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Dear Santa, For my retirement I’d like…

Updated 03 December 2020

3min read

Nick Green
Financial Journalist

The little ones have Father Christmas. What do we have? We make lists of what we’d like to do when we retire – but the only person who’ll deliver those gifts is us. Better start your tax wrapping now…


Being retired is a bit like being a kid again – you have a lot more time on your hands and potentially a lot to look forward to. But unlike children, we can’t just go to sleep and wait for the good things to come to us. That’s why we save our money in a tax wrapper – better known as a pension.

If your retirement were a Christmas stocking, what would be on your list? Here are some popular favourites (and not a tangerine in sight…)

Travelling and holidaysball-17079_640

Most of us would love to see the world, or to see it again if we travelled in our youth (but this time from somewhere comfortable without en suite cockroaches). According to research by unbiased.co.uk, more than 60 per cent of people cite travel as a retirement ambition. We’re assuming, of course, that we’ll be more solvent in later life than we were in our student days – but that won’t automatically be the case.

ball-17069_640Being the person you always wanted to be

How might you change once you no longer have to go into the office every day? Some might dub it the ‘late life crisis’, but there’s nothing to be ashamed of in cutting loose and rediscovering another you. We’ve already talked about this kind of retirement planning – all you need to discover a brand new life is an open mind (and a dependable income).

A desk that says ‘Boss’ on itball-17168_640

One of the ways you might reinvent yourself is as the director of your own business. Up to one in ten people plan to launch their own business venture in retirement, according to research by Royal London in their report, Pensions Through The Ages. Take a look at our article here to find out how you might join the ranks of the silver start-ups.

ball-17079_640That car…

…you’ve had your eye on since you were fifteen. Yes, it’s a cliché of pension freedom – the rash pensioner blowing his savings on a Lamborghini – but it’s true that nearly ten per cent of people near retirement do hanker after a head-turning set of wheels. Which is absolutely fine. Just so long as you don’t have to skimp on the housekeeping to pay for it.

Excitement and adventureball-17069_640

According to Royal London up to 12 per cent of people won’t be satisfied just with travelling – they’d like to try some death-defying action such as bungee-jumping and skydiving. There’s probably no better time of life to give it a go – just make sure that your insurance is in place and that your will is up to date!

ball-17168_640Keep working – on your own terms 

We talk about retirement as if work is a bad thing – but many people love their job and their co-workers and would be sad to leave it all behind. What we may not like about work is the lack of freedom and flexibility. But if you phase your retirement and move to part-time working rather than stopping completely, you can have the best of both worlds.

Leave a legacy for your familyshutterstock_335572196

Giving is better than receiving, right? Certainly 30 per cent of people in Royal London’s research thought so, stating that they wanted to leave a good inheritance for their loved ones. Pension freedom offers interesting new ways to do this, and there are also plenty of other tips you can try to minimise inheritance tax for your family.

We know Father Christmas is too busy bringing gifts to children to spare much time for us adults. The only Santa who’ll take care of you in later life is yourself – so now is the time to save. More than two-thirds of people approaching retirement don’t think they’ll have enough to fund their preferred lifestyle, but by seeking advice in good time (and not leaving it to the last minute, like the Christmas shopping) we can promise ourselves a long list of presents to look forward to.

Find a financial adviser who specialises in pension advice.


About the author
Nick Green is a financial journalist writing for Unbiased.co.uk, the site that has helped over 10 million people find financial, business and legal advice. Nick has been writing professionally on money and business topics for over 15 years, and has previously written for leading accountancy firms PKF and BDO.