Simon Read: The right planning will help your dreams come true
Saturday 11 December 2010
When will you be able to afford to retire? The answer, increasingly, looks likely to be never. If you're not still trying to pay off your student debts in your sixties, you'll need cash for your children, your crumbling home, or even to simply pay for decent healthcare.
It's not a pretty prospect. The Government is not helping by increasing the state pension age, meaning we'll all have to work longer just to claim state benefits. But next year's scrapping of the default retirement age, which allows companies to pension you off at 65, will give many a great opportunity, according to Clive Bolton, a pensions expert at Aviva.
"The removal of the default retirement age provides people with the freedom to design their own retirement," Clive says. "Some people will naturally choose to stop work when they start claiming their state pension, but many will continue working as they genuinely enjoy their roles and gain social and financial benefits."
Research published by Aviva this week suggests this is already beginning to happen, with a trend towards down-shifting rather than retiring and stopping work altogether. Surprisingly three out of five over-55s have already chosen to down-shift. For some, that simply means reduced working hours, but many are moving to a different form of employment.
Some 16 per cent have decided to move to a less stressful role, while 11 per cent are now undertaking consultancy work. That's all well and good, but it's the remaining 11 per cent, according to the research, that excite me. They've turned a hobby or interest into an income-generating career.
That sounds like a dream move. If we can look forward to earning money from spending time doing the things we enjoy, then the fact that we are all likely to be forced to worked for longer is not so daunting. In fact it's quite the reverse, and could be something to look forward to.
Of course we'll only be able to achieve that dream if we plan for it, which may mean adjusting your finances now to allow you to downshift into your dream career when you reach retirement age or thereabouts. But with the right financial planning, who knows what could be possible?
My dream would be to be able to play football every day, which is obviously not going to happen because no one would pay me to do so and, sadly, age will eventually render me unable to manage regular games. But the idea of having something fun like that to look forward to makes the chore of retirement planning all the more exciting.
Forget about all the tedious tax rules (there's more about them on p63 this week) and just think about the opportunities you could open up with some sensible financial decisions now.
* Boiler rooms were back in the news this week after the City watchdog reported that it has recovered a list from share scamsters containing the names, addresses and telephone numbers of 49,387 people. The Financial Services Authority is contacting all the people listed to warn them that they may have been victims of a con.
Boiler room operations work a simple sting. They contact people out of the blue – often names they've found on a publicly available share register – and offer the chance of a lifetime to buy into a share that is going to rocket. They use high-pressure sales techniques and tricks to persuade people that they must act at once to take advantage of inside information, such as the fact that a mining company, for instance, is just about to announce that it's hit gold. But the shares are always worthless and often non-existent. Anyone handing cash over will never see it again.
The crooks get away with it, as they call from unauthorised, normally overseas-based companies with fake UK addresses and phone lines routed abroad. If you deal with them, you simply have no protection and the police are powerless to get your money back.
The FSA says the average boiler room victim loses £20,000. That means that if just one in 10 of the people on the latest list found by the City watchdog has fallen prey to the tricksters, the crooks could have made off with £96m.
Don't let it happen to you. If you get an out-of-the-blue call from someone offering shares, simply hang up. No decent stockbroker would cold-call you.
However if you are contacted by a firm with what sounds like an interesting share opportunity, you should check the FSA's Register at www.fsa.gov.uk/register to ensure that the person selling shares is authorised to do so. Then call the company back using the details on the register to verify their identity.
If they are not registered or appear dodgy, report their activities to the police. You could end up saving someone else from becoming their next victim.
I'm planning a new feature next year where I'll be giving you - our readers - the chance to grill senior financial figures. Simply send your questions to me and I'll put them to bank bosses, fund managers, or whoever else you want. I'll try to ensure they give honest and robust answers but they'll only be able to respond to the questions you send.
For starters I'm linging up the mortgage chief at one of the country biggest lenders. I'm going to ask him why he can't do more for first-time lenders and why arrangement fees are sometimes so high (£1,000 or more when one lender charges just £99). What would you like to ask him?
Next up will be one of the UK's biggest motor insurers. I want to know from him why premiums are rising so quickly. You can put forward whatever queries you like. Please email me with your questions and suggestions of other people we can grill. Together we can get the answers.
