In previous generations, retirement was considered the ‘twilight’ years. But today, people in their 60s often find their lives are more fulfilling and exciting than ever. Most of us can expect retirement to last several decades, so whether you’ve already retired, are due to retire, or plan to work for the foreseeable future, you’ll need a financial plan to ensure you get the most out of life.

Think about your retirement ‘plan’

Most of us think about retiring when we reach our 60s, but as with every other age group, there’s really no template to follow anymore.

The traditional concept of simply stopping work one day, and starting retirement the next, no longer applies. Many people now follow a more gradual route from work towards retirement, taking a ‘phased’ approach that suits them. And some people never officially retire at all!

Now might be the time to start ticking some items off your ‘bucket list’

But whatever approach you take, it’s important to have a retirement plan in place that lets you finish working on your own terms. Once you have that, you should have a better idea of what you can do with your life beyond 60.

When developing your retirement plan, ask yourself a few important questions. For example:

• What do you want to do after you retire?
• How much will that cost?
• When would you like to start taking a retirement income?
• How long will your money need to last?
• Will you need to pay for care?
• What money, if any, do you plan on leaving behind?

What do you want to do after you retire?

As you enter your 60s, now might be the time to start ticking some items off your ‘bucket list’. You may want to make a list of the various activities or adventures you plan on doing once you’ve stopped working. Not only will this increase the chances you’ll achieve the fulfilling retirement you deserve, but it’s also crucial in determining how your retirement plans will impact your finances, and potentially reduce your retirement pot.

A financial planner can help you articulate your retirement priorities, and make sure your pension and investments are on track to achieve them so you can continue living comfortably.

How much will that cost?

The amount of income you’ll need will depend on your current finances, any outstanding financial commitments like mortgages, credit cards or personal loans, and the lifestyle you’re aiming for in retirement. It’s generally considered that having about two-thirds of your annual income during your working life should be a healthy annual income during retirement.

An independent financial planner will take all of this into account when calculating the value of your retirement pot, and give you an estimate of how much income it will generate. They will also determine whether this income meets your expectations, help you adjust your retirement plan to cover any potential shortfalls, and strive to ensureyou achieve the best available income level.

Most people’s income in retirement comes primarily from their existing workplace and / or private pension arrangements. You’ll need to know how much these pensions are worth and get a projection of the type of income they could provide during your retirement. Other assets you own, such as Individual Savings Accounts (ISAs), other investments, and any rental properties, could also help to provide a steady stream of income.

And don’t forget your State Pension, which is currently worth £185.15 a week – roughly £9,600 a year. While it’s not a large amount, it’s a useful guaranteed income that should keep pace with inflation.

Many of us will spend as much as half of our adult lives in retirement

When would you like to start taking a retirement income?

Pension rules allow you to take a tax-free lump sum of up to 25% from a personal or stakeholder pension, from the age of 55. People often use that lump sum to pay off their mortgage or clear other debts, or to pay for large purchases.

When it comes to drawing an income from your remaining pot, there are two main choices:

  • Income drawdown: where you keep your pension savings invested during your retirement and arrange to take small amounts out at regular intervals.
  • Buying an annuity: an insurance policy that pays a guaranteed regular income, which is designed to last you for the rest of your lifetime.

It’s important to take independent financial advice before making any decisions on when and how to take your retirement income. An independent financial planner can also help determine whether you should consider either income drawdown or an annuity (or even a combination of both) that suits your personal circumstances.

If you’re considering a gradual transition to retirement that’s part-funded by your pension, a ‘phased drawdown’ plan might be another option to explore with their help.

How long will your money need to last?

Thanks to improved lifestyles and medical advances, many of us will spend as much as half of our adult lives in retirement. According to data gathered by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), people aged 65 in 2020 could expect to live a further 19.7 years for men and 22 years for women.

Given there’s a high probability you’ll spend at least another two decades in retirement, you’ll need to make sure your retirement pot lasts as long as you do.

Will you need to pay for care?

While standard healthcare is currently still provided free by the National Health Service (NHS), social care costs are not. Anyone with savings or assets worth more than £23,250 will be expected to pay for their own social care costs – which includes the cost of care at home, sheltered housing and also care home fees.

Most people will have to pay for care by using income from their pension and other savings, or income from other assets. But it’s important to make plans that determine the most cost-effective way to pay for care. When large, fixed costs are being paid every month (for example, care home fees can be as much as £5,000 per month), cash in the bank usually won’t last very long.

So, instead of thinking about relying on savings or a pension to pay for care, it could be more cost-effective to talk to your financial planner about arranging a care fees plan that will ensure all care costs can be covered for as long as they are needed.

The sooner you start thinking about the long-term costs of social care, and start discussing options with your financial planner, the more prepared you’ll be.

What money, if any, do you plan on leaving behind?

As you enter your 60s, there’s a good chance you’ve already started to think about the kind of legacy you’d like to leave. Key preparations should include writing a will and setting up a Lasting Power of Attorney, which ensures someone can make decisions about your health and finances if you’re no longer able to.

It could also mean talking to a financial planner about estate planning options. These arrangements can reduce the amount of Inheritance Tax due on your estate when you die, leaving more of your wealth to be passed on to your children or grandchildren. This might include arranging for gifts to be paid that lower the value of your estate, or setting up a trust so you can specify who receives your assets and when. Charitable donations are another option, and many people choose to leave money to a charity in their will too.

If you’re thinking about getting your estate in order, it’s well worth reading our articles on estate planning or talking to an Amber River professional financial planner who can assess your personal situation and recommend some estate planning strategies.

Getting help with your financial plan

Moving into your 60s, and settling into retirement, is usually a significant life transition. As well as being an exciting and rewarding time, it can also involve a great deal of uncertainty and emotional upheaval.

But whatever the next two or more decades bring you, putting together a well-structured retirement plan can help make the transition easier. It’s what Amber River calls ‘Life Landscaping®’, where we work with you to create a bespoke financial life plan that helps ensure your path through retirement is as smooth, secure and enjoyable as possible.

Get in touch

To speak to one of our team, arrange an appointment or find out more, call 0800 915 0000, or alternatively use our contact form here.