Retirement is no longer the clear-cut milestone it used to be. Stopping work forever may not be what you have in mind - but it’s never too early to begin planning. Whatever stage you’re at, think about how much money you’ll need for the standard of living you want in the future.

Do you:

  • want to carry on working full-time, go part-time, or even start a new venture?
  • know what living costs you’ll no longer incur - or any new ones that might kick in?
  • want to spend more on leisure activities and holidays?
  • want to downsize, or even upsize, move to a new area – or even abroad?

You might have paid off your mortgage, have grown up children who don’t need support. You may no longer have work-related travel costs and not need as much income. You might want to stay in your current home, move to a completely new area - or build a stronger support network by moving nearer family or friends.

All this means focusing on finances. What are your main sources of income and how accessible are they? Do you have outstanding debts and how can you clear them before your income is reduced?

MoneyHelper has a detailed checklist on how to prepare for retirement, and recommends that you start this process two years before you want to stop working.

It’s not all about money

Bringing a long working life to a sudden end can introduce unforeseen challenges, so it helps to consider what will replace it. It could be you’ve had a long-held ambition to volunteer, take up a new skill, or even start up your own business. You can discover some great ideas about how to love later life at Age UK.

It’s important to build wellbeing into your retirement planning. Find some useful guidance in this video from Dr Paul Litchfield, BT’s former chief medical officer.

If you need to find out more about your pension savings with BTPS, the best place to start is with our portal. If you have not registered for the BTPS member portal already, view this video to learn how to sign up.

Use our Pension Calculator to see what income your BTPS pension will give you, based on different start dates.