4 areas to plan for retirement

The word retirement conjures up different thoughts for each of us. Some think of growing old, others think of enjoying life in the sun. Some people think of the need to save money in pensions, others think of finally having that freedom from work and enjoying their financial freedom. Each view is valid, some just a bit more positive than others.

Our view is that retirement is a time to be enjoyed, the reward after many years of work. But like most stages in life, having a plan will help you make the very best of those retirement years, so here are four areas to plan that will help you achieve just that.

Everyday living

If your health is good, this is the most impactful area and is often the one in which the least attention is paid. What will you actually do every day? Yes, you might travel. But this will likely be for one or a few months of the year and maybe just for a couple of years. Yes, you might play golf, but hardly every day. And as someone recently asked a friend of mine who said he’ll play golf every day – what will you do with the rest of the day?

The bottom line here is that between working, commuting, and socialising around work, this likely took up maybe ten hours per day. That’s a lot of time to fill now… There’s a whole other article in how you might fill your time, but for now, we suggest that you just start thinking about how you are going to fill your days. It’s quite daunting but very exciting having all this time available to you. Pan to make the best of it. 

Staying healthy

We started the last section with, “If your health is good”. As we all know, so much of the quality of our retirement hinges on having good health. While some people are just plain unlucky in this regard and are afflicted by poor health through no fault of their own, most of us can have a positive impact on our health in our later years. Having a plan in this regard and the commitment to see it through will likely have an incredible impact on your quality of life. 

It starts with planning to fuel the body well. Eating and drinking healthily will improve your health, increase your energy levels and have you looking and feeling better about yourself. You’re not rushing out the door any more, grabbing whatever is handiest to eat. Committing to making that bit of extra effort to prepare healthy food will have a big impact. Who knows, you’ve run out of road now in terms of excuses of not having the time to do that cookery course! Maybe there’s a gourmet chef hidden inside you – now you’ve the time to find out…

And of course, there is exercise. Build positive habits, doing things you enjoy. Whether that walking, playing golf, sailing or going to the gym, build exercise into your routines. You’ll feel better, will have more energy and vitality and will maintain your physical abilities for longer. Also, there are endless articles from august publications online that explain how strength and resistance training help to prevent the onset of dementia in older people.

Exercise is key, so have a clear plan of what you will do and when you will do it.

Financing retirement

We’re just going to touch on this one, as we speak to all our clients all the time about the importance of pension planning. Having money in your latter years gives you more choices and a nicer standard of living. This takes planning to achieve. 

We help you to identify the life you want in retirement, and we’ll help you identify how much money you need to live that life. And then we’ll develop a financial plan to make that future life a reality through pension saving. Thankfully this task is made easier by the generous tax breaks available on pensions and the relatively generous state pensions that are payable in Ireland.

But financing the life you want won’t happen by magic. It takes a plan and then commitment over many years.

Leaving your legacy

OK, for some people this one sounds a bit morbid. But we don’t see it that way. Identifying the stamp you’re going to leave on the world, your community or your family around you and how you will share the fruits of your success is exciting and a really uplifting subject. What will you do and how will you do it?

For some people, it will be through their generosity of actions – this might be through charitable work, voluntary time given to a community or sporting organisation or simply through helping others. For other people, it might be through their financial generosity. Either way, they all leave positive memories behind them.

Again though, this requires planning. Without a plan, time will just slip away and good intentions will never happen. And without a plan, financial mistakes will happen and tax efficient opportunities will be missed, reducing your funds available.


Retirement is a time of life to be enjoyed. But to make the most of it, plan out each aspect of your life and then go and live your life to the full.



How to cut your upcoming tax bill

So here we are again, digging around for eligible receipts to reduce our upcoming tax bill. Sometimes in the rush to complete the tax return on time, valuable tax-saving opportunities are missed. So here are a few ways for you to reduce your upcoming bill.

Pension contributions attract marginal rate tax relief

Particularly if you are a higher rate tax payer, it really is hard to beat a pension contribution or an Additional Voluntary Contribution to your company pension scheme. Pension contributions are one of the few remaining routes to gaining tax relief at the higher rate of tax. Yes, it takes a payment to access the tax relief, but this is a down payment on your future lifestyle. Think of it as a tax efficient investment in your own future. It’s important too to remember that there are several tax breaks associated with pensions,

  1. Your contributions qualify for marginal (higher) rate tax relief within certain limits
  2. Your pension fund grows free of all taxes – no DIRT or Exit tax applies
  3. You can take a portion of your fund tax-free at retirement, with other tax mitigating strategies available in relation to the balance.

