Boosting retirement income

Five things you should be doing for a brighter future.

Will you have enough money to retire comfortably? How much is enough? What can you do to make a difference?

Whether retirement seems too far away to think about, or is already looming large on the horizon, the best time to review your plans is now. Furthermore, there are some compelling reasons for not putting it off.

Final salary pension schemes (also known as defined benefit pension schemes), with their guaranteed payouts, are becoming a thing of the past. These days, most of us are in defined contribution pension schemes, in which the outcome depends on investment performance and how much we pay in.

Saving for retirement is not something you can afford to ignore.

Take a moment to think about the things you might save for: a car, a holiday, a wedding, a rainy day. These are all worth saving for, but can anything be more important than your future? That time when the salary stops coming in? Now that really is something worth saving for.

So here are five small things you can do right now that could make a big difference to your future.

1. Make it a habit

Don’t be put off by the level of savings you might need for a comfortable retirement. Rome wasn’t built in a day. At first, it’s the act of regular saving that counts, rather than the amount.

The key is to regularly invest - even small amounts - into a pension or ISA (individual savings account) and let the magic of compound interest rate growth go to work.

2. Have a plan

Think about what you are saving for and focus on that goal.

Rainy day, new car or setting yourself up for when you finish working; whatever you want to achieve, stay focused on it.

3. Diversify

The golden rule here is don’t put all your eggs in one basket, especially if your pensions and investments are linked to stock markets.

Your investments should reflect your own situation, your own objectives and your own attitudes to risk. Consider investing in both a pension and ISA, because this gives you instant diversification.

4. Make it personal

Think about your own situation. Are you employed or self-employed? This is so important.

If you are employed, find out what your employer will contribute to your pension.Most will at least match your contributions. Not paying into a workplace pension is like turning down money from your employer.

If you're self-employed, with unpredictable earnings, the ‘carry forward’ rule can make a big difference. This allows you to use any unused allowances from the previous three tax years to maximise your pension contributions in the current tax year. It also means that if you don’t use all your allowance this year, you can carry it forward and still benefit from it in future.

5. Take advice

It’s vital that you take professional financial advice. Not just initially, but on a regular basis. Everyone has different priorities, circumstances and objectives, but professional advice can map out a plan with you and help you keep it on course.

Take the first step

A good place to start is with the pension review service offered by the specialist team at BCM Wealth Management in Stamford. We offer straightforward, professional advice tailored to your needs and circumstances, along with a warm welcome and a friendly, human approach.

Chat to our pensions specialist team at BCM Wealth Management. Call 01780 437500.

BCM Wealth Management Ltd is an appointed representative of and represents only St. James’s Place Wealth Management plc (which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority) for the purpose of advising solely on the Group’s wealth management products and services, more details of which are set out on the Group’s website The ‘St. James’s Place Partnership’ and the titles ‘Partner’ and ‘Partner Practice’ are marketing terms used to describe St. James’s Place representatives.

The value of an investment with St. James’s Place will be directly linked to the performance of the funds you select and the value can therefore go down as well as up. You may get back less than you invested.

An investment in a Stocks and Shares ISA will not provide the same security of capital associated with a Cash ISA. Please note that Cash ISAs are not available through St. James's Place.

The levels and bases of taxation, and reliefs from taxation, can change at any time. The value of any tax relief depends on individual circumstances.