Everyone can enjoy a happy retirement with a bit of forward planning

The average person spends around 30% of their entire life working. Having invested so much of your time in to your job, in your later life it is time to reap some of the benefits. Why not? You definitely deserve it. The sooner you plan your retirement the better, but it is never too late to plan and ensure you have a happy life in your final years.

Below are 3 ways you can plan for a happier future...

1. Savings calculator

The very first step is establishing how much you can currently afford to save or pay into a pension fund, and how much you will be able to put away in the future. There are many online savings calculators available free on the internet. You can also assess your state pension forecast by using a pension calculator. They are easy to use and can let you explore how much your savings may be worth in future or, alternatively, how to reach a savings target. Once you have entered your information, you should save this report and refer back to it annually, so you can re-evaluate the amount you save.

2. Investment bonds

Investment bonds are an alternative to direct investment in funds, such as Unit Trusts. They can be difficult to understand, so you may want to speak to a financial advisor so you can get investment bonds explained to you. You need to weigh up the risks, charges and tax treatment to see if they are suitable for you. To invest, you pay a lump sum into a life insurance policy which is then invested in one or more investment funds. You may be able to add further lump sums (top-up payments) to your bond. The bond could have a fixed term, say, five years. Alternatively, you might invest for an indefinite period and be able to cash in the bond at any time. However, there may be surrender charges, especially in the early years.

3. Speak to your bank

It may well be that your current bank can assist you with your planning. And once again, remember that it is never too early. Banks such as HSBC have online retirement planning tools that you can use free of charge.

Remember, whatever you have in mind for your future retirement, an informed retirement plan can help you keep on track to achieve the goals, aspirations and lifestyle you’ve worked hard for.

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