Pension Planning in Ireland
Starting anything new can be challenging when it’s easier stay as you are.
However, inertia can be costly when it comes to pensions because the earlier you start the more your money will make from compounding returns.
But the process of starting a pension can feel like a mysterious event for a lot of people so this article aims to lift the lid by outlining the simple steps involved.
Step 1: Understand Exactly How a Pension Works For You
The type of pension products available to you, and your specific funding options, depend on whether you’re a company director, self employed, sole trader or PAYE employee.
Step 2: Meet With an Advisor
The next step is to book a discovery meeting with a financial advisor to get clarity around your future lifestyle goals.
This meeting is important because you’ll be deciding if this advisor is right for you, someone you can trust and work with long-term.
You can click here if you would like to book a free consultation.
Step 3: Complete a Fact-Finding Process
This exercise identifies where your unique financial planning needs emerge.
Investing the time in this process is worthwhile because it means your plan can be as closely tailored to your needs as possible.
Step 4: Assess Your Tolerance For Risk
Pension funds invest in a myriad of assets like stocks, bonds, property, commodities, and currencies, therefore a risk profile must be carried out.
A risk profile questionnaire has 15 to 20 multiple-choice questions which will assign a relevant risk tolerance score.
Risk and return are intrinsically linked so part of the discussion will involve the risks you deem acceptable to reach your goals.
Step 5: Select an Appropriate Investment Strategy
The way you invest your money will be influenced through a combination of your risk profile and personal preferences.
In general, you can choose between the following 3 options;
- Passive investing: Most people are happy enough to invest in low cost, index-tracking funds or ETF’s. This is the most popular way to participate in the markets since you just select a fund or range of funds to track the ups and downs of various indices.
- Active investing: This option uses fund managers to beat the market and tends to cost a bit more since you’re utilising the research and management expertise of a professional money manager to make investment decisions on your behalf.
- Self-directed investing: This is the most suitable option for those who have the time, interest and insight to fully manage their own portfolio and buy and sell their own assets.
Step 6: Get Started
There’s a lot of paperwork involved in starting a pension as you would expect in a regulated industry.
There are 7 universal requirements needed to set up a pension;
- Your driver’s license or passport as proof of identification,
- A utility bill dated within the last 3 months as proof of address,
- A pay slip or social services card as proof of your PPS number,
- BIC & IBAN payment details,
- The current value of any pre-existing pension benefits,
- Confirmation of investment choice and start date,
- Signatures on all the application forms, suitability statements and compliance documents that we provide.
…and there an additional 5 requirements for executive schemes and director pensions;
- Confirmation of your employment start date,
- Confirmation of your shareholding as a director (if applicable),
- Company registration number & VAT number,
- Letter of exchange signed by both employee and employer (we provide this),
- Assignment of your scheme trustees (The trustees take care of all the legal and reporting requirements).
Step 7: Review Your Plan Every Year
Pension plans are a long term financial commitment so they are somewhat different to other consumer products.
And since this is a process that typically happens over decades there are many events that will influence the amount of money you accumulate by the time you retire.
This is why we suggest coordinating an annual meeting, to review your pension plan and ensure you’re getting the most out of our savings.
Step 8: Enjoy The Retirement Lifestyle You’ve Created
This is what you’ve been waiting for!
Your sole objective with a pension is to arrive at this meeting in the best shape possible.
That’s why we design portfolios based on your appetite for risk, your goals and the amount of time you have until you get there, so that you can enjoy the benefits when you do.
Ok, So Where Do I Go From Here?
Your retirement starts with a plan and that plan starts with a single step.