John's story: planning for retirement

"When I turned 48 years old, I began to worry that I wouldn’t have enough money to be able to retire at the age of 55.

I was frustrated mainly because I couldn’t be sure if the policies I’d invested into over the years would give me what I wanted, and to be honest, I wasn’t really sure how much money I would need to live once I’d retired either.

Part of my portfolio consisted of private pension funds. I spoke to my accountant who advised I contribute an additional £15,000 to these private pensions to maximise the amount of tax relief I’d get. As a higher rate taxpayer, my contribution would be £9,000, and although this was attractive, I wanted to be sure it was the right course of action.

Meeting with a Financial Planner

At my first meeting with a Financial Planner, we discussed what my goals were, what lifestyle I wanted to enjoy, the income I needed and how I could sustain this in retirement. As a result, the Financial Planner created a financial plan that took a comprehensive view of all my assets, including my NHS pension and the private pension funds I’d built up over the years.

A cash flow forecast was also produced. This enabled me to look at how my finances would look in seven years time – and thereafter.

This financial map was invaluable. It took into account all factors, including the realistic amount I needed to be able to retire in comfort – something I didn’t know until I saw this.

A clear plan for the future

The forecast also indicated that I’d actually achieved all my objectives and showed that I didn’t need to invest another penny into retirement planning if I didn’t want to! This proved that tax-relief alone was not a sufficient reason to invest more into a pension.

As a result of meeting with a Financial Planner I know exactly where I stand and have a clear plan for the future. In the end, the money I was going to invest into the pension funds reduced some of my debt – as well as pay for an extra family holiday!"