When you are just starting out in life, pension age seems a long way off in the distant future, not something that needs worrying about.
You’re young, life stretches out in front of you, there is fun to be had. And then there are all the expenses and pressing bills to be paid, so a pension is something that can wait. Can’t it?
If it’s your first job, then likely you have student loans to be paid off and setting up a home and furnishing it. These are pressing demands, and it is no wonder that the thought of starting a pension is often put on the backburner.
But here’s the thing – At any stage in life, there always seems to be a good reason for putting a pension plan on the backburner. If it isn’t the student loan, then it’s starting a family or moving to a bigger home; life’s like that!
But there are plenty of compelling reasons for starting a pension as young as possible, and today with state pensions under increasing pressure, these reasons are more compelling than ever.
How young is too young?
The fact of the matter is that you should be considering a pension from the moment you enter the employment market. It is easy at this stage of life to tell yourself that pension age is a lifetime away, but as our elders tell us all the time – Life is short.
Surprisingly short in fact, one way to illustrate the point is to consider a salaried 25-year-old who plans to retire at the age of 60. In this instance, they have 35-years to build up an adequate pension fund. This may sound like a long time, but if you consider it another way, it equates to a mere 420 paychecks.
And that’s if you start planning straight away, leave it ten years and its 300 paychecks and so on.
Leaving it until later in life may seem like a good idea, but the fact is the longer it is left, the bigger the contributions you will need to make to achieve a healthy pension fund. There are no shortcuts.
Money well spent
It is easy to forget that paying into a pension fund is not a bill; it is a saving. In much the same way that mortgage payments can be considered an investment, so should your pension.
Mortgage payments are something that most of us expect to pay, we automatically tick them off before considering disposable income. In reality, pension payments should be regarded in the same way.
Starting your pension early lets you spread the investment over more time and allows more time for interest to accrue. Also, if you are paying into a company pension scheme, then your employer will usually make contributions too.
Room to manoeuvre
There is an element of risk with any investments, and pensions are no different. However, riskier investments are often a fantastic way of boosting your pension pot, but these are, more often than not, longer-term investments.
Investing over longer periods regardless of the risk level allows more time for the markets to ride out highs and lows and allows you the scope to make riskier decisions safe in the knowledge that time is still on your side.
This approach means you can afford to take a few calculated risks earlier in life before returning to safer investments as pension day looms.
There is also inflation to consider. Inflation is one of the big factors that can hamper any pension plan, and slightly riskier investments can help defeat the pension-busting effects of inflation.
While this might all seem like doom and gloom, it shouldn’t be. Getting started is easy, and even if you begin with modest contributions, the results can quickly mount up.
The start of anyone’s working life is difficult. The salary is lower than it will become, and the financial obligations can quickly mount up. But spare a thought for your pension fund at this stage, and your older self will thank you, and sooner than you think!
It doesn’t need to be much; €90 a month works out to be about €3 per day. Most of us can easily make savings of this amount without having to think too hard. Remember that this isn’t lost money, this is an investment in your future, and as your finances improve and contributions can be increased, from this acorn, a mighty oak can grow!
A long and happy retirement is something that we all dream about. A well thought out financial plan can turn this dream into a reality.
At Financial Architects, we can offer impartial advice and help you on the road to a long, happy, and well-deserved retirement. Why not give us a call and talk to our financial advisers about how to make sure that your retirement is a financially secure one.
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