Whether it's right around the corner or still many years away, it's never too early (or late!) to start saving for retirement. While it's nice to dwell on the thought of having plenty of free time, many people still shy away from thinking about the important financial implications of leaving employment. If you need some help getting started, take a look at our five top tips.
1) Save little and often
Saving money doesn't have to be a chore, nor does it have to involve huge sums of cash leaving your account every month. It can really be as simple as picking a particular coin, say a 50 pence piece, and making sure that, as soon as you get one, it goes straight into a piggy bank. Keep a jar by the door and empty your pockets when you come home. This may be the 21st Century, but sometimes the old ways are the best ways.
2) Allow yourself to dream
Everyone needs motivation, so instead of blindly saving, save up for something specific. Keep a journal or blog of your ambitions for retirement and figure out how much you need to save in order to achieve them. Do you want to tour Europe in a motor home? Do you want to explore higher education? Do you fancy owning one of Jimi Hendrix's guitars? All of these life goals can easily be accounted for by starting a dream fund and budgeting wisely.
3) Learn the vocab
Most financial terms can be daunting at first, but in reality things are a lot simpler. This is certainly the case with pensions and annuities - your primary options when saving money for retirement. Roughly speaking, a pension is a pot that you put money into for the future. It's a locked account that sits, matures and waits for you to retire. An annuity is a way of converting this pot into a regular, every-day income based on a fixed rate. For more information on the different kinds of pensions and annuities that are available, see our in-depth guide.
4) Keep your options open
One of the best ways to make sure that you're setting yourself up for a comfortable retirement is not to focus on just one way of saving. Ask if your employer offers a pension plan like the government's workplace pension scheme, and think about making investments in stocks and shares. An even easier approach is to simply shop around and compare all the different deals on the market. Whatever you decide, make sure you have looked into the many different ways of diversifying your sources of income in retirement. Having an open mind is a virtue in today's marketplace.
5) Take some advice
Take advantage of financial advisors whenever you can and use this opportunity to sign up to our free budgeting software to get to know your money better. Our Money Dashboard service can help you keep track of your finances, manage goals and build budgets, all helping you to arrive at a comfortable retirement.