We need to change the way we think about retirement from something we worry about to something we look forward to.

It seems to creep up on us, this age thing. One moment we’re building our careers, buying a house and suddenly it seems we’re looking towards retirement and wondering how this happened so quickly, and more importantly, do we have enough money to retire. This is when fear can set in and we begin to worry whether our pensions, savings and investments are enough.

Here are five easy ways you can make sure you’re retirement ready:

  1. Learn what you already have – we need to change the way we think of retirement, from being this thing we fear and worry about to something we look forward to as a time we can enjoy the life we want. The first thing to prepare yourself is to find out what kind of pensions, savings and investments you already have, then examine if this suits your needs. Your pensions could be made up of Defined Contribution pensions or Defined Benefit pensions. You can’t really see what sort of retirement you can look forward to until you look at everything you already have.

  1. Consider what enough means for you – the word ‘enough’ includes a whole host of meanings, and it’s difficult to define how that fits with your lifestyle. Essentially, it depends what your ideal retirement looks like to you. Does that include a holiday in the Bahamas, is it a new car or spending more time with your family? What your ideal future looks like can only be answered by you. So, the term enough, then becomes, enough for what? What is it you want to do, what does enough mean to you individually.

  1. Find out when you can access your pension – Pensions are usually accessible from age 55 and over except in exceptional circumstances, such as a terminal illness. If you’re contacted by someone claiming to be able to release funds from your pension before this age they’re probably a scammer and you should be wary.

  2. Get an advisor – An independent financial advisor, particularly one that specialises in pensions and retirement, can help make sense of the knowledge you already have and guide you through the minefield that is pensions and investment options. However, when choosing your advisor remember to check they are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Also, as pensions are being targeted by scammers, be sure to read our post on the Top 10 Ways to Avoid a Pension Scam.

  3. Weigh up your options – When you meet your advisor they will go through your current assets and what this means for your future, how you look currently and how it may look if you changed things, for instance, if you retired earlier or later than planned and what that means for your assets and retirement lifestyle.

Now you’ve got five new ways to begin planning your retirement future, you can start to change the fear of retirement into a time you look forward to enjoying the life you want.

Joslin Rhodes are trusted local independent financial advisors authorised & regulated by the FCA. Specialising in pension advice and retirement planning, we have the additional FCA permissions to advise on Defined Benefit/Final Salary Pension transfers.