Kate Atkinson, NAHT specialist adviser, explains why it's never too early to explore the options available to you for your retirement, pension, well-being and employment.
The problem with pensions is that they are complicated, not particularly interesting and can often be put on the bottom of the 'to do' list when you're busy. This is particularly the case when you are paying into an occupational pension scheme such as the Teachers’ Pension Scheme, which is generally thought of as a 'good' pension scheme - if you’re paying in and can’t change it, why worry?
Despite being pushed to the bottom of the 'to do' list, it's likely that at the back of your mind you know you should be getting a handle on your pension and what it could mean in terms of retirement. The choices you make in the later stages of your career are as important, if not more important, than those you make at the beginning – taking control sooner rather than later is always the best approach.
There are a range of retirement options available to you, and if you aren't aware of them, you could fail to take advantage of what is, other than buying a house, the most significant financial decision you will ever make.
There are also some costly mistakes that can be made by not understanding how your pension works - avoiding these mistakes can make the difference between working for longer or being able to retire when you want.
Our course, 'Planning for the future; options for your retirement, pension, well-being and employment', has been designed to give you the tools to begin to make a plan for the later stage of your career and takes into consideration the technical aspects of the Teachers’ Pension Scheme and how it works. It also provides you with some ideas about your future in the wider sense; at the course, we will discuss ideas related to flexible working, phased retirement and methodologies to ensure you remain well enough to achieve your personal goals in the later stages of your career.
People often think this course deals with issues that you only need to consider at the very end of a career. That isn't the case. The earlier you begin to think about how and when you would like your career to end the more likely you are to be in a position to make that happen – please don’t wait until six months before you want to retire to take control because by then it's often too late!
First published 27 June 2018