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In this current climate of high inflation, low interest rates and volatile market conditions, it is more important now than ever to make sure we are making the most of our hard earned cash. There are things we can all do to ensure our pension savings are working as hard as possible for us, and that we take advantage of the tax breaks available.

In this month’s blog we look at pensions and retirement planning and taking you through the steps of ensuring your goals and plans for the later years are given the best chance possible of being achieved.

If you follow these simple steps you will increase your chances of achieving that level of income needed in retirement.

Remember life expectancy is rising, so your pension pot will need to last longer to maintain the standard of living you become accustomed too.

Step 1) Understanding Your Current Provision

Many of us throughout our working career change jobs many times, and therefore it is generally the minority that stay in the same employment and can keep a firm hand on their retirement provision.

Tracking down any existing pensions and establishing what you already have in place is of high importance. Advisers experience many instances where individuals have completely no idea of where old pension plans are, or how to find them.

In 2012 auto enrolment was introduced. This means that employers have a legal duty to offer their eligible employees a workplace pension scheme. So first things first, understand what you already have, what it’s worth and what it can potentially provide as a benefit in retirement.

Step 2) Goals and Dreams For Retirement

What does your dream retirement look like? Everybody is different and will have differing goals and dreams. This could look like regular holidays and mini break,  or even perhaps a holiday home or taking up a new hobby. This is where careful planning becomes of great importance and a realistic and achievable plan is needed.

Hopefully by now you will have an idea of how much money you will need and when it will be required to start living that dream. It could be that a combination of a lump sum cash and income is needed. Fortunately, with the introduction of The Pensions Freedom Act in 2015, there is now far more flexibility in what your pension provision can provide, and the ways it can be achieved.

Time is of the essence! The sooner you start this part of retirement planning, the better the chance will be of achieving the goal.

If you are fortunate enough to already be in a financial position of having the pension funds to meet your requirements in retirement, then fantastic! However, realistically, the majority of us need to maximise the remaining working years to ensure that our hard earned pension savings are invested in the most effective way for maximum growth potential, coupled with tax efficiency.

Stage 3) Implementation and Monitoring

At this stage the plan is implemented. To ensure the best chance possible of achieving your objectives, regular reviews and monitoring plays a very important part. Changes in circumstances and legislation is a part of life. For this reason it is vital that these changes are reacted to and that relevant adjustments are implemented as soon as possible – this will help keep your pension plan on track. This can be achieved by regular reviews with your adviser, tailored to your individual needs and requirements.

Stage 4) Retirement/Decumulation

All of the previous stages are what we call the accumulation stages, or pre retirement – where we maximise the opportunities and time available to build your pension plan.

In stage 4, now you can start to reap the rewards of careful planning. For some people, this could mean scaling down work and therefore triggering partial payment of your pension plan. For others this could mean stopping work all together.

Therefore the exit strategy is as important as the previous stages. The key with this is to ensure longevity of income in retirement. This can be achieved in many ways and will be the subject of an in depth discussion with your adviser.

As we don’t know how long we will live, and how our health will be in the twilight years, longevity of the plan is again crucial, and ensuring that the funds are not exhausted prematurely. Careful monitoring of your plan with your adviser is of high importance.

We can give your pension pot the best possible chance of sustaining your income needs for the remainder of your life. We achieve this with regular reviews and making the necessary adjustments when needed.


Building a plan and taking professional advice will enhance the chance of achieving that all important goal and objective in retirement with your pension.

To discuss any aspect of your retirement planning further please contact one of our Independent Financial Advisers, Paul Davis, on 01329 282882 or send a message to our Facebook or Contact Us page.

A pension is a long-term investment not normally accessible until 55 (57 from April 2028). Your capital is at risk. The value of your investment (and any income from them) can go down as well as up which would have an impact on the level of pension benefits available. The tax implications of pension withdrawals will be based on your individual circumstances, tax legislation and regulation which are subject to change in the future.