Peter Sharkey says financial planning key for part-time workers

Peter Sharkey says financial planning key for part-time workers

My younger brother and I recently took a prolonged opportunity to sit down and enjoy a beer without the impending need to hurry on somewhere else. Relaxing and chatting about nothing in particular, our conversation made frequent detours away from topics which on their own could have occupied us all night, though our default subjects revolved around family and sport, peppered with references to the creeping onset of aches and pains-matter. that once never bothered us.

“So, when are you going to retire?” I asked, half expecting a response couched in words of one syllable. But my brother smiled.

“I don’t want to stop altogether,” he eventually replied. “But perhaps I’ll work two to three days a week and get on with life on the other four or five.”

The follow-up question was inevitable: “When?”

“Not sure. Two, maybe three years down the line.”

“Have you done anything about it?”

“I’ve been meaning to, but I’ve been busy…”

I frowned. “You should do something about it. Go and have a word with an adviser. Plan what you’re going to do.”

“Stop nagging and pour me another drink.”

We’re not the first brothers to discuss financial planning – actually, we skated over the subject rather than discussed it – but post-pandemic, planning for partial retirement is a question seemingly uppermost in the minds of many fifty-somethings.

Estimates suggest that around five million people in their fifties are prepared to work beyond the official retirement age. More than 300,000 never want to retire. The majority of what is the final batch of baby boomers wish to work in some form after reaching retirement, ideally part-time, because they recognize both the financial and social benefits of remaining in gainful employment.

Ken Carter, of personal finance website Moneymapp.com, believes that whereas 30 or 40 years ago workers couldn’t wait to retire, a significant number of today’s greyer-haired folks simply enjoy working.

“Following the pandemic, we’ve seen an increasing number of people who wish to wind down when they hit their late fifties or early sixties, perhaps working a few days a week and using their spare time to pursue other interests,” he says.

“This willingness to carry on working part-time has several benefits – not least because it addresses a common dilemma. Namely, how best to fund a reasonably comfortable lifestyle in retirement,” adds Mr Carter.

Working a few days a week offers older workers a chance to get their finances in order. Mr Carter suggests they start by following a simple plan.

Get all of your finances, including pensions and savings, in order. It might take time to track down old company pensions or details of savings bonds you had with banks or building societies, but this is the opportunity to do precisely that.

Calculate what you have and decide when, approximately, you would like to retire. Be realistic when determining what level of income you need to maintain a comfortable standard of living. If you wish, you can continue to generate income by working part-time, while the value of your state pension should not be ignored.

Prepare a budget. Bear in mind that while most people are delighted to see work-related costs such as commuting tumble from their budget, don’t forget that traveling and enjoying other interests also come with a cost. If there’s a shortfall, use the pre-retirement planning opportunity to take action.

Create an income strategy that suits your lifestyle. “Most people want a mix of security and flexibility,” adds Mr Carter. “If they’re in good health, they still can continue to boost their longer-term retirement income by working part-time.”

It would appear that while our grandparents were delighted to call a halt to work if they were lucky enough to reach 65 (and considering the genuine hardships and wars they encountered, who could blame them?), today’s prospective retiree is a different beast.

Healthier, and for the most part richer, than their predecessors, none have experienced the privations of earlier generations. Those clever enough to recognize this are likely to embrace financial planning in order to enjoy a prolonged retirement. Booking an appointment with a financial planner to obtain a professional opinion regarding the effectiveness of a retirement strategy makes equally good sense.

For more financial advice, check out Peter Sharkey’s regular blog, The Week In Numbers.

This column is for general information only and cannot be relied on as financial advice for individuals. Consult your professional adviser.

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