Make sure to claim all eligible medical expenses

Even though relief for medical expenses can only be claimed back at the standard income tax rate of 20%, this relief can really add up. Particularly if there is anyone in the house that is quite regularly unwell or has an ongoing medical condition. It’s important to remember here that you can claim on behalf of all your family members, and indeed in many cases where you are paying someone else’s expenses – for example costs incurred in the care of an elderly parent. 

Most expenses are covered including visits to your GP, consultant visits, prescriptions, and physio visits etc. Standard dental costs are not covered, but if you are having major work done such as root canal treatments or crowns, these are included. Check with your dentist, who will be able to guide you as to what is covered.

The process is really simple and from our experience, the best way to manage this is to upload the information and receipts on to the Revenue website throughout the year. This can be done in tandem with health insurance claims, leaving you without a time-consuming exercise as you come up to the tax deadline.

Working from home relief

Now that working from home is so commonplace, you need to understand your eligibility for tax relief on some expenses like light, heat, telephone and broadband. If your employer does not pay you an allowance for your expenses, you can claim relief when completing your tax return. Remote working relief is available for up to 30% of the cost of heating, electricity and broadband for the days spent working from home.

Bike to Work Scheme

This might be considered a bit of a discretionary purchase, but if you want or need a bicycle, make sure you buy it in a tax efficient way. Where your employer “provides” a bicycle and safety equipment for you, you can claim tax relief under the Bike to Work scheme up to the value of €1,250. This is a significant saving as you save tax at your marginal rate, PRSI and USC. Electric bikes that require some assistance from the cyclist also qualify, up to an increased amount of €1,500. And yes, you can qualify even if you are working from home fulltime and you’re not obliged to use the bike every day. You'll also hopefully get fitter in the process too...

And then there’s the rest…

There are numerous other reliefs and exemptions available, some of which may apply to you, so make yourself aware of all of the reliefs available. Whether you’ve kids in college, are renting out a room, you are taking a training course or are commuting on public transport to work, there are potential tax saving opportunities available to you. A little bit of preparation and carefully completing every section in the return just might help you to unlock some significant tax savings.


We all recognise that our taxes pay for our public services, and maybe a little grudgingly are happy to pay our fair share. But there are no awards handed out to people who don't avail of all of the reliefs and credits available. Now is the time to ensure you don't pay more than you need to for 2022.



So you want to invest in line with your values?

ESG Investing is here to stay. This is being driven firstly by a raft of new regulations and legislation coming from the EU around responsible investing, ensuring that investment managers consider carefully the ESG credentials of the assets in which they invest.


Make your future goals in life a reality

“It’s not just about the money” is a phrase I find myself using in nearly every client meeting these days. This stems from the evolution of the role of financial advisers and planners in recent years – a shift from focusing solely on a client’s money and investment returns achieved to a focus on the client as a person and what you want to achieve in your life. Our role today is to help you achieve your desired future life through careful and wise decision making in relation to all aspects of your finances.


Risks are a key feature of investing

When we’re designing an investment portfolio for our clients, we take into account quite a number of considerations. We start by understanding your investment goals and time horizons, and then we build a full understanding of your liquidity requirements, any asset class preferences that you might have and also the returns that you expect.


What can we learn from the past decade?

Do you remember 2013? It sounds quite recent, but then when you think about the major events that happened that year, they seem so long ago. That was the year that Nelson Mandela died at the age of 95, two homemade bombs ripped through the crowd of fans and runners at the Boston Marathon finish line, killing three and wounding nearly 300 others and Typhoon Haiyan killed over 6,000 people in the Philippines and south east Asia. It was also the year the word "selfie" became mainstream!


5 valuable financial tips to give to your children

Money management is a crucial skill that every child should learn at an early age. Learning how to manage finances is not just about budgeting and saving, but it’s also about building a healthy relationship with money. As parents, it’s our responsibility to teach our children about money and help them make wise financial decisions in the future. We’re going to set out five valuable lessons that you can give to your children about money.


Want to give €500,000 to your family tax free? Here's how...

