Extending your retirement income: what to do if your pension isn’t making ends meet

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There’s no point sugar coating it: retirement can be difficult for a lot of people.

It doesn’t matter how hard you work to save throughout your life, the fact remains that for many, retirement can coincide with a dramatic drop in income. But while things can be tricky, they certainly aren’t hopeless. There are a range of options that you can consider if the pension simply isn’t covering your living costs.  

See if you can work your pension harder 

Make sure you’re taking advantage of free advice available from groups such as the Pension Advisory Service. This is designed to provide sensible support for average people, and means that you don’t need to spend out on a costly financial adviser to get information about your pension. They can help you make choices that will maximise the income from a pension pot. This is a good option if you have a reasonably substantial pension pot, but you’re worried about making it last.    

Return to the workforce 

The so-called ‘gig economy’ means that there are more options than ever for people who want to make extra money without entering full-time employment. Just as young adults supplement their income with freelance roles, so too can any retiree with a skill to share. If you’re highly experienced in a specific field then you might want to consider consultancy or tutoring. There are even roles opening up coaching freelancers within specific industries. This type of work can also help you to avoid age discrimination, as there’s often no need to give up personal details about yourself when applying for a freelance role.  

Consider releasing equity from your home 

If you own your own home then this could be a source of money, too. One option is downsizing, but if you’re keen to stay put then there’s also equity release to consider. Money is ‘released’ from your home in the form of tax free cash, and can be taken either as regular income or a cash lump sum. This is a loan secured against your home, usually repaid after you (and your partner if applicable) have died or moved into long-term care. Equity release providers are able to give you an indication of how much would be available to release from your home, as well as more information about how the loans work. You’d need to get professional advice before going ahead.  

Understand your benefit entitlement 

According to information from charity Age UK, a lot of pensioners don’t claim the benefits that they’re entitled to. This could mean missing out on a valuable source of income. The Age UK site explains what benefits are available, who might be able to claim them and how to go about it. They also provide a ‘benefits check’ calculator to quickly indicate your potential entitlement.  

 

 

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