Failing To Prepare Is Preparing To Fail


It’s unlikely Benjamin Franklin’s famous quote was a reference to financial planning. But let’s pretend for a moment that it was, in which case he was spot on.

Do you know how much money you’ll need in retirement? If the answer is no, you’re not alone. Research shows that 77%*of savers in the UK are in the same position.

It’s a club you don’t want to belong to, but it’s a statistic that doesn’t surprise Felix Flower of Pinnacle.

“The question I’m most commonly asked by clients is how will they know if they’ve saved enough to live life comfortably when they’re older?”, says Felix.

“Often, they’ll worry that their peers – their friends and work colleagues – are doing more to get their finances into shape for later life. What will their retirement look like? How often will they be going on expensive holidays? How often will they change their car? Will they be able to go out for dinner as many times as they want?”

For too many people, the ‘have I done enough?’ question is never answered. Instead of having that clarity, they will often just squirrel away what money they can and hope for the best.

Felix and the rest of the Pinnacle team believe passionately that it doesn’t need to be that way. “At the core of our approach to financial planning is the need to really get people thinking about what they want to achieve in life,” explains Felix. “Only when you understand that can you begin to work out how much money you need. Our LifePlan tool encourages people to identify those specific goals. They could be plans for houses, holidays and cars. But it could also be early retirement, the desire to give financial help to children and grandchildren, or the legacy you want to leave them.”

The LifePlan then puts in place the strategies and actions needed to help make those plans a reality. “Having plans, and a clear picture of how you’re going to achieve them, gives our clients a real focus and peace of mind”, adds Felix.

Visualising what you want to do in later life is something you can do at any age. But when you’re in your 20s and early 30s, retirement can feel too far away to worry about. And there are other financial priorities. “At that stage in life, a sensible mantra is to save as much as you can as soon as you can, to give your money as long as possible to grow,” adds Felix.

In Felix’s experience, it’s when clients get into their 40s that they begin to focus on what the future will look like. And they worry they may have left it too late to create the future they really want.

The Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association has done some useful work looking at retirement living standards, helping give people a real sense of what they will be doing and how they could be spending their money when they finish work.

The research suggests that a moderate standard of living requires couples to have an annual income of £34,000. A comfortable lifestyle, that allows you to be more spontaneous with your money, needs £55,000 a year. These numbers are slightly higher for London.

These figures are a useful guide, believes Felix, but they are no substitute for having a clear picture of what you want your life to look like, and a structured plan to get there….

*Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association, Retirement Living Standards – January 2023.

Pinnacle Wealth Management LLP is an Appointed Representative of and represents only St. James’s Place Wealth Management Plc (which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority) for the purpose of advising solely on the Group’s wealth management products and services, more details of which are set out on the Group’s website at The `St. James’s Place Partnership’ and the titles `Partner’ and Partner Practice are marketing terms used to describe St. James’s Place representatives.

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