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If you're less than 10 years away from retiring then this section is for you.

As you get closer to making decisions about what to do with your pension pot, when to retire or even if you want to retire yet, it's important to firm up your plan. We've brought together a range of tools, information and support to help you start your colourful retirement.

There are five key areas to think about:

  • Think about your retirement goals and how they may change over time
  • Know where you stand today, taking stock of your money and plan your retirement budget
  • Learn about the options you have for accessing your pension pot and what your choices might mean for the tax you pay
  • Get impartial guidance and advice
  • Make it happen

Think about your retirement goals

Whether you already have a plan in place, or haven't thought about it yet. It's never too late to firm up your plan for your retirement and having a realistic vision of what this might look like is important.

If you're ready to start working on a solid plan, it may be useful to think about the different phases of your retirement in 5-10 year chunks starting from less than 10 years to retirement through to your later years to 20 years on from retirement.

How long do you think you'll spend in retirement? People tend to underestimate the length of their retirement, but research carried out by the Office for National Statistics in 2017 shows us that people are living longer now than ever before. A man aged 65 years in the UK can now expect to live, on average, to 85.6 and a woman of the same age to 87.8.

This means that your savings may need to last longer than you think.

Bearing in mind how long your money may need to last and how your life might change in your later years, you may need some help in later life such as finding care, writing a will or even taking up residence in a Legal & General retirement village.

If you've not yet thought about what your future might look like, you'll find some useful pointers in our picture your retirement section.

We've put together some ideas to get you started and help you create your retirement plan.

As you get older your needs may change. Thinking about this in advance could help make your later years just as colourful as the decades that came before.

If you're more than 10 years away from retirement, head over to our Go&Save section.

Know where you stand today

You'll need to take stock of what your retirement finances will look like to work out when you could retire and the lifestyle you'll have. It might be tempting to rush past this part, especially if some of the outcomes are uncomfortable but it's worth setting aside a full day to start thinking about the finances for your retirement, just to start building confidence, and to understand what you've got, or might need.

If you've got pension pots with previous employers, you can normally transfer them all into one plan. Keeping your pension savings in one place could make them easier to manage, cost you less and give you greater choice, but it might not be right for everyone.

You'll need to take stock of your retirement finances to work out when you could retire and the lifestyle you'll have. Complete some activities to create your retirement budget.

Keeping your pension savings in one place could make them easier to manage but it might not be right for everyone. Find out what to consider.

There may come a time when you need extra income to top up your pension or spend on something you need. Your home could be that source of income when you need it most.

Planning your retirement is probably the most important aspect of financial planning for you to consider. Our free course with The Open University will help.

Midlife can be busy, but it’s the ideal time to reflect on your wealth, work and wellbeing. Our new free course with The Open University will help.

Your options for accessing your pension pot and the tax you might pay

Choosing to take your money from your pension pot is one of life's big decisions. You've worked hard and paid in money over the years. You'll want to be sure you're making the right choice so that your future is secure.  

You can usually access your pension savings at your selected retirement age, or any time after age 55, whether or not you've stopped working. You may be able to access them earlier than this if your original scheme had a protected retirement age, or if you're in ill health. If you get close to your chosen retirement age and decide you don't want to take your money yet, you can also delay taking money from your pension pot.

You'll also need to think about what tax you might pay depending on the choices you make for your pension pot and other income you may have coming in.

If you're new to tax, you might find our short Income tax explained guide useful.

Choosing when and how to take money from your pot is one of life's big decisions. Find out the main ways you can take an income or lump sums from your pension pot.

Here we cover the basics of income tax and how tax might be paid on your pension income or savings interest.

Get impartial guidance and advice

Although we can help you think about what might be important for you, we'd recommend you receive personalised advice from a financial adviser.

Pension Wise is a government service from MoneyHelper that offers free, impartial guidance about your defined contribution pension options.

An appointment with Pension Wise is free and will help you understand what your overall financial situation will be when you retire. You can book an appointment once you are aged 50 or over.

You can also seek advice from an independent financial adviser. Advisers usually charge for their services. You may be able to pay for financial advice directly from your pension pot. Ask your financial adviser for details. 

Your employer may provide access to free or discounted financial advice as you approach retirement, so do check with them. Find an adviser in your local area at

Make it happen

Once you've done your research, thought through your plan and checked what's realistic - it may be time to go and have that colourful retirement you've worked so hard for.