How will I make money go further during retirement?
When we decide to retire, money worries can often be at the forefront of our minds. After all, our retirement funds are finite, and many people receive a fixed income via a pension or annuity – things that aren't particularly conducive to big spending. Nevertheless, there are all sorts of things you can do to boost your pension income when you retire, improving your quality of life in kind.
Embrace freebies and discounts
When you reach pensionable age – usually over 65 – a whole host of offers are opened up, and when combined, they can save you an enormous amount of money.
There are those that ensure you won't have to pay for your travel, such as free bus travel for those living in the UK, or London's excellent Over-60s Oyster Card and Freedom Pass – offering over-60s and those over the age of 66, respectively, the ability to travel free across London's entire public transport network.
Coach operators also sometimes operate money-saving schemes for seniors, and a senior railcard is also available, offering anyone aged 60 or over a third off of national fares for only £30 a year.
Enjoy free TV
Over-75s (and those they live with) can enjoy a free TV licence, and people living in England can enjoy free NHS prescriptions and eye tests if they've passed the age of 60. Everyone in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, whatever their age, also receive these for free.
Discounts for pensioners
A large number of retailers, entertainment providers, heritage bodies, gyms – practically every kind of business – also offer discount cards for pensioners. A simply online search or in-store enquiry can reveal great savings that should definitely be taken advantage of.
Lastly, check websites such as Freegle and Freecycle whenever you're in need of making a purchase – as their names might suggest, you can get hold of completely free goods by using these – and look over Money Saving Expert's list of free museums and galleries if you're after a free day out.
If you feel like you can safely and happily continue working past pension age, then do so. The extra money earned will allow you to build up your pension to a greater level, boosted by not needing to pay National Insurance contributions and you can also choose to defer receiving the State Pension.
Alternatively, you could improve your pension income by assuming a part-time role. This is a particularly useful means of earning for those with rather small pension pots, giving a supplementary income that can really make a difference. Be aware, however, that your income could be subject to income tax if it exceeds your personal allowance.
Be aware of risk
Many pensioners will continue to keep a portion of their pot invested even after they retire and for most people a low/medium risk investment may be appropriate in retirement. Yes, high-risk investments afford the opportunity for high returns, but if their value drops precipitously, a large amount of your pension could be lost.
Make sure to visit a financial advisor at least once a year in order to make sure you're in the best financial position possible. The cost of the appointment is worth the assurances you'll gain from their expertise, and the money their advice might save (or make) you.
As a retiree, you're probably well-versed in the benefits of budgeting, and by simply totting up and cutting down your costs, you'll be able to get a handle on your pension finances. Identify what you need and don't need to spend money on, understand your bad habits, and your retirement will be much happier and less stressful as a result.
Your pension doesn't need to give you a bad nights' sleep. By following the steps above and thinking frugally about your pension pot, you'll be able to enjoy a happy retirement filled with possibility.
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