Benefits of Funeral Plans
Benefits of funeral plans
If you’ve worked your whole life, retirement can seem like an almost divine beacon, shimmering optimistically in the distance, promising freedom from the dreaded alarm clock. But all that free time can seem like a burden rather than a pleasure if you don’t have the financial security that you need.
Thankfully, planning for your retirement is not as difficult as it sounds, and certainly not if you begin early enough.If you know when you’re going to be giving up work, start thinking about your retirement sooner rather than later; the ideal period is at least one year before you finally make the leap.
Here’s a countdown to what you should be doing and when.
12 months to go….
It’s at this stage that you need to stop and take serious stock of your finances: realistically are you going to be able to cope on your pension income?
Take a look at the arrangements you have in place and get quotes for how much you are likely to receive from your pension funds. This will help you decide whether or not you’ll have sufficient income to lead a comfortable lifestyle. Remember: you don’t have to take your annuity from the pension provider with whom you’ve built up your fund. Shop around to find out which providers will offer you the best rates.
Do a lot of things in retirement, but also plan your funeral!
Not everyone can afford to go cruising around the world but if you’re not going to be able to afford to heat your home then you need a drastic rethink. Alternatives could include considering reducing your hours rather than retiring completely, or possibly getting a small part-time job after leaving your existing role.
While you’re still in employment you also need to think about any additional expenses which might be easier to meet now rather than later. Your funeral is probably the last thing you want to contemplate but it’s a good idea to put arrangements in place.A funeral plan allows you to not only organise what you want, but you can also pay for it in advance, fixing the rates at today’s prices. Funeral plans can be paid for in either instalments or as a lump sum so depending on how much you will be getting from your pension, now may be a good time to sort this out.
6 months to go…
Although six months may sound like a long time, by now you should be much closer to understanding what your finances will look like after you retire.
Your pension provider should have given you annuity quotes showing how much they will pay you. These quotes typically come with a huge pile of information and can be daunting. If you’re not sure what you are looking at and feel intimidated by the prospect of looking through it all yourself, an independent financial advisor will be able to help you.
You will have to pay for their services but they may be able to find you a far higher rate with an alternative pension provider, so in the long run you may still be better off. If your health isn’t great, you may be able to get an enhanced annuity rate. You don’t need to be critically ill in order to qualify; you can either ask your pension provider or a financial advisor to check this for you.
You may be keen to get everything sorted but don’t sign on the dotted line until you’ve done some research and made sure you really are getting the best deal.
3 months to go…
By this stage you should have receive quotes from all of your pension providers; if there’s any who haven’t been in touch, you should contact them now.
Quotes are only valid for a specified time so if you receive a really good offer you’re happy with; make sure you accept before it expires.
The literature you will have been sent should also have explained that you can take up to a quarter of your pension fund as a lump sum. How you spend this is entirely up to you; maybe you can enjoy that cruise after all!
With three months left on the countdown clock, it’s a good idea to start looking at receiving your state pension. The government website will provide you with all the information you need.
1 month to go…
By now all the arrangements should be in place for you to enjoy a hassle-free retirement. If you haven’t yet signed on the dotted line, you can check to see if annuity rates have improved since your last quote.
If you’ve decided to purchase a funeral plan with your pension lump sum, it’s a good time to start comparing what’s on offer. There’s a range of plans on the market covering everything from a basic, no-frills cremation to a top of the range luxury service. What you choose is entirely up to you, and that’s one of the biggest benefits of a funeral plan: you get to decide on what you want at your own funeral.