Ditch bad habits for a brighter retirement

Ditch bad habits for a brighter retirement
25 September 2012

ARE you likely to be able to achieve the retirement you desire? The answer, for many people, is sadly not, and the problem becomes more pronounced for expats as they, unlike their UK resident counterparts, are not necessarily compelled to save for their retirement.

This, when coupled with an often short-term and transient attitude can be dangerous to long-term plans.

Whether you're an expat or UAE national, it is clear that all of us need to be thinking more carefully about what we want out of retirement and more importantly how we plan to afford it.

There are bad habits we can all ditch and good ones we can adopt to afford the retirement we dream of. Like any bad habit, those of a financial nature are easy to develop and not so easy to get rid of. Here are some of the main offenders which you should be looking to ditch.

Stop relying on plastic

Credit cards can be a useful tool when making a one-off expensive purchase but too many of us rely on cards, which often have very high interest rates, for everyday spending.

If you just can’t break the plastic addiction then make an effort to pay off your balance each month. By avoiding unnecessary interest charges you should have more money left over at the end of the month to save.

Ignorance is not always bliss

How many of us have paperwork hidden under the bed? How often do we sit down and consider what financial position we are in? It is crucial to regularly dust off the document wallet and review what is in there.

Seek the help of financial professional as they will often know the best and most efficient way of getting to the bottom of your financial health and they are more likely to ask the questions that you don’t want to.

Stop relying on other people

Taking charge of your own financial affairs is one of the most useful and rewarding things you will ever do. At the end of the day, it is your retirement and you need to be the one who sets your goals and makes a plan to achieve them.

Don’t neglect your existing savings

Many people have built up retirement savings and pension schemes over the years. Often, these will be sitting back in your country of origin and may not have been looked at for some time.

Simply by transferring these into a more flexible retirement product, like a SIPP or QROPS, where you control how benefits are built up and eventually taken, can make a huge impact.

Think before you spend

Your morning coffee from a large American chain, buying the newspaper instead of reading it online, ordering a sandwich rather than making one at home; these all seem like very small things but over days and weeks and months they all add up.

Ask yourself ‘do I need it?’ and ‘is there a suitable alternative?’ It may seem like a sacrifice but small savings quickly become larger ones which in turn mean a brighter future for you.

Don’t forget to do your homework

There are many independent financial professionals out there who are falling over themselves to answer your questions. Take advantage of their services but know in advance what you want to ask and find out as much as you can about the topic you are going to be asking about as well as the person you will be talking to. This will keep you informed and help prevent you from being misled.

As you can see, there are lots of small changes you can make which will put you in a better position to achieve your retirement target. Take the action now so that in the future the only worry you will have is deciding what to spend your savings on first!

Pic credit: freedigitalphotos.net

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Communications manager
Brooklands Pensions
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