So you are in your 60s - even if you still have a few years left in your working life - retirement is now just around the corner.
Your pension may have felt like an abstract entity earlier in your career, but now it is starting to feel very real.
This is a new period of your life, and the fact that such a big lifestyle change is on the horizon might be making you anxious.
It doesn’t have to, but it’s important to be on top of your finances to successfully manage this transition - and to make sure that you can make the most out of your latter years.
The ‘secret’ to making sure that you can enjoy your retirement is simple - proper planning.
Research recently carried out by Irish Life found that most people don’t actually understand how their pensions work.
Heading into your final working years it is important to fully understand your financial situation. There is a danger that you might over-estimate the amount of money that you have put away.
You should also schedule a meeting with your financial broker or advisor - they can make sure that you have a complete understanding of your financial situation.
Beyond managing your money before you retire - you also have decisions to make regarding how your pension is paid out to you when you do finish working.
Whether you are hoping to finally perfect your golf swing, to cross Rome, Melbourne or Barcelona off of your ‘to visit list’ - or to help loved ones moving house, paying loans, or rearing children - it’s time to work out how you can make these plans a reality.
When you reach retirement-age you can receive your pension in a number of different ways.
Many people take the option to receive a lump-sum when they stop working - out of your savings you can receive up to €200,000 in one go - tax free.
If you’d prefer to know exactly where you stand - you can use your remaining money to buy a secure pension for life (this is called an annuity). This gives you a guaranteed monthly income for the rest of your life. You don’t need to worry about investment risks - the amount that you receive will be based on the size of your pool of savings - and your lifestyle expectations.
Alternatively you can choose to reinvest your fund. You can do this through a vested Personal Retirement Saving Account (PRSA), or an Approved Retirement Fund (ARF). These funds provide more flexibility, they allow you to withdraw money - while there are also opportunities to make further investments.
All income is subject to tax - and the values of these funds can decrease over time due to income withdrawals, or low growth rates.
Getting started doesn’t have to be a scary process - you are only a few clicks, or taps away from Irish Life’s easy-to-use pension calculator on any device. We have found this to be a good first step in mapping-out a pension plan.
Once you’ve got a feel for the numbers you can sit down with a financial advisor or broker and decide what type of plan will work best for you.