Q It’s my 50th birthday soon and I’ve been working hard in various jobs for almost 35 years. I want to be in a position to retire by the time I’m 60. How can I make sure that can happen?

A This answer is a long one. I’ll send you a list of the information required for me to answer in detail, but I can provide some generic advice and information here in the meantime.

While many dream of giving up work well before the normal retirement age, early retirement may not be as blissful as people expect. People often underestimate the amount of money they need to have saved up for retirement.

There’s an old saying in the insurance business: “The difference between an old man and a retired gentleman is a good pension.” It’s not wrong.

When it comes to pension planning, it’s all about ‘minding the gap’. Knowing what you currently have, what you need at the other end and filling in the gap while you are still earning can only work if you begin early enough.

As a first step, I’ve worked out how many pay days you have left until your proposed retirement age of 60. As you are paid monthly, there are just 120 pay days left. Shocking, isn’t it? Even if you were 45, you’d only have 240 monthly pay cheques left.

When I hear people say they ‘can’t afford’ a pension, I always wonder how they can afford not to have one. Living off the State is nobody’s dream. It’s never enough, and yet we have one of the most generous pension payments in Europe. At just €265.30 a week (€13,795.60 per annum), that’s the maximum rate for someone who has made all their PRSI contributions.

These three steps are a good place to start:


  1. Most of us will retire with a variety of pensions as we don’t tend to work in one job all our lives.
  2. Work out what you need to survive, not as a pensioner, but as a retiree. What are your plans on how to pass your time?
  3. Talk to a financial broker once you’ve collated your data, and they’ll calculate what you need to start paying to bridge the gap between what you have and what you want. They’ll tell you not only what’s there, but what it will buy you when you retire.

You may decide to, or be forced, to continue working past pension age. After all, retiring isn’t for everyone.

This article aims to give information, not advice. Always do your own research and/or seek out advice from a Financial Broker before acting on anything contained in this article.

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