Too often, retirement is all about numbers. Save this much per month, at that growth rate, and you might get this amount to retire. In reality, there is no one-size-fits all equation for the perfect retirement. Your plans will be unique to you.
With this in mind, before you get to the numbers, it can be worth taking time to consider your ambitions for retirement. The ‘old model’ of retirement, where work stops on one day and retirement starts on the next is becoming less common. Work may continue long after official retirement age, as people recognise that it can help them stay active and engaged. Retirement may be a chance to try a different type of work, to learn a new skill or to write that novel. Either way, if you plan to continue working in some capacity, it will affect what you need in retirement.
Your spending habits
Your spending habits will also be important. If you have slogged through many years of paying school fees and a mortgage, the income you need in retirement may look fairly light in comparison. Many retirement tools work on an assumption that you need two-thirds of your annual salary in retirement, but that may not apply to you if you have had significant commitments in your working years that have now disappeared. Look at how you might live in retirement to build a picture of ‘core’ spending such as household bills, holidays and family commitments.
Your lifestyle in retirement
The amount you need in later life will also depend on the type of retirement you are planning. If, after a hectic forty years building and sustaining a career, you just want to do a bit of gardening and read a book, that probably won’t require significant resources. If, on the other hand, you envisage a far more ambitious retirement, with adventurous travel plans and an ever-lengthening bucket list, you will need deeper pockets.
Things to consider
In the mix you’ll also need to think about issues such as long-term care. This is fiendishly difficult to plan for, but it is worth thinking how you and your family might manage were it to be needed.
You will also need to take into account any income you have from outside – buy to let properties, ISAs, workplace savings and so on. It is also worth considering any potential inheritance as part of your plans.
This process should give you an idea of your ‘core’ spending, plus the amount you need on top to have the type of retirement you want. This income figure should be your starting point in planning your retirement and our retirement guide can help support you.