Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 1 October 2014

Money matters: Retirement is no longer a dream for all

DO you think you're ready for retirement? If you are, you're in a minority.

A report published recently suggests that nine out of 10 of us are nowhere near close to having enough savings to give us the retirement we want.

That's because while the average person wants an annual retirement income of £35,000, they are far more likely have to survive on just £12,000, according to Aegon.

The pensions company has set up a digital service to check how ready you are for retirement. At www.retiready.co.uk you can answer some questions and then get a score to show how ready you may be. The closer to 100 your score, the better you are.

It's a bit of fun – that you can even do on your mobile – but behind it is a deadly serious message. If you fail to plan properly for your retirement years, you won't be in any financial condition to enjoy them.

Depending on your age now, that may not seem terribly important. But the closer you get to retirement, the more important it will become, ending up being crucial when you reach your golden years. But by then, it will be too late to do anything about it.

The first step is to find out how your pensions savings are doing. Standard Life reckons that three in five pension holders have no idea of the value of their savings, while less than half know what income their pot could generate in retirement.

The solution is find out how much of a shortfall there may be and do something about it. And pensions firms, naturally, want to encourage you to do so.

"Showing people how to take small steps that will make a difference is vital," says David Macmillan of Aegon.

He says the firm's new free app will offer coaching and support to help people get their finances on track.

Malcolm McLean of Barnett Waddingham says: "The report reaffirms the notion that workers are sleepwalking towards a financially insecure old age."

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