Picture the scene – I hope it applies to you today or in the not-too-distant future… You’ve got to that point in your financial life where life is getting easier. Maybe the mortgage is paid off or almost there, and you are finally seeing your savings grow incrementally each year, even though you are doing most of the things that you want to do. You are finally seeing that after a nice holiday or two, socialising as you like and changing the car every couple of years, there is still some money left over.


Time to tighten the belt?

The cost-of-living crisis is starting to bite for lots of people. In the UK we’re seeing widespread strikes, and while thankfully this hasn’t been the case in Ireland, the current high inflation rate is starting to hit people hard in their wallets. Almost 80% of the population are worried about their finances due to the ongoing cost-of-living crisis, a recent survey commissioned by Aldi has shown. Essentials like food, electricity, gas and oil all saw prices skyrocket in 2022, leaving many Irish families struggling to cope with the hikes.


Financial planning in your 70's

In this final instalment of our age-related articles, it is now the turn of the more senior members of our communities – all of you in your 70’s and older. This group have some very specific financial challenges, so here are some thoughts on wisely managing your financial affairs.


Stay financially fit in 2023

As 2023 gets into full swing, we’re all receiving a constant stream of forecasts and predictions for the year ahead. We’re not going to add to them. At the end of the day, we don’t add any value by making bold guesses about the future, because our crystal ball is no clearer than anyone else’s.


How much is enough?

A conversation that often arises with clients is around how much is enough. Everyone is different and has unique wants and needs in life, most of which come with a financial price tag. If someone could wave a magic wand and guarantee each of your wants and needs in life, would that be enough for you?



Financial planning in your 60's

This month it’s time for the latest in our series of age related articles – welcome to the world of the sixty-somethings! As you (potentially) approach the end of your working life, you are at a really important stage in your financial life. We hope to give you some food for thought to ensure you make the wisest financial decisions to see you through the next phase of your life.



Why everyone needs income protection

Let's face it, Income Protection is somewhat of a grudge purchase. While it still enjoys the benefit of tax relief at your marginal (highest) rate, it’s another household expense that none of us enjoy paying. After all, you’re paying for a benefit that you hope you never collect... 



Financial planning in your 50's

This is the latest in our series of articles that consider the financial challenges for clients at a specific stage in life. This time we’re looking at people who are in their 50’s. This is a really important stage in your financial life as it is often the time in life of maximum income and the greatest opportunity to really build your wealth.


Financial planning in your 40's

In our last newsletter, we wrote about what's important financially for people in their 30s. We got quite a few comments about this piece and some requests to set out the financial priorities for people in their 40s. So here goes...


Keep control of your lifestyle

For a lot of people as they enter their forties, the financial pressure starts to ease a bit. As a result of career progression and increased earnings, the bills (in particular the mortgage repayments) don’t look quite so daunting any more. And this is when people’s lifestyles can run out of control. Rather than putting their increased wealth to good use, they simply grow their lifestyle until this becomes the new “norm”. And as a result, that hard earned extra income ends up delivering zero impact to your long-term financial health. Put that extra wealth to good use. 


Stay vigilant with debt

Debt costs have been very low in recent years, with base interest rates around the 0% mark. However this situation is changing - we saw last week the first rate increase by the ECB in more than a decade. One of the challenges caused by low interest rates is that people can become a little complacent about debt, thinking it will always be cheap. Be very prudent about taking on new debt, and stress-test your finances carefully against the impact of rising interest rates. Do you really need to take on debt for home improvements, or for a fancy new car? Does it make more sense to save first and spend later?


Think carefully about home improvements

We’ve seen a number of examples of people with the back broken on their mortgage, and then deciding that it’s time to almost re-build the house. The rationale is usually around higher income levels making this possible, and also because the kids need more space – don’t they? This may well make sense, just be clear that the it’s hard to recoup money spent on your house as it usually isn’t fully reflected in future valuations. Also think past the next 5-10 years – will you want a bigger house when the kids decide it’s time to move on? Yes, make your house more comfortable and enjoyable to live in, but don't spend money unnecessarily on it. Oh, and best of luck trying to get a builder at the moment!


How's your emergency fund?

Maybe you were very forward-thinking years ago, listened to the advice and built a nice “rainy day” fund. Now’s the time to take a good, hard look at it. A fund built up a few years ago may be quite inadequate today. Do you need to add to this to cover your current level of expenses?


