Having a plan for the future is one of the most important things you can work on during your working life. This is where a pension comes into play, something that almost everyone will tell you to focus on increasing so that one day you no longer need to keep working and can live in luxury. But how do you prepare your pension for the good times? First and foremost you need to be paying into your pension fund regularly. Finding out the amount you and your employer pays in is vital to ensuring your pension is ready for the future.
So you know how much you’re paying into your pension fund each month. Now what? It’s time to have a look at what you can do to manage your pension and prepare it for the future. Detailed below are a number of tips that you can use to make sure your pension is ready to support you come retirement age. As with all financial matters, make sure you always have enough money to follow these tips. Though it is possible to borrow from your 401k to help, you have to weight up your pros and cons for short-term and long-term gains, and it might not be something suitable for you right now. But without further ado, here are the top tips for managing your pension.
Top It Up
Starting simple, one of the best ways to ensure that your pension is ready for the future is to keep putting money into it. If you have some extra money at the end of the month that you don’t know what to do with, invest it into your pension. Anything that goes into your retirement fund now is going to be comfortably in your pocket when you need it most, meaning that spare change is the best thing to invest where you can.
Also keep extra moments of cash in mind, such as bonuses, returns on stock investments or lottery wins. Though the first instinct may be to use it for a couple of luxuries around the house, it could be put to better use in your future. So long as it fits in your budget, adding in a little more each month will never hurt.
Make Use Of Pension Tax Relief
Tax benefits generally increase as the amount in your pension increases, so this is certainly something to keep in mind. The amount you get tends to depend on the rate of income tax you pay, meaning that your pension service will pay in a percentage of what you pay into your pension. Depending on who you are employed with, where you live and what your local tax laws are there may be differences, but there should be some level of tax relief you can expect for paying into your pension. Just think of the number of pension top ups you could receive over the course of your working years to be used once you’ve hit the retirement period.
Regularly Review Your Investments
Depending on your experience with investments, you may not have a great understanding of how an investment portfolio should be laid out, or which kinds of investments you should be making. In this case, letting a professional handle your investments is the best path forward. However, if you are well versed in the workings of investment, and feel comfortable taking on the financial responsibility and risk, you can choose to manage your own investments. If you do choose to invest the time, you must continue to keep a close eye on your investments and review them regularly, making sure you know how well they are performing and whether or not a strategy change is needed. In fact, even if you delegate your investments to a professional, you should be reviewing them regularly to ensure that the investor is making the best investments for you and your family, keeping your future safe and secure.
Thinking Long Term
As your pension savings are invested, they can regularly decrease and increase in value, changing the returns. However, as you’ll usually be saving into your plans for many years, it’s likely that the longer term investment will provide a better return overall than in, say, a savings account. So, plan for the future, not for the now. Worrying about the small ups and downs that happen over the course of a few months is meaningless when you have another fifteen years until retirement. You should be planning your future, keeping your investments in mind as you carefully budget to allow yourself to make the most of your pension.
If you experience a greater amount of stress and concern over the returns of your investments, it is possible to reduce the risk by diversifying your portfolio by having a mix of different investments. Most workplace default investment options will likely do this for you, as will personal pensions, that tend to have personal packages to help you diversify, especially if you don’t have as much time to carefully select exact investments. This keeps your portfolio varied and lowers the risk of severe losses.
Thinking about your future is incredibly important when it comes to financial planning, so your pension should be top of your mind whenever making any new decision or moving in another direction. However, so long as you follow these tips and stay informed, your money should be safe and you should be able to look forward to a comfortable retirement, full of fun and luxury.