Are you financially ready to retire?

Updated: 17 Dec 2020

Most people experience a drop in income on retirement, so it’s advisable to take stock of your financial situation before your final pay cheque arrives. Our friends at the Oddfellows Citizens Advice Line share some essential preparations.

If you’d like help with any of the points in this checklist, the Oddfellows Citizen Advice Line is available to all Oddfellows members. Non-members should contact Citizens Advice.

Clear any debts

It’s best to try and clear any debts before retiring, such as mortgage and credit card debts. If you’re struggling with debt, it’s never too late to get help. Free debt advice is widely available, so please do not pay when there’s no need to. You can always give us a call to chat about your situation and options.

Request a state pension forecast

To find out about the amount of State Pension you’ll get, request a State Pension forecast. You can do an online application at www.gov.uk/check-state-pension

Alternatively, if there are more than 30 days before you reach the state pension age, you can call the Future Pension Centre on 0800 731 0175, or write to The Pension Service, 9, Mail Handling Site A, Wolverhampton WV98 1 LU.

Useful things to know about state pensions

It’s no longer possible to claim the State Pension at age 65. The age at which you can claim depends on when you were born. You can check which age you can claim at www.gov.uk/state-pension-age

If you’re intending to claim your State Pension and keep working, your earnings will not affect your State Pension but it might affect entitlement to other welfare benefits, such as Pension Credit, Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support.

State Pension is taxable, so when added to earnings it may put some people into a higher tax band.

If you’re not expecting to get a full State Pension, there may be a way to boost your pension income. This will depend on individual circumstances. You can always give us a call to chat about your options.

Trace old pensions

The Pension Tracing Service provides a free service which searches a database of more than 200,000 workplace and personal pension schemes to try to find the contact details you need. Call them on 0845 6002 537 or complete an online request at www.findpensioncontacts.service.gov.uk

Pension Wise

For those aged 50 or over, with a defined contribution pension (not a final salary or career average pension), a free appointment with a pension specialist can be booked at www.pensionwise.gov.uk/en/appointments or call 0800 138 3944.

Check if you're entitled to any welfare benefits

If you’re concerned about making ends meet, we can help you to check if you’re entitled to any welfare benefits on retirement. We’ll need details of your accommodation, information about savings, income, pensions, health conditions and any existing benefits (for you and any partners).

See if you can reduce your household bills

  • Reduce gas and electricity bills
  • Find out about any council tax discounts
    • You may qualify for a council tax discount if, for example, you live alone, someone you live with has a severe mental disability, or you need a bigger property because someone has a disability. Visit www.gov.uk/council-tax/who-has-to-pay or give us a call.
  • Switch to a cheaper broadband, phone or TV deal
    • Remember to check the terms and conditions of your current contract before switching. For those part-way through a fixed-term contract there might be an ‘exit fee’ to leave early.
  • Find out about saving money on water bills
  • Save money on travel costs
    • The qualifying age for a bus pass for free travel depends on where you live. Check eligibility at www.gov.uk/apply-for-elderly-person-bus-pass
    • A senior railcard gives a third off rail fares for everyone aged 60 and over. It costs £30 a year, or £70 for three years. For more information visit www.railcard.co.uk or call 0345 3000 250.

Some useful links

Age UK provides useful information on preparing for retirement at www.ageuk.org.uk/information-advice/work-learning/retirement or call 0800 678 1602.

Money Advice Service provides useful information on preparing for retirement at www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/categories/pensions-and-retirement or call 0800 138 7777.

Add joining the Oddfellows to your retirement checklist

If you’re soon to retire, don’t forget that it’s really important to stay active and in touch with other people in your community. We’ve friendship groups across the country who meet regularly, as well as volunteer. We also offer group holidays and a huge range of care and welfare support if you find yourself in need. Take a look at our retirement page to find out more.

Disclaimer: Links to third-party websites do not constitute an endorsement by the Oddfellows and use of the advertised products and services is entirely at your risk. The Oddfellows does not accept any liability or responsibility for any third party material on other websites.