We can all be a little guilty of just living for each day. We get told to do that all the time, don’t we? ‘Life is too short’, ‘live for the moment’ … it can often feel like we are doing the wrong thing, planning so far ahead, because we have no idea what curveballs life may throw at us. However, it isn’t always going to feel wrong to spend a little time considering your options, for that time when life will change once more. Leaving your employment and retiring is a tough phase to go through; some will embrace the change, while others may find it difficult to adapt.

Right now you might be thinking of those weekend plans. Meeting up for that weekly catch up with your friends or selecting a new restaurant to eat in. Maybe you can’t think further than next week’s deadline for a project at uni or work, or perhaps beyond wedding planning or starting a family. That is completely understandable.

Living for the moment or not thinking too far ahead means you make the most of the here and now. But before long, you will find that you are getting older, wiser, and retirement will hit you square in the face. What next? The truth is, the sooner you start thinking about it the better off you will be. Often the decisions you put in place today can mean you don’t need to spend time in the future thinking about it.

This is why I thought I would share with you some of the the things you can start to think about, plan for, and even pay towards right now. Hopefully, some of these things will help you better prepare for a different phase in your life, enabling you to feel secure right now, and carry on enjoying living in the moment.

You need to start considering your finances

Your financial situation as you get older is possibly one of the most important things to prepare for right now. After all, once you leave your job and retire, what money will help afford you the lifestyle you want? How will bills get paid? Here are some of the things you can start to think about and prepare for now, enabling you to continue and enjoy your lifestyle in later years.

Buying or investing in property

One of the big things anyone can do in their life is buy a property. It will be one of the most expensive purchases you ever make, but it could also be a worthy investment for the future. Getting on to the property ladder may seem daunting right now, but doing so can help you take that leap further into the future. People tend to start off with their starter home and then work their way up. Ending up with a home that has no mortgage on it can be quite valuable in terms of what it is worth. Property can then be a great nest egg for your retirement. People consider selling and downsizing, for ease as well as releasing some of the equity and value as a cash lump sum. Others prefer to stay in their family home and just speak with organisations about equity release so that you can enjoy the best of both worlds.

You could also invest in additional property. A lot of people consider using property as a way to fund their retirement in the future. Buying and selling properties that have had work or been renovated is one way. Another, is keeping properties on a portfolio to rent out so that come the end of their working life, you have a fair few properties that are worth something. These can either continue to supplement your income through rent or be sold so that cash balances can be used to live off.

Retirement: Should you start thinking about it in your 20s?Getting to grips with pensions

Do you know all there is to know about pensions? Possibly not. They can be quite confusing. Who wants to think about paying into a pension fund when there are holidays to pay for and plan, weddings, family. I totally get it. But, pensions can also be an essential way to fund your retirement.

In the UK, most employers now have to offer a workplace pension. This is something that not only you as an employee pay into, but so does your employer. It can be quite a minimal amount, and it is normally taken from your monthly wage so that you don’t even miss it.

Others like to consider alternative options when it comes to pensions. After all, relying on just the state and the workplace pension may not afford you the lifestyle you want when you retire.This is where private pensions can be quite lucrative, and are definitely worth thinking about. There are even pensions for people who are classed as expatriates, or perhaps living abroad but still seen as British citizens. QNUPS pensions which is aimed at UK expatriates can help relieve some of the tax implications that could arise.

Pensions are a great way to fund your lifestyle, but the truth is, if you start early by paying and investing into them, the better off you will be in the future. It is definitely worth doing.

Increasing your disposable income to save

Not all of us are blessed with abundant disposable income that can be put towards savings. Often, what we do have left is usually used towards things we need right now or in the near future, perhaps a holiday or birthday and Christmas presents. However, saving any extra income you have could help towards your future plans. While you can’t always increase what you earn in wages, you can be proactive in your means for securing extra money each month.

Clearing out your home regularly of things you no longer want or need is a great way to boost your income. You can then utilise websites like eBay to earn a bit extra, while keeping your home in a neat and tidy condition. Things like mystery shopping and filling out surveys are also popular options for people looking to boost their income while still working.

Do you know where you want to end up?

Have you ever stopped for a few minutes and wondered what life is going to be like in the future? Where you might be? What you might be doing? It may seem like all that is too far ahead, but time moves a lot quicker than we expect. Sure you may have decided you want a family, want to travel and see the world, or simply slow down and enjoy some of the hobbies you don’t have much time for in your daily life right now. However, taking those crucial minutes to decide on how you want to spend your time can also help you plan to ensure you get there. So here are some of the things you can start thinking about.

How will you spend your time?

First of all, how do you want to spend your later years in life? Many people see retirement as their chance to tick off places on their bucket list. That destination list you mentally store in your mind over the years of the places you want to visit and the experiences you want to have. Retirement means you have the time, and hopefully the finances, to make that happen. People consider places far fetched such as Australia or New Zealand, maybe touring parts of Asia or even having an all- American road trip.

Of course, travel isn’t for everyone, so you may want to think about other things you can do with your time. Perhaps you want to take up some hobbies you haven’t had time to enjoy while working. Maybe you want to learn something new. Doing this gets you out of the house and socialising. We forget that retirement takes away those lunch breaks where you socialise with work colleagues, and you may end up spending more time on your own. So having somewhere to be and a chance to talk to like-minded individuals could be right up your street. It can actually be quite a nice thing to think about, and certainly helps you put actions and plans into place now to help you achieve what you want in the future.

Retirement: Should you start thinking about it in your 20s?Do you want the possibility of remaining independent for as long as possible?

Retirement isn’t always going to be rosy. There could be some major decisions you need to make in terms of your health at some point. Getting older often means that your health might start to deteriorate, no matter how well you have looked after yourself. Living independently might be exactly what you want, but you may also need to consider how you might be able to do that. Placing money aside in advance to help adapt your home could be the ideal solution, allowing you to still live in the home you love. You may also need to think of the possibility of a care home or nursing home at some stage. Of course, no one wants to consider this, but it might be a harsh reality. Again, savings or investment put to one side can help ease any financial burdens.

It might seem like a tough thing to think about, and a heck of a lot of plans to make, but actually it doesn’t take you much time at all. Investing some time now could mean that you won’t have to think about some of the harder stuff like finances again, because the plans and provisions will have already been put in place.

I hope this helps you to make some concrete plans, and feel reassured that when retirement does come you are ready to enjoy the new chapter in your life.