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Checklist for retirement

Getting to retirement in tip-top financial shape takes planning – whatever age you want to stop working.

Everyone's monthly budget is different, but putting money aside and deciding how to make it work harder for you is what really counts.

Whether you're in your 20s, your 60s, or anywhere in between, here's a checklist of what you could be doing now to set you up for the future you want.

Planning for retirement in your 20s

Your 20s may be all about getting your career started and enjoying the here and now.

And while life after work probably feels like a lifetime away, taking some simple steps now can give you a head start to financial freedom later on. Call it a little gift to your future self.

What you could be doing in your 20s:

  • create a financial action plan
    Building a budget of your income and costs can help you see how much you could save.
  • join your workplace pension scheme
    If your employer has a workplace pension scheme, it's worth enrolling. They may even match any pension contributions you make - which is like free money!
  • add to your savings regularly
    Whether you save or invest, starting today will give your money the time and potential to grow. By regularly adding to your savings, you can help turn it into a habit – even small amounts can make a difference over time. Set aside what you can, then try to increase your contributions regularly.

Planning for retirement in your 30s

Your 30s are all about building on what you started in your 20s - if you haven't started saving for retirement, now's the time to get going.

Hopefully your salary will have increased with your experience, but whatever you're earning, put aside what you can.

What you could be doing in your 30s:

  • add an extra 1% to your retirement fund
    Every time you get a pay rise, you could increase your retirement contributions by 1%. This can keep your retirement fund growing and you won't miss the extra money.
  • boost your savings efforts
    Looking at your budget can help you see where you can make changes and potentially save more money.
  • use technology to help
    Online money management tools and retirement calculators can help you plan for your future.
  • get some financial advice
    As an expat, your retirement arrangements may be more complex. Speaking to a financial advisor who understands the challenges of living and working abroad can help you explore options to supplement your pension(s), and build your retirement pot.[@pensionadvice]

Planning for retirement in your 40s

All being well, your 40s could be a decade of big earning and spending potential.

If you're not where you want to be with your retirement planning, it's not too late to start. Look at how you manage your money, including any debts you may have, and update your financial action plan to help you reach your goals.

What you could be doing in your 40s:

  • see if you're on track
    Use our retirement calculator to see whether you're on track to achieve the lifestyle you want.
  • consider investing

    Investing can be a great way to enhance your retirement pot and a ready-made portfolio can make it simple to get started. Bear in mind, the value of investments can fall as well as rise.


    Explore: Investing for beginners

  • continue getting financial advice

    Make time to have follow up meetings with your financial advisor to review your ongoing needs and retirement plans.


    If you've not sought financial advice previously, now could be a good time to consider it if you need help exploring your options.[@pensionadvice]

  • expat tax planning

    Moving and living abroad can potentially make your tax obligations more complicated. You should check with a qualified tax professional if you're unsure about the tax implications on your pension and wider retirement planning.


    You can use our tools and resources to help you to navigate the complexities of international tax.

  • set up a separate savings or investments pot
    You may want to put some money aside for your family's future or a lifelong dream you want to pursue.

Planning for retirement in your 50s

Your 50s is when your retirement goals start coming into sight. This is when you need to focus on boosting your savings.

What you could be doing in your 50s:

  • improve your financial wellbeing
    Make sure your plans for retirement are in good shape, and you have a clear picture of what you want your retirement to look like.
  • regular financial reviews

    Regularly reviewing your finances with your financial advisor can help you monitor your plans and potentially make changes to help you achieve your retirement goals. 


    For example, now may be the time to allocate more money to your retirement pot, or to re-assess how much risk you are comfortable taking with your finances, as you get closer to retirement age.

  • factor in all your potential income streams
    Look at all your potential income streams (from your assets, rental property, business, long term investments and government entitlements) to help plan how much you'll have for retirement.
  • consider combining your pensions[@pensionadvice]

    If you have multiple pensions from your previous employment, take time to consider how you'll access any funds, and whether you may want to combine your pensions into one pot.


    There are several good reasons to consider this, but you need to be sure it's the right thing to do for you. Before taking action, it's worth talking to someone who specialises in consolidation advice.

Planning for retirement in your 60s

Ideally, your 60s can be a time of gradual transition that you're in control of.

With careful planning, this can be a time of freedom and adventure.

What you could be doing in your 60s:

  • plan a budget
    A budget can help calculate whether your means meet your expectations. Use our living in retirement calculator to help.
  • carry on working
    More and more people are enjoying 'semi-retirement'. It can keep you physically and mentally active while also giving the all-important social element that work can bring.
  • live your best life
    Think about what you want to do when you retire. Whether it's spending more time travelling or with your family, now's the time to plan for the fun stuff.

Explore more

Our guide to planning ahead so your future self can make the most of retirement.
Planning ahead can seem like a chore. But it's the surest way to set yourself up for financial freedom.
Discover how much you need to put away to have the retirement you want.

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