When you retire, you’ll hopefully be able to spend more time doing the things you enjoy, but if you want to make sure you don’t run out of money too soon, you’ll need to include certain financial habits as part of your new routine.

You may wonder whether you’ve enough to fund your retirement and meet rising living costs, so taking control of your money is particularly important at this stage. After all, retirement should be a time to relax rather than worry about your finances.

Here’s our rundown of seven must-have financial habits that can help to provide peace of mind in retirement.

Before you make any big changes to your finances, you might want to consider getting financial advice.

If you’re thinking about getting professional financial advice, you can find a local financial adviser on VouchedFor or Unbiased.

Alternatively, if you’re looking for somewhere to start, we’ve partnered with independent advice firm Fidelius to offer Rest Less members a free initial consultation with a qualified financial advisor. There’s no obligation, however if the adviser feels you’d benefit from paid financial advice, they’ll talk you through how that works and the charges involved.

Fidelius are rated 4.7 out of 5 from over 1,000 reviews on VouchedFor, the review site for financial advisors.

1. Regularly review your retirement budget

Budgeting may not be the most exciting part of retirement, but it’s really important, particularly if money is tight. If you’re not already in the habit of budgeting, it can help you better manage your retirement income and make your money stretch further.

The first thing you’ll need to do when creating your budget is to work out how much retirement income you have coming in each month. This probably comes from a few sources, such as your workplace pension, a personal pension, and State Pension. You may also have some investment or buy to let income, for example, that you use to supplement your pension income.

Once you’ve worked out your total monthly income, you can look at how much you’re spending each month. Find out more in our articles How to make a budget and stick to it and Five budgeting methods you might not have heard of.

After you’ve created a budget, give yourself a trial month to see how it goes and if you’ve allocated things correctly. Towards the end of that month, sit down and see how you’ve got on. If you’re lucky, you might find that everything is working well, but budgeting is often an ongoing process, so you can work on fine-tuning whatever budgeting style works for you until you feel you’ve got it right.

2. Pay down your debts

Paying off your debts is crucial to achieving financial stability in retirement. It will help you avoid being hit with high interest charges and ensure that you have more disposable income.

Make a list of your debts, including mortgages, loans, credit cards, unpaid bills and overdrafts. Note how much you owe against each, how much you are currently repaying each month, any interest rates that are being applied to your debts and the dates on which payments need to be made.

Focus on paying off your high-interest debts first, such as credit card debt, followed by other debts. Read our article Six steps to take control of your debts in 2024 for further guidance.

Bear in mind that many people don’t manage to pay off their mortgage by the time they retire. A rising number of retired borrowers is prompting lenders to push back the maximum age that you can be at the end of a mortgage term.

Want to speak to a mortgage advisor? Speaking to an experienced mortgage advisor can help you to understand your options and get a great deal on your mortgage.

If you’re looking for expert mortgage advice, you can get a free consultation with an independent mortgage adviser at Fidelius. Speak with a qualified, FCA-regulated, independent mortgage adviser you can trust. Rated 4.7/5 on VouchedFor from over 1,000 reviews.

3. Make sure you have an emergency fund

You could face a wide range of unexpected expenses in retirement, from home repairs to medical emergencies, so building and maintaining an emergency fund is crucial.

Experts recommend setting aside three to six months’ worth of income as an emergency fund, but you might want to put away a bit more if you can afford to. Your emergency fund acts as a safety net, providing you with financial security so that you don’t have to dip into long-term investments if you need some cash.

Read more in our article How to build an emergency fund. If you’re struggling to maintain a savings pot, you may find some useful suggestions in our article How to save money – 21 best money saving tips.

Get your free no-obligation pension consultation

If you’re considering getting professional financial advice, Fidelius is offering Rest Less members a free pension consultation. It’s a chance to have an independent financial advisor give an unbiased assessment of your retirement savings. Fidelius is rated 4.7/5 from over 1,000 reviews on VouchedFor. Capital at risk.

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4. Check your pension investments

It’s important to check where your pension is invested, and that you’re comfortable with this. Your investments should remain relatively well-diversified. This means ensuring that you haven’t become too skewed towards a certain market or particular type of holding.

As you approach and enter retirement, you’ll probably want to ensure that you’re focused on investments that aren’t too risky. This could mean increasing the amount you hold in bonds and cash, for example, and moving away from some investments in riskier areas such as emerging markets. Read our article Where is my pension invested? for more guidance on where you might be invested, and how to check.

If you’re thinking about getting professional financial advice, you can find a local financial adviser on VouchedFor or Unbiased.

Alternatively, if you’re looking for somewhere to start, we’ve partnered with independent advice firm Fidelius to offer Rest Less members a free initial consultation with a qualified financial advisor. There’s no obligation, however if the adviser feels you’d benefit from paid financial advice, they’ll talk you through how that works and the charges involved.

Fidelius are rated 4.7 out of 5 from over 1,000 reviews on VouchedFor, the review site for financial advisors.

5. Plan for long-term care costs

The cost of long-term care can be prohibitivel, and should therefore play an important part in your ongoing retirement planning.

Develop a plan for potential long-term care needs, including the possibility of needing to pay for care at home or in a residential or nursing home. Broadly speaking, to be eligible for help towards paying for care under current rules, you will need to have less than £23,250 in savings, including any income, benefits or pension.

This means the majority of people pay for their own care. The cost of long-term residential care can be eye-watering, often amounting to more than £1,000 a week.
However, there are more options that you might be aware of to cover the cost. These include pension income, equity release and deferred payment arrangements. Read more in our guide How to pay for long-term care.

6. Consider inheritance tax (IHT)

Under current tax rules, inheritance tax is payable at a rate of 40% on the value of your estate which exceeds £325,000. There is no inheritance tax to pay if your estate is worth less than this £325,000 threshold, which is also known as the nil-rate band. This inheritance tax threshold will remain frozen at its current level until April 2028.

During retirement, you may want to consider looking at ways to reduce this tax burden for loved ones left behind. There are several ways to legitimately reduce inheritance tax, but estate planning can be complex, so you should seek professional financial advice if you’re looking for specific recommendations based on your individual circumstances.

One simple way to reduce IHT, however, is to make use of annual gifting allowances. For example, you can give away £3,000 worth of gifts each tax year without them being added to the value of your estate. If you don’t use this annual exemption in a single tax year, you can carry it forward to the next. Find out more in our article Six ways to reduce inheritance tax.

As part of this process, make sure that you have an up to date will in place to ensure you don’t leave your loved ones with a bigger inheritance tax bill than you need to. Having a will means your assets will be distributed to who you want them to go to, and in a way that may help reduce any potential inheritance tax liability. Read more in our article How to write a will.

7. Seek help when needed

Maintaining financial habits in retirement is important, but decisions can be complex. Fortunately, there are places to find guidance and professional help.

The Government’s Pension Wise service, run by the Pensions Advisory Service and Citizens Advice, provides people aged 50 and above with free guidance on their pension choices at retirement.

However, if you want tailored advice and recommendations on your pension, you might want to speak to an independent financial advisor. They can recommend the best option for you based on your individual circumstances.

If you’re thinking about getting professional financial advice, you can find a local financial adviser on VouchedFor or Unbiased.

Alternatively, if you’re looking for somewhere to start, we’ve partnered with independent advice firm Fidelius to offer Rest Less members a free initial consultation with a qualified financial advisor. There’s no obligation, however if the adviser feels you’d benefit from paid financial advice, they’ll talk you through how that works and the charges involved.

Fidelius are rated 4.7 out of 5 from over 1,000 reviews on VouchedFor, the review site for financial advisors.

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