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Planning Retirement Online


Retirement Planning – Timelines


Age 30

Timeline Introduction
Age 20
Age 30
Age 40
Age 50
2-3 years before retirement
Back to timeline Introduction

Time to save stopwatchOnce we reach 30 we should start to think a little more seriously about our retirement plans. This milestone is a good opportunity to take stock and to ensure that we are on the right lines to enjoy the kind of retirement that we think that we might want.

The first thing to do is to take a look at the records that you have been keeping since you started thinking about retirement at 20. Once you have reviewed these things, the issues that you need to think about at 30 follow on from them.

If you are just starting out on your planning, then take a look at the Age 20 timeline first to cover some of the basics that you will need to think about. 

Hopes and Concerns

Think about when you hope to retire and what you hope to do in retirement. Your hopes will be based on what your hobbies and interests are at age 30, what you might hope to do when you have more time to spare (travelling and visiting other parts of the world, for example), what family you have, or hope to have, by the time you retire and so on.

Once you have considered your hopes, think about the concerns that you have – those things that might prevent you from realising those hopes. For most people, these will be money and health, but there may be other elements, too, depending on your own circumstances.

When you have thought about your hopes and concerns, then you need a strategy for being able to achieve your hopes and overcome your concerns. That is what, at this stage in your life, your retirement planning should be about. So think about the following:


What are your current hobbies and do you have anything that you think you want to take up later in life when you have more time?

Then consider how much these hobbies might cost you on an annual basis. Most people forget to factor in the cost of hobbies when they are considering their finances but it can be considerable, depending on what the hobbies are.

If you are skilled at something, or hope to become so, it may be that you could actually make some money form what is essentially a hobby – furniture restoration or painting, for example. If this is the case, then you need to consider that possibility, too.


If you like travelling and think that it’s something that you will want to do in retirement, it’s a good idea to decide on an amount that you think that you might want to spend on it every year. So you effectively have a travelling budget and factor it into your plans.


We need to review our financial situation in light of our hopes for retirement and, indeed, any concerns we have other than money itself.

The elements that we need to consider and review, following on from what we did at age 20, are as follows:

Auto enrolment or other Company Pension Scheme

If you have one, review it and try to estimate how much you will receive when you retire. You should receive a forecast every year from your pensions department but, if not, make sure that you get one at this stage. Review it and ensure that the benefits that were provided by your pension at age 20 are still there and that the pension entitlement hasn’t changed.

You should consider what might happen if you were to leave your company and find work somewhere else or if you were made redundant. In other words, make some sort of contingency plan if you can.

Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVCs)

If you are paying AVCs to your pension, consider if you need to increase them. If not, think about whether you should start to do so. They will increase the size of your pension pot and, under current legislation, you can either take them as part of your tax-free lump sum when you retire or you can use them to increase your pension.

Personal Pension

If you haven’t got a company pension, think about a personal pension. If you already have one, ask yourself whether you are paying enough. If you haven’t got one, consider starting one.

If you don’t want to pay into a pension, consider some other sort of investment such as property. Look at the age 20 section to see about personal pensions and also financial advisors: you might want to consider seeking advice from an advisor.


If you have a mortgage, or are thinking about getting one, consider when you think you will want to retire. If you can, consider arranging it so that you will pay it off before that time unless of course you have specific reasons for not doing so, or are actively planning to downsize when you retire.


If you already have a family or think that you may start one, think about whether you might choose to pay for their education. If so, then you need to factor that in to your calculations.

If we’re not going to pay for private education, we might still want to do some saving on their behalf by opening an account for them, or even a trust fund. If so, again we need to factor this in.


In our 30s and 40s our focus is often on home and family and there is plenty of competition for our money, so we can lose sight of saving for the long term. If you can, try to think about your short term, medium and long term financial needs, because looking at savings and investments in that way is a good approach throughout life.  

We cover investments a little more in our age 40 timeline, so if you have scope for longer term investments look ahead and consider the type of investments you might make.


In order to enjoy retirement, we need our health. At age 20 we should have considered this and then ensured that we took some exercise and ate and drank reasonably sensibly. As we get older, the need to look after our health becomes more important and, probably, more difficult.

So at 30, we should take stock and ensure that we are taking care of our health. Make sure that you are taking some exercise and that it is such that it is keeping your weight down and allowing you stay fit enough to do all the things that you want to do.

Also ensure that your diet is healthy and that you are not eating more than you should. Apart from the obvious elements of too much fat and sugar, think about the salt that you take in. Most of us have far too much salt and most of it comes from processed, packaged food.

Drinking is a factor, too. Apart from the obvious dangers of excessive alcohol, sugary drinks are not very good for us and hardly any of us drinks enough water to keep sufficiently hydrated.


Think about your lifestyle in general. At this stage of life, we need to strike a balance between enjoying the present and taking care of the future.

There seems little point in being too strict with ourselves at age 30 because we want a successful retirement. On the other hand, planning for retirement and making some sensible provision for it is a prudent thing to do. So we all need to achieve the balance that is right for us and conduct our present life so that we enjoy it whilst having one eye to the future beyond work.


Just as at 20, having thought about these things, we should record them and then revisit them from time to time to ensure that they represent our current situation.

When we get to 40, thoughts of retirement really do start to get important, so if we have a good solid base already, our decisions at 40 will be that much easier.


However if you feel that you need some help from a financial advisor, then visit our section on obtaining financial advice, or our page on Laterlife selected services and associated advice.



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