Now that you’ve retired you probably have more time on your hands but less money to spend. Now more than ever it’s important to know what’s available to you. Here are some useful tips to help you manage:
Plan your budget
Retiring can often mean that you are living on a lower in come and your money can become stretched. Budgeting will help you to monitor your ingoing’s and outgoings. Use the Money Advice Service’s budget calculator .
Work out your financial goals
Once you’ve worked out your budget you can then begin to look at anything else you want to do (e.g. family holidays, home improvements).
Make the most of your savings
There are a number of different accounts around and it can be difficult to find the most appropriate one. Whether you’re looking for a tax-free ISA or a high interest savings account have a look at the comparison tables and use the savings calculator to see how your savings can grow in the future.
Make the most of your investments
If you rely on investments for your income then be aware that the level of income may vary depending on how the investments are performing. Before investing make sure you understand the risks before committing.
Be aware if you see an investment promising high return with little or no risk. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is. Visit the Money Advice Service website for information on investments and the Financial Services Authority website on how to keep yourself protected.
Trace old savings, investments and pensions
You may have accounts which you have forgotten about. This is easily done if you’ve moved home and have forgotten to inform firms of your new address. There are a number of companies which can help you to track lost accounts or pensions.
Accounts: Experian or My lost account Pensions: Directgov
Working after you retire
If you’re thinking about staying on at (or returning to) work after you retire you will need to find out how you’ll be taxed and how this may affect your level of benefits.
Raising money from your home
If you’re a homeowner then you have the opportunity to convert some of the value of your home into either a lump sum or a monthly income, however, it’s not suitable for everyone. Always consider seeking professional advice before making a commitment.
Benefits and allowances
Check out what benefits and allowances you may be able to get to help boost your income - see the top tips for retirement for more information. The first £10,000 of your savings will not be taken into account in the assessment for Pension credit, housing benefit or council tax benefit.
Heating and insulation improvements
If you need help paying for heating or insulation improvements in your home then you or your partner may be eligible for one of the government’s grants schemes if you’re receiving certain benefits. To see which grants are available in your area visit the Energy Saving Trust website or for free help and advice with your energy bills visit the Home Heat Helpline website .
Travel and leisure
If you’re over 60 then you can get discounts on coach and train travel as well as a free bus pass in some areas. If you’re based in Northern Ireland then you can travel on buses and trains for free.
Home and care
If you need help and support to stay in your home then it may be available. If you’re a carer then you may be eligible for financial help and support for you and the person you care for.
Paying tax in retirement
You will usually have to pay tax on your income (whether from pension or savings) if your income is more than your tax-free allowances. Visit Directgov for full details.
Claiming back tax
If you’re on a low income then it may be possible for you to claim back tax you’ve paid on either your pension or interest paid from a savings account. The Directgov website has full details.
When you pass away you may have to pay inheritance tax on the value of your estate over £325,000 (2011/12). See Setting up a will or trust article or visit Directgov for information.
Plan for your death
It’s a good idea to start thinking about what you would like to happen if you were diagnosed with a terminal illness, how you would like to spend your final years or what you would like to happen after your death. The Dying Matters website aims to provide help to people as they plan for death so that they can enjoy the rest of their life.
Often people worry that they won’t leave enough money for their funeral when they die. You can set up a funeral plan to arrange and pay for your funeral before you die – see Directgov for more information on funeral plans.
Managing your affairs
There may come a time when you are less able to manage your finances, property or personal welfare and you will need someone to do this for you (who is called your ‘attorney’). You can formally choose a friend, relative or professional. For more information on managing your affairs visit the Money Advice Service .
Protecting your family and dependants
Life insurance will pay out a lump sum or fixed regular income, either when you die (if a whole-of-life policy) or if you die within a specified term (term insurance). If you already have life insurance then it is a good idea to see how much it will pay out on your death.
Protecting your health
There are many different insurance products which can help protect you and your partner if you because seriously ill or need help with private medical expenses.
As you get older you may develop health problems and have difficulty with everyday tasks. You may have to move into a care home or need help to stay in your own home. The state may pay for these costs, however, if you want better care then long-term-care insurance may be an option.
Benefits, property and money
When someone dies, the executor or administrator normally sorts out their finances and then shares what’s left according to the deceased’s will or the law (if there is no will). In some cases an executor or administrator may not be needed.
If the deceased has left money in joint accounts, it normally means the surviving joint owner automatically owns the money. The money doesn’t form part of the deceased person’s estate and therefore doesn’t need to be dealt with by the executor or administrator.
If the deceased had more than £5,000 in accounts held only in their name, the executor or administrator may need to apply to the Probate Registry for a grant of representation to gain access to the money. For more information see the Directgov website .