Planning for the future

Embarking on a new life after finishing work can be daunting unless you get the right help, says retirement planning charity Life Academy

When our forebears retired, they waved goodbye to their careers. Slippers, rocking chair, doting grandchildren and a few years of dignified decline were all they aspired to.

For today’s retirees, however, it is a further stage in their life’s career rather than a final break. “Retirement is becoming much more complex,” says Stuart Royston, chief executive of Life Academy, the UK’s only national charity for life and retirement planning.

“People may enjoy 20 or 30 years of retirement, and to maintain their motivation and sense of purpose – not to mention their standard of living – they’ll need to plan and manage it.”

According to the charity’s head of marketing and communications, Diana Bignell: “The abolition of the default retirement age brings new choices such as taking a phased approach rather than the old-style ‘walk out the door and stop working’.

Although retirement is a life changing event, most people receive no formal education in financial or retirement planning

“Choices could be working part-time or flexitime, stepping down a grade or doing consultancy work. ‘How and when’ is something the employer and employee need to work out together,” she adds.

Money will be a major factor, so people must make well-informed – and irreversible – decisions about when and how to take their pension. And with decades of active life to look forward to, other aspects will also need thought.

“To maximise the feel-good factor you need to plan how you’re going to use your time,” says Royston. “Physical wellbeing, emotional health and relationships are all important factors.”

With more time for exercise and an end to workplace stress, retirement presents opportunities to improve physical and mental health. But some things may need to be replaced – the invigorating walk to the station, the companionship of colleagues or the status attached to having a job, perhaps.

Yet although retirement is a life-changing event, most people receive no formal education in financial or retirement planning. To tackle that, Life Academy has launched Holistic Retirement Solutions, a range of services enabling employers to engage employees in planning for their future through courses, and care and advice lines. Individuals can also subscribe to the charity’s online e-tutor.

www.life-academy.co.uk

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