Guidance on Getting the Finance Right

Helping You on Your First Steps

Retirement Planning: How to Get Started

Careful retirement planning, as far in advance as possible, is a key factor in making The Hawthorns all-inclusive, laidback lifestyle possible for the people that become part of it.

Living the reality of a vibrant, independent retirement in a luxury apartment within a thriving retirement village community at The Hawthorns is what we want to bring to life for you on our website.

But what do you need to think about first when working out what is right and possible for you when envisaging your retirement years?

Pensions and how to manage your pension pot is at the heart and start of retirement planning for most people. Each type of pension carries its own set of risks and benefits. Choosing the right options will depend on a variety of factors around you as an individual.

Government funded advice portals, such as those listed in our Resources box, provide information to introduce you to the world of retirement planning.

Finding the Right Financial Advice

However, to understand the different types of options and what is best for you as an individual, you will also need to talk to an Independent Financial Adviser (IFA).

The right advisor will be able to introduce you to the full range of financial options and issues around retirement planning. This would include your plans for any property you may have such as equity release, planning for any savings and investments, tax matters, and estate and wealth planning. They will also help you and your family to consider how you might pay for care in your older years, any potential funding for future care home fees, and funding for care in your own home. Your advisor will be able to discuss all of these matters with you, and advise you in a way that makes it all work together.

IFA’s will charge a fee for their service. However, many provide you with a free initial consultation.
Do not hesitate to take them up on this offer as it can be invaluable in terms of finding the right person to work with.

Independent Financial Advisors: qualifications

Always ask a potential IFA to evidence their qualifications before you start working with them.
They will need to have achieved a level 4 qualification in financial advice recognised by the Financial Conduct Authority.

These include:

  • Chartered Insurance Institute Diploma in Regulated Financial Planning
  • The London Institute of Banking & Finance Diploma for Financial Advisers
  • Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment Investment Advice Diploma

If you have a Defined Benefits pension, it is important to note that for an IFA to be able to be able to advise on transfers, they will need to be a recognised pension specialist. This includes taking qualifications which are higher than a Level 4.

If you are considering a defined benefit transfer, is strongly advised by the Financial Conduct Authority that you ask the advisor if they have this qualification.


One option for finding an IFA with assured skills to advise specifically on later life issues is SOLLA, the Society for Later Life Advisors.

They are a not-for-profit service which connects people to SOLLA financial advisors local to them.
SOLLA advisors, as well as having the essential professional qualifications also all have the additional Later Life Advisor accreditation. This means that they can be expected to give the practical help and guidance needed specifically for later life and retirement planning, and that they have a knowledge that includes all aspects of retirement planning, enabling them to be a one stop shop for retirement advice.

You can find out more about SOLLA and access their advisor-finding service by visiting the Society for Later Life Advisors website or calling 0333 2020 454.

Wrapping things up: protect your plans

Once you have a way forward with how you would like your retirement arranged, you may want to protect your plans and vision of how you want things to be.

As we get older, the likelihood of something happening that is not part of the plan becomes more prevalent, for example health issues.

Legal services exist that specialise in advising people in later life. They can fill you in on legal mechanisms that exist to protect what you have planned, and highlight to you any pitfalls that can come up, and how to avoid them if possible.

An option for sourcing services of this sort is SFE (Solicitors for The Elderly). SFE is a national association of independent lawyers who specialise in older client law. They are equipped to consider the mental and physical difficulties which can affect older and vulnerable clients and are aware of the health and social problems that people may face. You can find out more by visiting their website or by contacting them on 0844 567 6173.

Be Aware: Pension Scams

Pension scams do happen – and if you do end up transferring money into a scam, you could lose all your pension money as well as face a huge tax bill or additional fees.

Happily, there is a sure-fire way of working out if it is happening to you.

If someone contacts you out of the blue wanting to discuss a business or investment opportunity, a way for you to get access to your pension pot before retirement age, or ways for you to invest you pension money, be assured that it is a scam.

More advice on this plus what to do if you receive a call like this can be found on

Further Resources

Pension Wise: visit or call 0800 138 3944 to book a free appointment.

Money Advice Service: visit or call 0800 138 3944.

The Pensions Advisory Service: visit or call 0800 011 3797.

The UK government’s State Pension information and calculator and workplace and personal pensions information can be found at