Budgeting helps you see how much you have left to play with when you've paid for all life's necessities.
You probably budget now, allocating some of your money to pay bills, some to buy food, some on entertaining yourself throughout the month. You may have fewer expenses when you retire, but you're likely to be getting by on less money too. Even when you retire, it's still worth budgeting to make sure that you don't run out of money half way through the month.
Usually, your expenses during your retirement fall into the same categories as when you were working. It's possible that you'll spend less on travel and things like sandwiches and coffee when you're not working, but there are plenty of other things to spend money on.
Even if you've paid off your mortgage, you'll still have to cover your utility bills, weekly shopping bills, car and home insurance, credit card bills and so on. You'll also have more time on your hands to go out and spend your money once you're retired. And everyone likes to buy those little treats that can make your day: a magazine subscription, a nice bottle of wine or whatever takes your fancy.
We've got a budget calculator to help you see how much you spend each month. You can use it to help focus your mind on where you can make savings and how much you need to put by for essentials. It's quick and easy to use and an ideal place to start if you want some help budgeting.
One of the first things you need to know when planning for retirement, is how much income you could get.
In the 2014 Budget, the Chancellor announced changes that affect the options open to you if you're planning to retire in the next 12 months. You should understand these changes before making any decisions about your retirement.
Use My Retirement Planner to assess the estimated future value of your personal pension plans and how much income they may provide you with in retirement.
Once you hit state pension age, it's likely that you'll be entitled to a pension from the government. You may also be eligible for other benefits. Visit www.gov.uk to find out what you could get.
If you think you haven't got enough in your pension fund to retire, don't worry too much. There are things you can do. Read some of our ideas.
Even the best laid plans don't always come to fruition. Illness, bereavement and divorce can all have a major impact on your life. Find out how to cope if your circumstances change during your retirement.
This is the age at which you can begin to claim your state pension if you're entitled to one. State pension age can vary depending on your gender and when you were born. Visit https://www.gov.uk/calculate-state-pension to find out if and when you will be eligible for the state pension.
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