Are you taking pension planning seriously?

Do you have grand plans for your retirement? And if so, are these plans financially feasible? They may seem like strange questions to ask lawyers still in their 30s, but chances are if you don't have any goals in mind, you're unlikely to be saving adequately to hit those targets.

Quality of life in retirement is obviously very important, as lawyers work very hard so they can provide for themselves and their families. But are you doing enough? Research by Wesleyan suggests the answer is no.

The financial services firm found that lawyers who wait until their mid-30s to start saving will have to set aside up to an extra £500 a month to play catch-up on those who take a proactive approach from day one.

Enjoying a comfortable retirement

Legal professionals estimate they need an annual income of £35,680 to live on during their retirement. But if they want to realise this ambition through buying a single life annuity at age 65, they will need a pension pot of £703,000.

This means a 25-year-old associate would have to save £700 a month - which equates to £8,400 a year - to make sure they reach their goal. However, this figures rises to £1,150 a month if you delay saving for ten years.

The statistics don't lie - lawyers who are failing to take retirement planning seriously from the get-go will put themselves under undue financial pressure in later years.

"We know from talking to our customers that many wish they had started saving earlier and starting younger is certainly the best way to build up a bigger retirement fund as your money has time to grow," said Samantha Porter, Wesleyan's group sales and marketing director.

The value of pension planning

Pension planning is understandably not the main priority for freshly-qualified lawyers, as many struggle with student debt and look to start making their way in the world. But the research underlines how important it is to put money aside throughout your career, rather than postponing it for later life.
Doing this, alongside seeking out the right financial advice, gives you the chance to balance your financial needs and make sure you are prepared for the future.

It's clear the vast majority of lawyers understand their predicament - nearly three-quarters (70 per cent) are worried they will not be able to adequately fund their retirement, while 79 per cent are not sure how big a pension they are on course to receive.

Perhaps surprisingly, only a fifth of lawyers are planning an early retirement - potentially because they have not given enough time to the prospect earlier in their careers - and 26 per cent think they will have to work past 65.

As Ms Porter points out, the secret to a successful retirement is planning ahead, as lawyers should "think about the kind of lifestyle they want in retirement and how much income they will need to finance that".
With the pensions environment undergoing major changes at the moment - from April 2015 savers over 55 can take a number of smaller lump sums - now is the perfect to review your retirement arrangements.