How investing in your future is something to think about… Right now.
So, you’re driven; a career woman who knows exactly where she wants to go in life. You are, in your own humble opinion, fabulous. But how far ahead have you thought? Yes, you may have your five-year plan and it may seem a little pessimistic to think this far forward, but…When (and how) are you going to throw in the towel?
Retirement is never the same for any two people. Savings, redundancy and family commitments all have significant roles to play when it comes to packing-it-in. Take Team GB Olympic swimmer Rebecca Adlington, for example. After global success and fame, Rebecca has recently announced her decision to retire at the ripe old age of… 24? At an age where most career women haven’t achieved even half of their goals. But would you be happy to hit a ceiling so early on in life?
On the other end of the scale, there’s the recent Papal resignation which took the Vatican (and the rest of the world) by surprise. Earlier this month, Pope Benedict XVI became the first Pope to resign in 600 years (a man who’s pushing boundaries at the age of 85 seems like YCB’s kind of guy!). But would you be happy to spend the last years of your life at the grindstone?
The facts are; that due to the economic downturn and rising life expectancy, the prospect of retirement is slipping further and further away from the world’s ageing population. In the UK, 61.5 is now the average age of retirement, and this is set to rise. New figures show that 1.4m people above the state pension age were still employed in 2011, compared with 753,000 in 1993. And it’s not a changing work ethic which is keeping people in the rat race; it’s crippling mortgages (which the average UK resident pays-off at 58.5 years old), rising cost of living and falling rates of interest on savings.
Oddly, research by the insurance firm Scottish Widows shows that 19% of public sector workers (who are most likely to be offered a good pension scheme) are currently not paying-in to their savings. Yes, I know that the word ‘pension’ conjures up very un-glam images of bus passes and hair nets, but these days, being financially prepared really isn’t reserved for grannies only! Although times are hard, it’s important to remember that retiring with a good standard of living should be one of your firm goals.
It’s not all bad news, though. Because by being pro-active, you can take control of your future…now. According to the experts at thisismoney.co.uk, the first step for girls in their twenties is clearing debts. Whether it’s a credit card, store card or student loan, work on clearing as much as you can. The next thing to do is open an ISA and pay into it only what you can afford (but be realistic). In our thirties, saving-savvy ladies should be joining a company pension policy, re-assessing our outgoings (cue: what do you mean my daily Latte isn’t an essential outgoing?!) and thinking long-term about investments (no, that Mulberry bag you’ve got your eye on doesn’t count.) I won’t scare you with your forties, yet, but there are plenty of options and tonnes of advice out there for ladies who want to be in control of their purses.
Think of your budget now… Then compare it with the gloomy £97.50-a-week that a state pension might offer you by the time you stop working. That roughly equates to the cost of your gym membership plus your phone bill, without rent, car payments, clothes and food. Not so glamorous, is it? So, next time you’re perusing the shoe section, perhaps skimp on investing in Jimmy and invest in your future, instead?