Gen Z To Baby Boomers: The Multi-generational Guide To A Sweet Retirement
By Alex Pritchard
How confident are you about your current retirement plan?
You may have an idea of what your retirement should look like – the lifestyle you want and the places you’ll visit. However, unless you maximise your peak earning years, it can be challenging to secure a comfortable financial future.
If you’ve never given your retirement much thought, or you want to review any existing plan, there isn’t a better time to do so than now.
In this blog, we’ll explore some effective retirement planning strategies for each generation and how to ensure that your money works for you.
Gen Z (ages 13 to 26)
Gen Z is divided into two halves: pre-20s and young people well into their 20s.
With the first half, most (if any) of the financial planning will stem from their parents and grandparents.
It’s not uncommon for parents or grandparents to put money away for their kids – whether that’s in the form of a junior ISA or a personal pension for children.
However, financial planning often begins properly when you become of working age. While it may be difficult to prioritise retirement at this stage, anything you can do in your 20s will be a relief to your future self.
Here are a few ways to start building your retirement pot:
If you work enough hours to be eligible for pension contributions, this is one of the best ways to start planning for retirement. Currently, the minimum pension contribution is 8 per cent of qualifying earnings, of which at least 3 per cent must be paid by the employer. However, some employers will match your own payments or even pay double what you contribute.
For instance, if you place five per cent of your salary into your pension pot, your employer matches your contribution by also putting in five per cent. That’s free money!
It’s best to check with your employer to see if they offer this and the level of support they can afford. Most employers will have a limit to the extra contributions that they’ll match.
Salary sacrifice is a tax-efficient way to make pension contributions and save towards retirement. Essentially, it’s an agreement to lower your salary, and then your employer pays the difference into your pension.
But, what might this look like in action?
Let’s say you earn £30,000, and you’d like to put £3,000 into your pension pot. You and your employer could agree to reduce your salary to £27,000. Your employer then pays the £3,000 difference as a pension contribution.
Of course, a reduced salary could affect other financial decisions like applying for a mortgage. But it certainly comes with some benefits. Since your salary is lower, you and your employer also pay less in National Insurance contributions (NICs). In some cases your employer may decide to pay part or all of their NIC savings into your pension too, which boosts your pension provision!
Millennials (ages 27 to 42)
At this stage, you’ve probably already started your pension scheme. If you’re earning a decent enough income, you might even make some extra personal contributions to your pension pot.
In a nutshell, continue to build your pot by converting some of your bonuses into pensions and making decent contributions. These are some of your best earning years, so you want to ensure that you’re converting the right amount into pensions and it’s all working for you.
Gen X (ages 43 to 58)
At this stage, if you’ve been saving properly over the past decades, you should have up to five or six figures in your pension pot. You should also be inching closer to paying off your mortgage, and that extra cash flow can now go towards your pensions.
This is where a financial adviser comes in handy, as they can help you use your money as efficiently as possible. At this point, you want to consolidate all the hard work you’ve done over the past years by making even bigger personal contributions.
There are some benefits to doing this. As you probably know, we all get a 20 per cent pension tax relief from the government. For higher earners, however, there is an extra level of tax relief that you may be able to claim on top.
As a higher-rate taxpayer, if you put £10,000 into your pension pot, your £10,000 contribution automatically grosses up to £12,500. You can also claim an additional £2,500 back from the government through your tax returns.
All of this comes together to consolidate your hard work and boost your pension provisions.
Baby boomers (ages 59 to 77)
Your late 50s to 70s are far less about saving and more about relying on your assets. You’ve worked hard for your money and now it’s time to make it work for you. With your best earning years behind you, it’s time to start speaking to your financial adviser about your consolidated pension and possibly an income drawdown.
With a drawdown, you can withdraw money from your pension pot and the remainder stays invested. When you die the lump sum goes to your beneficiaries.
On the other hand, you could also decide to purchase an annuity which leaves you with a fixed, regular income for the rest of your life. However, unlike pension drawdowns, there’s no value to pass to your family or other beneficiaries unless you buy protection at the outset.
That’s why it’s so important to speak to a good independent financial adviser who’ll use their experience and expertise to make your money work for you.
Remember: the key to a comfortable retirement is to get the basics right and start planning as early as possible.
And if you’d like to find out more about the best retirement planning strategies available to you, tune in to our podcast, A Dab Of Investment.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not constitute financial advice. Applewood Independent Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. For financial advice designed for you and your specific circumstances, please contact the author using the contact details provided in this article or, alternatively, contact the Applewood Independent Ltd office on 01270 626555.
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