Five sim­ple ques­tions to en­sure a happy and pros­per­ous retirement

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - CYPRUS - By Michael Do­herty

A long life is usu­ally con­sid­ered to be a blessing: a time to sit back, re­lax and – in the case of ex­pats liv­ing in Cyprus – en­joy your well-de­served mo­ment in the sun. But for many peo­ple who don’t prop­erly plan for their retirement, a long life can turn out to be some­thing of a curse.

De­spite the boom­ing lo­cal and global econ­omy, retirement con­fi­dence lev­els are still pretty low these days. This is due to a num­ber of fac­tors. We live in un­cer­tain times: Europe’s po­lit­i­cal land­scape is chang­ing, the cur­rent US Pres­i­dent reg­u­larly de­nounces long-time al­lies while lav­ish­ing praise of former foes, the UK hous­ing mar­ket is slow­ing and grow­ing un­cer­tainty over Brexit has weak­ened Sterling.

Brexit is of par­tic­u­lar con­cern for ex­pa­tri­ates in Cyprus. While it’s still likely some sort of deal will be com­pro­mised be­fore March 29, 2019 when Bri­tain is due to for­mally exit the EU, deep po­lit­i­cal divi­sions about how to leave the sin­gle mar­ket has made the dooms­day sce­nario of a ‘no deal’ Brexit a real pos­si­bil­ity.

With all this un­cer­tainty in the air, it has never been more im­por­tant to plan for your retirement. But in­stead of cob­bling to­gether un­re­al­is­tic fig­ures and pro­jec­tions for some far-flung date on a calendar, be­gin by ask­ing your­self these sim­ple ques­tions, the an­swers to which will have a pro­found ef­fect on how you want to live in the fu­ture:

What do I look for­ward to do­ing most when I re­tire?

Try to imag­ine what your ideal retirement will look like. It may seem sim­ple, but I’ve worked with far too many peo­ple who never took the time to re­ally think about what matters most when it came to plan their retirement. Think about the things you cur­rently love do­ing and would like to have the op­por­tu­nity to de­vote more of your time and re­sources to­ward. How of­ten do I plan to travel? Will I take on new hob­bies or recre­ational ac­tiv­i­ties that have some ex­penses as­so­ci­ated with them? Do I in­tend to spoil my grand­chil­dren rot­ten and put aside some ex­tra money for them?

How long will my retirement last?

The mil­lion-euro ques­tion and one I reg­u­larly ask my­self (and fre­quently ar­rive at dif­fer­ent an­swers, de­pend­ing on my mood!) It is not, of course, an easy ques­tion to an­swer, but the re­al­ity is that life ex­pectancy must play a ma­jor role in our retirement pro­jec­tions. The longer we live, the more we must put aside now to pay for our retirement.

The high life, or a sim­ple life?

It’s im­por­tant to con­sider what type of life­style you want to live when you do de­cide (or are forced) to stop work­ing. Some re­tirees look for­ward to tak­ing it eas­ier to re­duce ex­penses and em­brace the sim­ple life: grow your own veg­eta­bles, ride a bike, take long walks, read a good book. Oth­ers take a dif­fer­ent view and re­gard retirement as an op­por­tu­nity to do all the things they couldn’t do while they were chained to the of­fice: en­joy a long cruise, see the world, eat out more, ex­plore ex­pen­sive hob­bies.

Where will I live?

De­spite un­cer­tainty over Brexit, more and more cou­ples are choos­ing to fol­low their dream of re­tir­ing abroad. For many, Cyprus is a per­fect match: beau­ti­ful weather, low cost of liv­ing, low crime rate, wide­spread spo­ken English, mem­ber of the EU. There are var­i­ous tax is­sues ex­pa­tri­ates face when mov­ing to Cyprus, but with spe­cial­ist ad­vice from an in­de­pen­dent ad­viser you can make your money work for you and make the most of the op­por­tu­ni­ties avail­able to you.

Where can I find the best ad­vice?

When plan­ning for your retirement it’s im­por­tant to get the best ex­pert ad­vice there is. Al­ways take in­de­pen­dent fi­nan­cial ad­vice if you are un­sure, but make sure your ad­viser is fully reg­u­lated and fully li­censed. Wood­brook Group are ex­perts in this field. We of­fer a free pen­sion re­view, help­ing clients plan for the fu­ture. We can help you un­der­stand your op­tions, how to ad­dress your in­come needs in retirement and how much wealth you will need to sup­port it. Proper ad­vice is par­tic­u­larly im­por­tant for ex-pats since they are likely to have worked for em­ploy­ers in sev­eral coun­tries, mak­ing it harder to keep track of pen­sions.

Re­search shows more than a third of ex­pats have mis­placed their pen­sion pots. If you are in that un­for­tu­nate po­si­tion you should con­sult an in­de­pen­dent fi­nan­cial ad­viser with cross­bor­der knowl­edge.

Prepa­ra­tion is the key, but don’t wait un­til it’s too late. Ask your­self the im­por­tant ques­tions now: it’ll go a long way to­wards un­lock­ing the an­swers you need to en­joy a happy and pros­per­ous retirement. Michael Do­herty is CEO of the Wood­brook Group in Li­mas­sol, Tel.: +357 25272820 www.wood­brook­group.com con­tact@wood­brook­group.com

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