriage allowance? Maybe it’s time to ask a tax specialist to take a look at your tax return because they may be able to help you to be more efficient.
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