Better together – tips for couples planning for their retirement

Open and honest joint financial planning is usually the best way for couples to achieve the financial future they want.

Whether it’s a stash of cash secretly squirreled away to help pay for the odd treat here and there, or a loan taken out years ago that's slowly being paid off, each year we find that couples are keeping millions of pounds worth of money or debt secret from one another.

Couples often think that the money secrets they keep are for the best. Some even say that they’re saving up secretly to pay for a surprise for their other half. However, the reality is that open and honest joint financial planning is usually the best way for couples to achieve the financial future they want. 

Our retirement income expert Vince Smith-Hughes shares his retirement planning top tips for couples.

It’s good to talk

Estimate what retirement income you will need and what your outgoings will be. Will they remain the same as they are now, or will you spend more on holidays and hobbies in retirement?

Work out what income in retirement you're likely to receive. For example, what income will your pension pots give you? You could also request a State Pension forecast from the Department for Work and Pensions.

Own up to hidden debts and secret stashes of savings and investments.

Plan for a long retirement – but also think about how you would both manage if one of you became ill or died.

Consider topping up pensions and ISAs and whose pot is best to top up.

Know your options

The retirement options you get from your pension provider might not be the best for you. It’s always worth comparing what you can get from other providers too, because you might be able to get a better deal. Pension Wise is a free and impartial guidance service offered by the Government to help you understand your retirement options. The service is available at, by phone on 0800 280 8880 or face-to-face by appointment.

Are there actions you could take to boost your pension pot?

Consider joining an employer’s pension scheme if this option is available to you – even if it’s only for a short time.

State Pension top up –  consider paying additional National Insurance contributions to boost your State Pension if you don’t have a full NIC record.

Take advantage of maximum possible tax relief on pension savings.

Think about sheltering your investments from tax where possible – pensions and ISAs can be a very tax-efficient way of doing this.

Make use of all available allowances and benefits you may be entitled to.

Think about how much of your savings you can't afford to lose and whether you want to take some investment risk with the rest.

Plan together

Consider seeking professional financial advice together as a couple.

Watch out for investment or pension scams.

Consider making a Will and whether leaving a financial legacy to loved ones is a priority.

Complete pension provider death benefit nominations so that your pension pot will be passed on to your loved ones.

Make sure you track down all pension and savings arrangements you may have accumulated and use the pension tracing service if needed.

Consider moving assets between parties to benefit from both personal allowances and the amount of tax-free income you can earn between you.

Use a retirement preparation checklist.

Consider how long either of you are prepared and able to keep working for – is part-time work or easing into retirement both physically and financially an option?

Consider whether you want to stay in your current property, or whether there are financial advantages to moving.

Please note that this is not financial advice and is for information only.

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