In the first edition of Irish Building Magazine, we look at the year ahead and what it might hold.

This time last year, we wrote about a new decade with the start of 2020 and looked forward to what the next decade might hold. Who knew back then how drastically life would change for us? While many still face into another year of economic uncertainty in 2021, we still firmly believe that planning for your future should still include planning for your retirement.

Life in Circles, Not Lines

Should we fall on hard times, many of us would only be able to live off our savings for a few months (some of us have had to this year). In retirement, we can look forward to living 20 to 30 years. The question is, how long will our savings sustain us? While most of us will receive a pension from the State, this will only secure a basic standard of living and that may differ to the vision of ‘living’ we have imagined.

People often view time as linear. We see it as one-dimensional and narrow, expecting everything to happen in a sequence after which a result neatly appears. By definition, linear living has an endpoint – a finish line. Retirement is not that finish line, nor is it an endpoint. In fact, it is the start of another cycle. It goes through evolving stages that change with time. This circular (as opposed to linear) living requires us to sustain it and the best place to start is a pension. Retirement should not be the end of something, but a point in your life cycle when work becomes optional and you look forward to a future of possibilities.

Your definition of ‘life’ may differ from what the State Pension Offers

The current working population makes the existing State pension possible. According to the National Risk Assessment in 2019, the share of the population aged 65 and over is projected to increase from one in eight to one in six by 2030 and the number of people aged 85 and over, is projected to almost double.

This is an acute concern for government strategists as they struggle to project a sustainable State pension into the future. Furthermore, while Ireland has a comparatively young population relative to other EU countries, it nevertheless faces the same long-term challenges as the rest of the continent with an ageing population. While we are happy to live longer lives, this does put inevitable strain on the healthcare system. As it stands, according the National Risk Register, 60% of those aged over 50 report having at least one chronic condition.

Whether you are 5, 15 or 50 years from retirement age, saving just a small proportion of your salary can help you achieve your dreams in retirement, but most of all, provide you with much needed financial stability. Every January, we look at the year ahead and try to imagine what it might hold. Due to the pandemic and subsequent uncertainty, it is hard to envisage the future, especially our retirement, which might be years away. However, that is exactly what we are asking you to do and, on a State pension alone, that future looks bleak.

The State pension is not designed to provide for your desired future. Its purpose is to ensure a basic standard of living for all retirees nationally. It does not take into account your location, your assets, any chronic health conditions or additional requirements that involve significant investment.

It Pays to Save

No matter how you break it down, pensions can make for complicated reading. However, the basic idea is simple. Pensions are long-term savings plans that benefit from generous tax relief on contributions (subject to Revenue limits) and grow over time to provide you with sufficient income when you decide to retire. Pensions never cost as much as you think, thanks to tax relief on contributions you make (subject to Revenue limits). For example, if you are on the higher rate of tax and contribute just €100 per week to your pension, this will cost you just €60, thanks to the tax relief you will receive.

Pensions, not products

CPAS is the pension scheme administrator for pensions in the construction sector. We do not look at pensions as products, but as the development of strategies, recognising your needs now and into the future. We work with our members to identify a clear vision for the future, achievable goals and then work with them to create a plan of action that they can implement today. It is about providing the right information today to help them make the most of their future.

As in life, there are many variables and changes. Planning for retirement involves forming expectations about income and expenses over the rest of your life, based on present assumptions. Our pension consultants help you cut through the complicated jargon and plan for your future in the long term.

For more information, please get in touch with our team of consultants who can provide more information (info@cpas.ie).