The High Cost of Retirement

Had a very enlightening meeting with a financial adviser recently. Usually, when someone starts talking statistics, figures, graphs and charts, my eyes glaze over and I get this funny droning noise in my head. Fortunately, my IFA (independent financial adviser) is well used to this by now, so he draws me pictures and puts it all in terms I can understand. At the end of today’s meeting, I actually felt like I understood something!

What I’m trying to do, without going into too much gruesome detail, is to work out (a) if I’ll be able to afford to retire in twenty years’ time and (b) if not, when I’ll be able to retire. And so far, things are looking rather good. I may actually be able to afford to retire on time if I promise not to live on anything other than bread and water and sell everything apart from my two favourite books and a pair of moth-eaten slippers.

Yeah, retirement is going to be bloody expensive.

You wouldn’t think it’s something I’d be considering when I’m not yet fifty, but in fact, it’s something I started looking at twenty years ago… and I should have done it five years earlier then. It’s really never too early to start thinking about retirement, unless you’re born into such wealth and luxury a day’s work is something someone else does for you (I’m merrily assuming that anyone reading this does not fall into that category). It’s only going to get worse and quite honestly, I fully intend to have a decent retirement – so I need to start making sure I can pay for it now.

The point I’m making is that I thought I was well organised in this sort of thing – and I’m not. It’s still going to be very much touch and go whether I will be able to retire before I’m 70 and still be able to survive slightly better than hand to mouth – and I don’t have particularly expensive tastes. For my daughter and people in their twenties and thirties, I implore you, get it sorted out yourselves as soon as possible as there is no guarantee that the State will provide for you (or if they do, that you’ll be able to survive on it). I feel like I’ve spent my adult life trying to encourage women to be increasingly self-reliant and this is an extension of that. Sort out your pensions now, ladies, so that when the time comes, you can show the young ‘uns how to live it up – without having to worry about getting up in the morning.

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