Make plans now for a better retirement

£155.65 per week.

That’s the current full state pension (2016/17) – and not many would fancy their chances living the retirement dream on that.

Fortunately, most members of the police services should have a reasonably good police pension to supplement that – and many may also have other sources of income as well.

But for a lot of people beginning to look ahead to retirement, some cold hard realities may be starting to dawn. Namely the gap between what they would LIKE to be living on in retirement – and what they WILL be living on.

So here’s a few ideas on how to make a financial plan that will help your retirement reality live up to your retirement dreams.

Convert your savings to income

Start researching the ways to convert your savings into income streams. One of the ways of doing this is with annuities (remember to shop around for the best annuity rates), or you may want to think about investments in property, shares or even businesses. Learn more about these options and set up a plan so you have an income from the first day you retire. You should also be aware of the pros and cons that come with the newly available Pensions Freedom arrangement, whereby it is possible to access in part or in full (first 25% is tax-free) certain types of private pensions. It may be wise to consult an Independent Financial Advisor to get better informed on your options.

Some useful information about your options is available here.

Pay off your debts

Needless to say when your income gets drastically reduced you don’t want to still be paying off debts. Assess all your debt now and make a plan to pay all of it off as soon as you can – ideally before you retire. To help you pay debt off faster, make sure you are paying the lowest interest rate you can get.

Find out just how much you will be getting.

You may have many different pension income streams coming to you from various schemes, so it can be difficult to pin down just how much your regular monthly income will be in retirement. However there are a range of pension calculators to help you do this, so make a real effort to get an accurate idea of your income, instead of a vague figure that may turn out to be quite false.

You can check your State Pension here.

You may also have some money remaining in long-forgotten pension schemes from a former workplace or other source. These are known as ‘lost pensions’ and you can find out more about them here. 

Make a retirement budget

You probably have a budget for your present life, but how many have one for their future circumstances. While it can be hard to calculate many years ahead, try to make a budget for when you are actually retired. What will you be spending each month and what will your income be? Download our comprehensive budget planner here.

Find out all about tax

Tax is complicated enough and it can get even trickier in retirement. With various income streams and pensions in play, a possible commutation, a move to a different tax code – things can get messy very quickly. And mistakes can turn out to be very costly. So don’t wait until retirement. Find out all you can now about the tax issues involved with retirement and pensions, then make a personal plan to deal with them so you don’t end up paying more than you need.

Review your insurance needs

Your insurance needs will change as you get older. For example, if you have fewer debts and dependents, you may not need as much life cover. However, while considering this always make sure you have enough insurance. Potential health problems could mean you need better health insurance or long-term care insurance. What happens if you or your spouse develop long-term health issues or have other emergency health problems? When you’re on a fixed income, protection against unexpected health-care costs need to be considered. So don’t just carry on as usual – have a review and see if you need to make changes.

Go big on your company pension (or any other schemes).

While this may not apply to many whilst in the police service, if you have a good work pension scheme you should try and max out your contributions as much as possible – and even consider making a big one-off pension contribution.

One of the best ways to get prepared and informed about all the issues involved with retirement is by attending a FREE Metfriendly Options Pre-retirement seminar. You can find out more about them (and register your place) here.

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Police Sergeant S Drysdale, DPS Borough Support

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DC Chris W, SO15

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D.C. R McLaren, Hackney Borough Stations

Great opportunity for family members to be offered the same offers as members.

Miss A McLeary, ESB

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Mr P Payne, Bordon

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Mrs A Cooper, Met CC, Bow

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