While many of us do not like to think about our later years when we are no longer able to work, it's important to think ahead. Planning for the future is important for everyone, but it can often feel confusing when trying to establish out when the right time is to begin the planning process. The most important point to remember is that everything should be approached within the appropriate time frame.
For example, if you are still perfecting your studies, you might not be thinking about your temporary retirement. Instead, your main priorities will be somewhere along the lines of your career goals, sometimes the temporary purchase of a home, and other hopes and dreams like getting married and starting a family. These are all important milestones, and they do not leave much room for retirement planning when you're in your 20s or 30s.
Under other circumstances, there are people who fail to plan ahead at all. Time sees to fly by too fast and, before they know it, they have just a few more working years to go. There are even those who find themselves retiring unexpectedly due to medical or other reasons. In these cases, it's good to make sure that you have made some provisions for your golden years.
Many will agree that the best time to begin considering retirement options is in your mid-thirties. This does not mean that you need to make concrete plans, but you might want to get the ball rolling. Take some time to set up appointments with at least three independent financial advisors to discuss your options. Planning in advance will make it possible for you to foresee certain financial hurdles (such as affording the monthly payments), and you can make the necessary adjustments before you find yourself in a bind.
Once you reach the age of 40, you should start to think about where you wish to live for the duration of your retirement. Would you like to remain in your existing home, would you like to downsize, or would you like to move to another location completely?
When you reach your 50s, you should have your affairs well in order. You should be prepared for the kind of lifestyle you're likely to expect, and you must also be fully aware of your benefits and when you become eligible. Consider the long-term future and the fact that your medical and other needs might change over years and you will need to make financial plans to accommodate these needs. Remember that, even if your pension does not seem to cover all your potential needs, you always have options like loans, credit, and equity release plans.