Let’s get one thing clear, it’s your money and your future. No one will take as much interest in it and pay it as much attention as you.
So where do you start? If you don’t know what you expect or want your retirement to look like how can you expect anyone to get you there and then keep you on track?
If you are more than 10 years away from retirement this is not too difficult. You should have a ball-park idea of when you would like to retire, the lifestyle you would like in retirement, and what it is likely to cost you. Most reasonably competent financial advisers should be able to help you draw up a game plan, guide you through the implementation process and set up an investment strategy. Make sure they are looking at the full picture and are not just selling an expensive pension plan.
The real issue arises when you get to what I call “The Retirement Risk Zone”. That is the five or so years before you retire or perhaps just start the slowing down process. That is when it is essential that you start to take all this seriously, look at the retirement lifestyle you want and work out what it will cost.
This is when your relationship with your financial adviser if you have one, should start to change. Up until now the chances are that he/she will have been very much in the driving seat. Hopefully, things will have been going well, results will seem ok, and you will have had a pleasant annual review meeting but if you are honest, you will have little clue about what is happening in the background. How has your investment strategy been built, what is the monitoring strategy and how are results measured? Fees and costs will have been disclosed but often not clearly enough for you to be able to tell me exactly how much you are paying.
Most financial advisers would like you to rely on them forever and do not consider it part of their role to educate you even to the extent that you can have a far more equal relationship. That is not the relationship will work as you move into retirement, want to pay this more attention, and need to know how you can maintain your lifestyle.
I have been dealing with clients who have been drawing from their pension schemes for more than 20 years and I promise you that in the vast majority of cases something to which they gave little attention whilst the fund was being built up becomes a matter of concern and something to which they should pay attention when their lifestyle for the rest of their lives depend upon it.
Whilst I think it is absolutely essential that you now start to pay this more attention and do your own research, with the best will in the world you will not become an expert.
So, if you cannot get yourself to a position where you have confidence that you know “HOW” to manage your retirement finances you need to find the right “WHO” to help you.
This is far too important to default to an adviser with whom you have had a reasonably good past relationship. Time and time again I see advisers who have done a good job in helping clients build up their pension plans who then continue to use investment strategies which just don’t work once withdrawals are needed.
Identifying your “WHO” will not be easy. You have the choice of using a financial adviser or one of the “no advice” online platforms, but you will then need some guidance (which is my role).
Whoever you choose, make sure you speak to at least a couple of their clients who are already withdrawing from their pension plans. What you should be looking for is a good understanding of the strategies and processes in place and a confidence that everything is working as it should be.
If you would like any help in finding an adviser or understanding how the on-line platforms work just use this link to set up a no-cost, no-obligation zoom meeting and let’s see where it takes us.
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