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It's important that you plan your retirement well ahead of the actual date you expect to retire. There are different options for when you can draw from state-provided pension funds and other fund you may have built up. However, the best date for retirement will depend on a number of factors such as your current financial situation, the level of income you need to live off after retirement and the impact on your pension funds depending on whether you retire earlier or later than the state pension age.

The Money Advice Service has created a checklist for preparing for your retirement. They recommend starting to plan around two years before you wish to retire.

Your state pension age will vary depending on your date of birth and whether you are a man or woman. You can check your state pension age using the tool on the Gov.uk website.

Other useful guides and tools include:

State pension and pension-related benefits

The State Pension gives you a regular income - how much you receive is based on your National Insurance contributions during your working life. You can request a statement of how much state pension you should receive by using the online form on the Gov.uk website.

You won’t automatically receive your pension and you can decide to take your pension after your state pension age ('deferring') which can increase the pension payments you receive later in life. If you do wish to claim at your state pension age or after, you can do this online via the Gov.uk website.

Should If you have not have heard anything about claiming your pension in the three months prior to reaching state pension age, contact the Pension Service on 0800 731 7898.

If your circumstances mean that your weekly income after retirement is below £155.60 (for single people) or £237.55 (for couples), then you may be eligible for Pension Credit payments to top up your income. Visit the Gov.uk website for more information about how to apply.

You may also receive additional income from workplace or private pensions and other funds built up during your working life. If you don't have the details of a pension scheme you believe you've paid into before, you can request contact details through the Gov.uk website.

If you are struggling financially on your income, contact us to talk to one of our money advisers.

Looking after yourself in retirement

Retirement can be a great time to focus on yourself and change your priorities. If you're looking for ideas for staying active, using your experience and learning new things have a look at the links below:

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