Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Planning an Early Retirement? Managing Legal Matters Wisely

Retirement (Photo credit: Tax Credits)
It’s safe to say that most people would like to retire early, but how many people will actually be able to do so; moreover, how many will retire early and do so comfortably, i.e. without regretting not staying at work for a few more years?

Unfortunately, most people will continue to work until they have no choice but to retire, though if you believe that you’ll be in a position in which it’s feasible to retire early you’ll need to plan for retirement and plan well. 

Dealing with Debt

Retiring when you’re burdened by outstanding debts is impossible so you must ensure that all your outstanding debts are resolved well before you retire.

Many people slide into debt upon retirement because of a reduction in earnings, though provided you’ve planned your retirement well and you have surplus savings, there’s no reason why you should be at risk. 

Combining Pension Pots

If you’ve worked multiple jobs over the course of your working life your pension fund might be spread across multiple pension pots. If that’s the case, you need to find out where your pension is located and consider your options, including rolling them over into one pension fund. 

Are You Claiming the Benefits You’re Entitled To?

Whilst you might not be entitled to all if any of the benefits that senior citizens are entitled to because of your current age, you should still make the effort to find out what benefits you’ll be entitled to claim upon retiring early.

As much as £5.5 million pounds goes unclaimed by pensioners annually and if you’re not claiming the benefits you’re entitled to, the Government certainly isn’t going to let you know what you could be claiming.

There are a number of benefits made available for retirees – Council Tax Support, Housing Benefit, Winter Fuel Payment, etc. – and although you mightn’t be eligible to receive these benefits just yet, you could be at a later age. 

Considering Annuity?

Annuities convert pension funds into retirement income and despite receiving some bad publicity in recent years they’re still the best option available for the majority of retirees.

It’s important to understand that once you’ve decided on an annuity provider your decision can’t be reversed, so get it right the first time.

Couples need to think about joint annuities or single life annuities for each of them, and everyone needs consider the three annuity varieties – level annuity, escalating annuity or inflation-linked annuity – and buy according to their needs.

If you’re retiring early you might not be able to convert your pension funds into retirement income because of your age, or if you are, you might have to settle for an annuity for a specified period of time. 

Don’t Forget About the Taxman!

You’ll need an income to retire early and although you won’t be receiving a wage from an employer that incurs income tax, you still need to pay tax on the money you receive from stocks and shares, savings accounts, term deposits and income derived from investment properties.

Some sources of income aren’t taxed, most notably pensions, Government benefits and ISAs (Individual Savings Accounts); however, it’s important to ensure your tax matters are in order before retiring early because the taxman will catch up with you sooner or later and you don’t want that to happen after you’ve retired. 

Wills, Estate Planning and Powers of Attorney

Thoughts of dying are naturally far from your mind when planning for an early retirement, though you need to give some thought to the inevitable at some point in time and contacting a legal firm like Hanne & Co to create a will, engage in estate planning and discuss lasting powers of attorney needs to be taken care of sooner than later.

These legal matters must be attended to regardless of whether you have dependents, especially lasting powers of attorney, because you need to consider what would happen to your finances and wellbeing if you were no longer able to make your own decisions.

There’s a lot to prepare for an early retirement but there’s also a lot to look forward to, so take care of your legal matters early on to enjoy the early retirement you’ve worked hard for.

Author: Cheryl M. Graham is a freelance writer for Hanne & Co, a law firm in London with an outstanding reputation and a long history in offering services in various areas of law. The company is made up of individuals who actually care.

1 comment:

  1. To my mind one of the most important points here is getting rid of the outstanding debt one has. As soon as you are retired it will be more difficult to manage your finances anyway and debt in particular. You lose your regular income and get quite different way of life you should get used to still.


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