Making sure you have enough money to provide for your retirement can be a daunting task. Many people don’t know where to start, often putting this off until later life. The following is a short list of a few do’s and don’ts regardless of where you are on your journey to retirement:
- Start a pension now. This might seem obvious however, many people expect to rely on the State pension to fund their retirement. Currently set at €248.30 per week or €12,911.60 per annum, this will only provide for basic necessities. Funding for a private pension can provide a secondary income to more adequately meet your needs. Remember, if you hold your own pension account, you are still entitled to receive the State pension. Both combined will certainly work hugely in your favour;
- Appoint a Financial Advisor. It is important to seek professional advice when building a retirement income. We will help you to calculate how much you need to ensure you have a sufficient pension pot. We will help you to understand the different structures and make sure you are correctly invested to maximise your investment returns;
- Ask questions. There is a lot of financial jargon and legislation that might feel a little intimidating. Knowledge though is power, if you better understand how your account works, it will be a very large step to ensuring you can get the most from your pension;
- Know how much tax relief you are entitled to and take full advantage of this. Your level of tax relief will depend on your age and income. If your highest rate of income tax is 40%, for every €100 you contribute to your pension, you will receive €40 tax relief. In other words, for every €100 you save, it has only cost you €60;
- Take advantage of the benefits of Benefit In Kind (BIK). If you own your own company and contribute to a pension or your employer makes a contribution on your behalf, there is no benefit in kind implications.
- Don’t wait. The earlier you start, the less it will cost you to build a fund sufficient enough to meet your needs. Investment returns or interest over time will add hugely to your final account;
- If you already hold a pension, don’t leave it until just before retirement to find out what choices you will have once you finish working. Familiarize yourself with this now;
- Don’t assume just because you are contributing to a pension, it will adequately meet your needs. It may very well be enough but find out now and know what to expect in today’s terms;
- Don’t just sit back and ignore your pension. Take ownership, it is your future. Review your pension annually, keep up to date with investment performance, any changing legislation and continually remind yourself what it will give you once you finish working.
And remember, a pension is not very different to an ordinary savings account. The earlier you start, the longer you save for and the more you put away, the bigger the final fund and ultimately your income in retirement. Investment returns will add to your account but there is no magic bullet, work your pension and it will work for you.