These are the golden years for building a nice lifestyle in retirement

These are often the critical years for retirement savings. You now have the financial firepower to really accelerate your retirement funding, and you also still have the time on your side to benefit from the magic of future compound interest. So make these years the high impact years in your retirement savings. Look to avail as much as possible of the generous tax reliefs on offer for pension contributions. 


How are your parents' finances?

One big challenge facing families today is the multi-generational impact on financial plans, it’s not enough to plan solely for your own future. Quite often, we see parents playing an important role in helping their children with significant deposits to enable them to get on the home ownership ladder or to remain in full-time education for longer than might have been expected. And as we see older people living longer and having more complex and expensive care needs later in life, the burden of financing this support can sometimes fall on the family. Does your financial plan take account of these costs?


It might be time to consider starting to transfer your wealth

Depending on your specific financial situation, now might well be the time to really start looking at the future transfer of your wealth. If you have significant assets to pass on eventually and as we've outlined in our other article this month, these can be seriously eroded by our penal inheritance tax environment. Planning for this a long time in advance will allow us to develop financial strategies that will enable you to significantly reduce this tax burden, ensuring your assets go mainly to your loved ones and not to the taxman. 


Your 40s are hopefully great years... Manage them wisely and you can establish a really strong financial foundation for the rest of your life.  


What's important financially, when in your 30's

This is the first in a series of articles that will be aimed at people at different stages of life. Today we're starting with those in their younger more carefree years, but probably with an eye on financial planning - the 30 somethings! For this group there are lots of competing priorities – a house to be bought, maybe a wedding to be celebrated or a family to be started. And these also don’t take into account the holidays, cars and social life that are there to be enjoyed too... So here are our thoughts on some of the important financial challenges facing this group.



Claims sit at the heart of what we do

We await with interest each year the claims statistics from the leading protection providers in the Irish market. Irish Life annually issue very insightful and detailed information about their claims (as do other providers), and we’ve taken the opportunity to dig a little into the claims data from their Retail division for 2021. 



It’s not only The Tinder Swindler who will try to scam you

There’s been a lot of media talk over the last few weeks following the recent release of The Tinder Swindler on Netflix. How did these educated, smart women fall for the charms of Simon Leviev and end up giving him hundreds of thousands of euros? Unfortunately, it happens. Attempted scams are happening in different ways every day of the week now, and the key is to have your radar up and be naturally suspicious of any interaction with your money and a third party.



Beware your Investment Biases

We wrote in January about “Staying out of your own way”, a piece that resonated with a lot of people in these volatile investment markets. In this article, we spoke about how managing our own behaviours is the single factor that will probably have the greatest impact on our investment success.



Stay out of your own way

We’ve seen quite a lot of volatility in investment markets in recent months and while many analysts are forecasting single digit growth in 2022, there is also a sense that markets will continue to be volatile. Covid is still lingering, the US & China are having their differences over trade and Brexit issues remain unresolved.


Focus on the big picture

Let’s make it a real resolution in 2022 to focus together on the big picture when it comes to your finances. All too often, it can be very easy to be dragged down into weeds – in our world that’s the (very important too) world of products, funds and fund managers. Don’t get us wrong, these really matter and need to be discussed, but never at the expense of discussing the bigger picture.


What are your financial needs now?

We spend our days helping clients to plan their financial futures. What we see is that people face similar challenges depending on their stage of life. At the same time of course, each and every one of us has a unique set of circumstances, has our own specific financial objectives and needs bespoke advice to help us reach our goals. 


How's life?

No, no, no – really how’s life? We’re not saying this just as a polite greeting, but instead are asking this as many people have become a bit more reflective after the pandemic, as we’ve all seen how our lives can be totally upended by something completely from left field. Unfortunately, a small number of our clients were (and one or two continue to be) quite sick from covid and we know people who also suffered bereavement because of the wretched virus. These people have unsurprisingly been reflecting on their new circumstances.


How will you reduce your tax bill?

Tax is a necessary evil. If we want to live in a country with access to public services, taxation is the system used to pay for these services. We can (and do!) argue and moan about the different levels of tax payable and whether they are levied fairly. But at the end of the day, the money to be used for public services has to be collected somewhere.


Is it time to get your money off deposit?

Are we finally getting back to normal? It’s great to see people out and about again as the country eases itself out of lockdown. And for all of those retail businesses that were forced to close their doors, the early signs are good with the example of footfall on Grafton Street back to approx. 90% of the pre-pandemic levels.  


Life Events we can help you plan for

Find out how well your finances match your lifestyle needs