Don’t wait for “someday” to become “today”

Planning for your retirement is one of those things that’s easy to put off. When you’re in your thirties, retirement seems a whole lifetime away, and there are so many more immediate concerns in your life that it’s easy to say ‘I’ll get to it someday.’

But retirement planning isn’t something you do once and forget about. Done properly, it’s an ongoing, organic part of your life, something to which you’ll return again and again to ensure that everything is in place. After all, life isn’t static and neither are you, so why should your financial plans be?

Circumstances change. That home you bought might become too small or too big, too remote or too central. Your career might shift dramatically in an ever-changing marketplace. Your children might go to university or decide to travel. Then there’s the things that none of us wants to think about. Something which shifts your ability to work in your chosen career or even at all. Health is something we often take for granted when it’s good, and then regret doing so when it isn’t.

There’s no way of course, to prepare for every eventuality. But there are ways to make certain things easier. One of those ways is in arranging a Power of Attorney, which should be a standard part of all retirement planning. Whether it’s through a life-changing health condition or simple old age, there is always a chance that at some point in your life you may be unable, temporarily or permanently, to make your own coherent decisions, and will need someone to do so for you. If that happens, you want to know that your loved ones will be secure, and that the decisions being made on your behalf are being made by someone you trust to act in your best interests.

It may seem like something you don’t have to worry about now, but consider this story just last week in the Mail Online. Derek Draper is 53 years old, and Covid has left him on life support for over a year. It is unclear whether or to what extent he may recover. His wife, the television presenter Kate Garraway has told of the immense emotional toll the experience has taken on her and her family. ‘I have tried to sort of wake up from that and think about the future. But nobody can tell you what the future is.’

No matter who you are, how old you are and how successful you may be, life can shift in the span of a heartbeat. There’s no way of ensuring that this will never happen, but you can try to ensure that you’re as prepared as possible for if it does. At the worst, it’ll be the life preserver you didn’t need. And how many people expect the ship they’re on to sink?