We spend much of our life working. Decades of employment that culminate in retirement are often rewarded with a state benefit, depending on where we live. It's up to us to draw up a plan in advance to ensure our financial health during this stage of our lives. But what advice is out there? 

Life is made up of chapters; each one with its particular financial needs. When we reach the end of our career, a new phase begins. Retirement is when we receive what is known as a "pension", a monthly amount which mostly comes from public money. 

We must prepare our finances for retirement as soon as possible. In effect, planning should form part of our working life from the outset to ensure financial health when the time comes. You can find tips in this article by Openbank or information from Sano de Lucas, of Santander Chile. 

How do I calculate my retirement age and pension?

Our retirement age and the amount we are to receive vary from one person to the next. Numerous factors such as the number of years worked, salary at each stage of our career, regional and national policies in our country of residence, the type of working schedule in each job and even early retirement or semi-retirement, are taken into account. To get an idea of how much our pension will be, we can visit the official websites of the agencies that regulate pensions in our homeland or use benefit simulators such as Openbank’s or Santander Brazil’s

How to improve finances for retirement?

Planning for retirement ahead of time is one of the first steps in taking care of our financial health once our working life has ended. Although we’ll have a lot of expenses throughout our career, we’ll also have a long time to build savings for the future. To do this, we can follow these tips found on the Finanzas para mortales site:

  • Estimate an amount we are going to need when we retire and decide on our desired standard of living. 
  • Calculate our pension, which will also give us an idea of how much additional money we want to save by then. 
  • Decide at what age we are going to start to save for retirement. As this Santander Portugal article points out, saving for retirement is a marathon, not a sprint. 
  • Set a specific financial goal, although this may vary if we retire early or semi-retire.
  • We can set a specific amount to save in proportion to our annual salary and stick to it. This article from Santander Portugal will help discover how to start saving for retirement
  • We need to take advantage of pay rises and boost our savings account accordingly.
  • If we have a mortgage, we should pay it off before retirement to help reduce our post-career expenses.
  • Find out what saving tools are available and their tax benefits. 

What's the best way to invest for retirement?

A number of products focus on long-term savings and may be useful for retirement. Here we take a look at a few of them:

Pension plans

These products have been specially designed to save for retirement. A private pension scheme is a "piggy bank" where we deposit a specific amount of our own money at given intervals, i.e., a long-term savings instrument to obtain returns. The money we put in will be invested in other yield-bearing products that, with the help of our pension plan manager, we choose beforehand. These products generally offer tax benefits, depending on where we live. See this article by Santander Consumer to learn more. 

Investment funds

An investment fund is a very useful savings tool where a group of people pool their money in a common "piggy bank". The money invested is handled by a team of professionals who place it in various financial assets in order to make a return. 

Savings accounts

Various types of bank accounts can be useful depending on our stage of life. A savings account is a financial product allowing us to generate a certain amount of money in exchange for depositing part of our savings in a special account we can access at any time. Certain accounts have advantages, as explained in this article by Santander Argentina

All of these methods, in addition to the state pension we will receive in our country of residence, can help us enjoy a comfortable and peaceful retirement. 

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