Why your retirement plans will backfire
Filed under: Retirement
And while those who are holding out for the lottery might appreciate that they're on thin ice, those who think they're going to inherit could be heading for disaster too.
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Scale of the problemThe research found that 24% of pre-retirees need a windfall to fund life after work. More men (27%) than women (21%) are hoping for a windfall to secure their financial future. And close to a third of optimistic Londoners are counting on a lump sum turning up.
Higher earners in particular have their heads in the clouds, with more than a third of those earning over £40,000 a year reliant on some sort of retirement windfall, compared to about a fifth of those earning less.
Why it's not comingThe most common fervent hope is for a lottery win - which 3.6 million people are holding out for - despite odds of 14 million to one.
However, it's fair to assume that those with lottery-related ambitions are fairly confident that their windfall is not going to materialise, so have a plan B in development.
The far more worrying group is the 7% who expect inheritance to pay for retirement. The problem with this particular plan is that there are three reasons why it's not going to work.
1. They're not going to dieIf you have a rich and elderly relative in mind, there's absolutely no reason why they should time their death to handily coincide with your retirement. If they are just a generation ahead of you there's every chance they will live deep into their 90s. Assuming they are 25 years older than you, this means you should be able to afford to retire in your 70s.
2. They're going to need the money themselvesIn an age of self-funded long-term-care, more and more inheritances are dwindling away to nothing. You may think there's a big stash of savings and a large home to go around, but after a few years in exorbitantly-expensive care, the savings will have gone, and the equity release will have taken a major chunk of your inheritance. There's every chance you could be left with a tiny fraction of what you are expecting.
3. They're not going to leave it to youWhatever is left over isn't necessarily going to come to you. People are unpredictable, and they don't become any less so when they pass away. Don't assume that just because you're Aunt Maude's only living relative, you'll inherit her estate. You have no idea whether her carer, her cat, or her favourite charity comes before you in the pecking order.
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The solutionThe fact is that you can't rely on an inheritance, just as you can't rely in a massive increase in the value of your property to get you out of a sticky situation (which is what one in twenty people are hoping for). The only solution is to make full-proof plans that you can implement yourself.
Ray Chinn, LV= Head of Pensions said: "According to the report, more than two-thirds (70%) of Britons expect their savings pots to be underfunded by the time they retire, or worse still have no idea if they will have sufficient retirement savings in place or not. If people want control over when they can retire it is essential that they properly plan how they will fund life after work."
If you want to retire on a pension of £33,000, you'll need a pension pot of around £550,000. At the moment the total average pension pot is around £150,000. The truth is that we cannot rely on a windfall to fill that gap: we need to take control ourselves and make a real effort to save.
Chinn says: "People can give themselves peace of mind by taking matters into their own hands. Seeking professional financial advice is a good place to start; advisers can help you to identify areas where you need to save more and set out a retirement plan rather than leaving your financial security to chance."
Percentage in each region relying on a windfallEast Midlands 36
North East 29
West Midlands 29
Yorks & Humber 23
South East 23
South West 21
North West 20
Northern Ireland 18
East of England 15