By Sarah Clarke, Lead Nurse in Critical Care

So, how old are you? Sarah Clarke shares her newfound knowledge on which questions to ask (well) before retirement.

Actually I don’t need to know how old you are! I just thought I would pass on some useful prompts and advice I gained recently regarding retirement. My daughter is about to go to University. Alongside the changing dynamics of family life that will bring come changing financial commitments.

So when the Intensive Care Society asked me if I would review a retirement seminar to see if it was suitable for a multi-professional audience I thought well why not? It can’t hurt to go and hear what is said even if I don’t expect to retire for a while.

I found myself, not unexpectedly, the only non-medic in the room listening to a representative from a financial planning company (and no, this is not a sales pitch). The others were all consultants working in critical care and also within a similar age range so we had a lot in common.

So what were we told? A lot of ‘common sense’, such as plan early and keep reviewing your plans as life circumstances change. Keep an eye on government policy changes. Annoyingly I am one of those unduly disadvantaged by the change in pension age – an extra 6 years for me!

Any idea what you want to spend your pension on – extreme sports perhaps?

Human Riding Motor and Jumped Under Blue Sky during Daytime

Exotic holidays, second home?

sea, beach, holiday

Or just keeping warm, eating well?

 Two Birds on Brown Tree Branch Macroshot Photography

Do you or a family member already have chronic health needs? What are you going to do with your time, and what resources are out there for you – socially and intellectually as well as economically?

So should you review your retirement plans? Categorically the answer to that must be yes. We work hard for our salaries, critical care is a stressful field and we should aim to make the best out of our later lives.

Ask yourself:

  1. How much is my pension going to be?
  1. When can I claim it?
  1. What is the ‘lifetime allowance’?
  1. What do the changes to lump sum rules mean for me?
  1. What effect will tax have?
  1. Does my employer facilitate ‘flexible’ retirement?

Where do you find this information if you don’t already know the answers?

There is a lot of help out there, starting with, and To find independent financial advice

Now of course comes the hard part, finding the time and motivation to follow up on my personal action points I made on the day! To adapt a cliché ‘it is never too early to start’.

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