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How to retire early? Our top tips…

You may have just finished a stressful shift or had a particularly bad week, or it may be something you’ve been considering for a while but, at some point, early retirement may start to feature in your plans.

Before the pipe dream can become a reality, however, there are certain facts about the NHS Pension Scheme that you need to establish.

You will need to know when you can retire and receive your pension income. This will depend on your status and which section of the scheme you’re in. Those in the 1995 section of the NHS Pension Scheme could, in theory, retire at 50 if certain criteria are met, whereas 55 is the minimum age for those in the 2008 section.

It’s also important to get into the habit of saving early and often. Don’t just rely on the State Pension and your NHS Pension if you want to retire early. Consider whether you could be making Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVCs) to increase the amount of benefits at retirement. Or do you have any private personal pension funds too? If you consider making additional pension provision, attention must be paid to the implications of a possible breach of the Lifetime or Annual Allowances

Retirement planning is no longer just about pensions either – think about your whole retirement fund. In addition to your NHS Pension, you may have an additional Personal Pension, ISAs or even an investment portfolio. Are there other changes you are thinking of making which will also have significant financial implications, for example, downsizing?

If you plan to retire early, plan for it as soon as possible – seek independent financial advice to be sure of the implications of retiring early and how you can plan to make your goal a reality. The longer you leave it, the harder it will be.

The schemes are complex with many variations but there is help available, so make sure you take the opportunity to get expert advice. There’s no reason you can’t take the early retirement you may have been dreaming of if you do the right amount of preparation.