As a lady of 56, who has been married 35 years to a now 57 year old man, I suppose that we now come into the category of being an older couple. Shocking as that fact is to me I guess it is true. However I still have mixed feelings on financial planning for the future. Yes, if we live till a ripe old age I would like to think that we are financially secure. However, as my parents had already passed away by our age, I don’t want to invest too much in a future which we may not have, especially if by doing so we have nothing now. I feel that the key to success is getting the balance right.
Plan for your retirement as much as you can. If you have been paying into an occupational pension scheme you may be able to increase your payments or pay additional voluntary contributions, AVCS.
If you have an outstanding mortgage try to pay a little extra off the loan each month. Without paying too much out you can quickly reduce the amount that you owe and finish payments sooner than planned. This can ultimately safe you a lot of money in interest payments and in effect either increase your standard of living or allow you to increase your savings.
Trying to put a little cash away, on a regular basis, is a good idea. Ideally this should go into a good savings account. In England ISA’s, Individual Savings Accounts, are good investments as, providing that you do not invest too much money each year, they are tax free. When you have done any overtime try to put that into one of these accounts also, as rainy day money.
Make sure that you are receiving anything which you are entitled to, such as council tax refunds, and that your state pension is fully on course, with no shortfall in your contributions. If there are some periods missing contact the appropriate government agency about voluntarily paying these up to date. This will ensure that you receive a full retirement allowance.
Try to finish all outstanding jobs around the home, such as new roofs and bathrooms, whilst you are still working. The same applies with replacing furniture. Once you retire it will be hard to do this quite so often, if at all.
Make sure that you have an up to date will and systems in place if you should become incapable of managing your affairs.
If, like my husband, you have share save schemes which will mature try to stagger these. He does not pay a lot into each scheme but they mature on a yearly basis. This is handy to use or to put away for your retirement.
To conclude I would say have a few different types of investments preferably tax free ones. Use different companies for them in case they hit a financial crisis. As they say don’t put all of your eggs in one basket. Ideally start planning a little when you are young. I know retirement seems a long way of then but trust me it is not. Time moves all to quick and it can soon be too late to make a difference to the income which you will have in old age. However above all remember to live today also and not to save too much for a future that may not come.