Enjoy the Fruits You Worked for; Does Life Now Begin at 50? Beverley Lavin, Regional Director of Financial Services at Brewin Dolphin Securities in Birmingham, Thinks It Does

The Birmingham Post (England), May 27, 2006 | Go to article overview

Enjoy the Fruits You Worked for; Does Life Now Begin at 50? Beverley Lavin, Regional Director of Financial Services at Brewin Dolphin Securities in Birmingham, Thinks It Does


Byline: Beverley Lavin

"Fifty is the new 40, 40 is the new 30," was commonly heard from my parents and their friends as I grew up.

How deluded, I thought.

Now as I find myself accelerating toward my mid-40s I find the sentiment all too real as hair begins to grey and joints begin to ache after the most modest of exercise.

But why this dread of reaching the half century? Does life not begin at 50?

Agatha Christie wrote: "I have enjoyed greatly the second blooming... suddenly you find - at the age of 50, say -that a whole new life has opened before you."

From a financial perspective how perceptive she was!

As you pass the golden year your income position is likely to become healthier than ever before. You can expect to benefit from a reduction in your car insurance.

It's a fact that drivers aged under 50 are 31 per cent more likely to make a claim on their car insurance than those aged 50 and over, which is reflected in a reduced annual premium.

Your beloved children will have likely flown the nest and be starting to stand on their own two feet which, according to my own father, will save you a fortune!

So it isn't all as depressing as some would have us think. Despite the likelihood of higher retirement ages and the fear of living on a pension, there are some rays of sunshine you should keep in mind.

Hopefully mortgages which have been a burden on your income for many years will be approaching full repayment or in fact will have gone.

With such pressures removed, many over 50s will find themselves in a much more comfortable position with regard to income as their expenditure becomes far more focused on the enjoyment of life.

It is inevitable that turning 50 will prompt initial thoughts of retirement and how your pension will fund your life after work. There is so much more to think about with the options available today.

Gone are the days when the only option in taking your pension was the purchase of an annuity which would provide a fixed or escalating income for life. You must now consider all the available flexible options or you could risk your fund being returned to the annuity provider on your death.

Then there is "A Day" which came into force from the 6th of this month. As a result you could potentially draw an income from a personal pension fund without ever having the requirement to purchase an annuity.

Moreover we now have the peace of mind that it is likely the fund can be passed to children's pension funds, albeit less a 40 per cent inheritance tax charge.

The other bonus signalled by reaching a half century, you will be able to release a lump sum of up to 25 per cent of your fund but with no requirement to take an income unless you want to (from 2010 the minimum age for this release becomes 55). …

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