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Retirement planning

This is a guide for RCN members who are approaching retirement. It covers financial, health and social considerations.


Planning for retirement may seem an irrelevance to many or scary to some. It may mean considering your financial future, but it can also include assessing your hopes and aspirations for the future. It is important for younger generations as well as those in the later stages of their working life, albeit in different ways. It is important to remember that retirement is just a new chapter in your “life book” and is not a completely new book.

The first task of retirement planning is to examine what you consider to be the key elements of a successful, happy retirement. You may find it difficult to envisage your life that far in the future – so you may find it easier to ask what parts of your working life you most enjoy. This may be friendship and stimulating mental activity – in which case you need to build these into your retirement plan.

Another way of looking at things can be to consider what you think you will miss about work. If the only answer you can find is “money” and “someone to have a chat with over a cup of tea”, again, you need to build these into your retirement plan.

Everyone’s approach to retirement planning is different, as everyone has different, personal priorities for their later life. However, some key issues seem to be common to all:

  • finances - what income will you have to live off?
  • health - how will you maintain it, or deal with impairments or disabilities?
  • interests and activities - how will you keep active (physically and/or mentally) and have a purpose in life?
  • relationships/family/social networks - how will these be affected by the change in lifestyle?
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Consider your finances

Questions to consider are:

  • What pensions and/or benefits will I be entitled to?
  • How much will they be?
  • Will I get a lump sum? And what should I do with it?
  • Will it be enough?
  • What else can I claim?
  • What if that’s still not enough?
  • How can I address any imbalance?

Resources that may help:

Search for an Independent Financial Adviser at

Lighthouse Financial Advice provides Independent financial advice to RCN members.

Online forecast generators are available at and

Income and Expenditure planners – many are available online e.g

If you are approaching retirement and feel that your income will not cover even your basic day to day living costs, you may wish to talk to an RCN Welfare Adviser who will be able to advise whether you qualify for any state top-up benefits such as Pensions Credit or help with rent and/or council tax.

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Consider you health

Questions to consider are:

  • What are my main concerns?
  • What health promotion support can I get?
  • How can I stay fit and healthy?

Resources that may help:

NHS Choices

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Consider your interests and activities

Questions to consider are:

  • What do I want to do with my time?
  • What are my interest/passions?
  • What local activities might I want to be involved in?
  • Do I want to work again?
  • What about voluntary work?
  • How can I stop myself getting bored?
  • Do I want to consider further employment?

Resources that may help: 

University of the third age -

There are recruitment agencies that specialise in placing older workers e.g

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Consider your relationship and social networks

Questions to consider are:

  • How might my significant relationship be affected by my not working/working differently?
  • Will I get the contact with other people that I need?
  • How will my social networks support me?
  • What can I offer to them?
  • Do I want to move house to be nearer to family – or further away?

Resources that may help

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Further information

The following books are available from the RCN Library: The Good Non Retirement Guide 2009: Everything You Need to Know About Health, Property, Investment, Leisure, Work, Pensions and Tax (Paperback) by Frances Kay (Author, Editor).

Finance Your Retirement: A Complete Guide to Spending, Saving and Making the Most of Your Pension (Paperback) by Jonquil Lowe (Author).


The RCN can support you with retirement planning. The Welfare Rights and Guidance team can assist with income maximisation and benefit checks. Call us for more information.

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Call the RCN on: 03457726100

Page last updated - 25/01/2018