Would you be prepared to retire now?

Strolling along a beach at sunset, with the waves lapping at the shore, hand in hand with your partner… is that how you see your retirement?

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When you think about it like that, makes it sound tempting to hand in your notice tomorrow, not wait a few decades. But could you afford to retire if you actually had to?

Unfortunately, two thirds of people are forced to retire earlier than planned*, mostly due to ill health or job loss. And many of these individuals can’t claim a government pension because they haven’t reached retirement age.

Having savings helps but with many of us living a lot longer than expected, it could really be a stretch making these last. Half of 60 year olds can now expect to live until they’re 90. That’s a long time to be relying on emergency reserves, especially if you’ve had to duck out of the rat race early.

“Taking independent financial advice could mean you’re £2,780 better off a year on average”

Last year, unbiased.co.uk and Standard Life’s research found that taking independent financial advice could leave people as much as £232 a month better off in retirement. People taking pension advice contribute more than one third more to their pension – £167 compared to £108 – than those who haven’t had taken professional advice, boosting their retirement income by more than £2,780 a year on average, or £232 a month. Access to extra cash like this allows you a bit of extra wiggle room should times become tough.

Starting early with your pension planning puts you in the best position for retirement. Using a resource like our cost of delay tool will help you to see how to maximise your retirement pot. After all, how you plan for your retirement is one of the biggest choices you can make and will affect you for the rest of your lifetime.

Retirement is a long journey with unforeseen costs and sometimes worrying twists and turns. Hopefully many of us will get to stroll down that sandy beach as the sun sets, but that involves crucial planning now to reap the rewards in later life.

Find a financial adviser to start planning for your twilight years and making sure you are prepared for any unexpected surprises.

*According to the Aegon Retirement Readiness survey