Sharon Bonfield of St James Place outlines some of the financial issues to consider to ensure financial well being as we grow older.
According to research from the Money and Pensions Service’s (MaPS) Financial Wellbeing Survey 2021, a staggering 24 million of us feel ‘financially vulnerable’. In truth, money is never far from all our minds. Whether we’re sat at our desk, or in the middle of the night, thoughts of ‘will I ever be able to retire?’ or ‘what if I need money fast to cover an unexpected bill?’ often crop up.
What is financial wellbeing?
A large part of financial wellbeing is about building confidence.
You don’t need to have lots of financial knowledge or understand technical details about products, you just need to know you’re doing something and making good decisions to get you on the right track to meet your short and long term needs. That in itself creates the sense of confidence that you’re building something.
How to get into a regular savings habit
A lot of people put off long-term saving because they’re unsure about how products work, whether they’re good value and what they can and can’t do. It can put your mind at rest and help you feel more confident about the future just by taking simple steps.
Getting into a regular savings habit is a big part of feeling assured that you’re doing something positive towards retirement. A positive of the pandemic is that more people are aware of the strength of their financial position and what they can do to bolster it.
Whilst we’ve seen lots of hardship, we have also seen people taking the opportunity to clear debts, overpay their mortgages, increase their savings and generally build their financial resilience.
How it affects retirement
Having more choice over when we take our retirement is a mixed blessing. On one hand, it gives us more options and let’s us have more say. But it also increases the pressure on us to make the right choices. And this can lead to poor outcomes if professional advice hasn’t been sought.
But having a preferred retirement age in mind can also make it easier to prepare properly.
It’s important to have a good understanding of what your retirement looks like for you personally and then you can start to plan how you get there. Whether you want to leave the decision of retiring to when you feel ready, or you’re certain you want to retire at a certain age, putting a plan in place can generate a sense of wellbeing in itself.
Where can I start?
A quick snapshot of the products to look at when starting your regular savings journey include:
For longer-term objectives such as saving for retirement, pensions are the obvious place to start, not least due to their tax efficiency.
The tax relief available on pension contributions is a generous government incentive to save as much as you can. If you’ve taken out a workplace pension, it’s likely that your employer is paying into it too.
You can also build up your ISA investments over that time, while property may play a part as well.
As well as long term savings plans, you’ll perhaps need to have cash you can access as an emergency fund. This money will be serving a different purpose and meeting a different objective, even if you feel that pot of money isn’t working as hard.
Having someone to help you identify your objectives, see what you’re trying to achieve and put a plan together to get you there can give you the financial wellbeing that you need and make you feel confident in doing more to address your own needs.
*Sharon Bonfield, Marketing Proposition Manager at wealth management company St James’s Place. NB The value of an investment with St James’s Place will be directly linked to the performance of the funds selected and may fall as well as rise. You may get back less than the amount invested. St. James’s Place guarantees the suitability of the advice given by members of the St. James’s Place Partnership when recommending any of the wealth management products and services available from companies in the Group, more details of which are set out on the Group’s website at www.sjp.co.uk/products.