- 1 Disney heiress Abigail disowns her share of family profits in West Bank company
- 2 The secret report that helps Israel hide facts
- 3 'Women should not laugh in public,' says Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister in morality speech
- 4 Israel's propaganda machine is finally starting to misfire
- 5 HSBC closes bank accounts belonging to Muslim clients in the UK
The secret report that helps Israel hide facts
Woman and two children killed by mob in riots over 'blasphemous' Facebook post in Pakistan
A day in the life of Vladimir Putin: The dictator in his labyrinth
Putin is 'thuggish, dishonest and reckless', says British ambassador to US
Richard Dawkins tweets: 'Date rape is bad, stranger rape is worse'
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – Britain as others see us
- < Previous
- Next >
iJobs Money & Business
£600 - £700 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Senior Investment Accounting Change...
£450 - £650 per day + competitive: Orgtel: My client, a leading bank, is curre...
£350 - £400 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Senior Analyst, ALM Data, Halifax, ...
£500 - £600 per day: Orgtel: Java developer - Banking - London - Up to £600/d...
Day In a Page
A two-bedroom flat with boutique hotel-style interiors, close to the foodie haunt of West End Lane
A two-bedroom flat in a beautiful old vicarage, with many original features, close to the city centre
A three-bedroom 16th-century home with an aga kitchen, private gardens and heated outdoor pool, in Hadleigh
A three-bedrom home in sought-after Queen's Gate Mews, with Italian marble-finished bathrooms
Surrounded by glorious countryside in the village of Udimore, sits this impressive four-kiln oast and barn conversion
A five-bedroom house in the picturesque village of Kettlewell, north Yorkshire
An 18th-century former coaching inn with original staircase, open fireplaces and beams throughout
A Grade II-listed Georgian town house with three bedrooms and a south-facing courtyard, near Arundel Castle
Feel on top of the world at this über chic penthouse on the 37th floor of one of Europe’s tallest blocks.
A Grade II-listed Victorian villa with six bedrooms and two further cottages, all with spectacular sea views
A grade II-listed, Georgian cottage with mature 50ft garden, perfect for summer entertaining
A magnificent Georgian pile with turrets, seven bedrooms, a heated pool and four acres of gardens
Fairoak Farm has five bedroom suites, gym, outdoor swimming pool and golf course
Chic two-bedroom river-fronted flat with a private lift that delivers you directly to your home
A spectacular seven-bedroom Tudor pile, once owned by Henry VIII, with 18 acres of land
A seven-bedroom Georgian property previously used as a picturesque wedding venue
A split-level flat in a church conversion with two en suite bedrooms and 1,200sq ft of living space
A three-bedroom bungalow situated behind an impressive stone wall, £645,000
Windsor Castle overlooks this three-bedroom Victorian cottage located on one of Windsor's smartest roads
Chapel House is a former vicarage with nine bedrooms in the beautiful Upper Wye Valley
A five-bedroom B&B and separate owner's accomodation with potential for conversion
Enjoy summer by the Thames in this two double-bedroom converted warehouse in Rotherhithe village
A one-bedroom, luxury apartment with private gym and concierge service in Moorgate
A four-bedroom house in Hermitage Gardens with three reception rooms and landscaped gardens
A seven-bedroom Grade II-listed property with a separate self-contained apartment
A five-bedroom Victorian house with three reception rooms and galleried landing, £695,000
A six-bedroom farmhouse with five acres of land in a former cloth-making village
A secluded seven-bedroom detached house with large private garden, £490,000
A three-bedroom cottage overlooking Sarratt village green with open fires and solid oak floors
A three-bedroom maisonette flat in a Grade I-listed, Georgian townhouse in a sought-after location
A one-bedroom apartment located within a private gated development, north of Turnham Green
Look forward to a brighter future at two-bedroom Sunny Cottages, ideal for Londoners looking to downsize
A three-bedroom red-brick cottage with outbuildings and pretty gardens, £200,000
This three-bedroom flat within a former textile factory spans the corner of the fourth floor and has a balcony
A charming four-bedroom Oxfordshire cottage with oak floors and chunky-beamed ceilings, £465,000
A beautiful one-bed flat in a sought-after portered block, with access to Norland Square communal gardens
A one-bedroom flat within a Sixties school conversion with high-spec design and open-plan kitchen, close to Lambeth North Tube, £435,000