Could you take a step closer to early retirement?

MoneyPlus Features Team

So you want to retire early, how might you make that happen?

It seems most people long for the day when they can leave their work behind with two thirds wanting to retire early before their state pension age.

According to our recent research into the thoughts and plans of people approaching retirement, it appears most of us dream of financial independence and the chance to retire early.

We think that with some smart early planning, these dreams could become a reality and at an age when you’re young enough to enjoy them to the full.

Jamie Jenkins, our personal finance expert, says: “I would urge everyone to really understand how they are progressing and make plans for building up their life savings while they are best placed to make a real difference.”

And here’s four ways you could save to help make it happen.

Check how much you’ll need

Firstly, it’s helpful to know how much money you might need later in life. And a good place to start is by seeing how much you have now. The research showed that only half of those we asked knew the current value of their pension.

Once you know how much you’ve got, then our pension calculator can help you work out how much you’ll need. You’ll be able to check whether your pension savings are on track for the retirement lifestyle you want and a retirement date you’d like.

This is also a good opportunity to review your investments. Investment choice can make a difference to the value of your long-term savings so it’s important to regularly review them to make sure they’re right for you.

Save more, if you can

Small changes to your payments now can boost the final value of your pension pot. Even a relatively small amount every month could build up over time into a significant contribution.

If you’re in a workplace pension then your employer may even match what you’re paying in, boosting that contribution even further.

And the longer you leave it, the greater the potential it has to grow. But remember, the value of your fund can go down as well as up and you may get back less than you paid in.

Make the most of tax relief

Pensions are still one of the most tax-efficient ways to save.

Currently, if you’re a basic-rate taxpayer, tax relief means that it normally only costs you £80 to get £100 in your pension. And, if you’re a higher-rate tax payer, it could only cost you £60 to get £100 in your pension. Over the years, that extra help can add up to a great deal. Remember, laws and tax rules may change in the future and the tax relief you receive will depend on your personal circumstances.

Got a few pensions? Consider combining them

If you’ve other pensions, it may well be more efficient for you to bring them all together.

Combining your pensions is a really important decision. Transferring is not right for everyone and there’s no guarantee of getting more at retirement. You’ll have a lot to consider to see if it’s right for you.

You can find out more information on or speak to your adviser if you have one, and there may be a cost for this. If you don’t have one, you can find one at

Money Advice Service also has a useful section on bringing your pensions pots together.

Start making a difference today

These are just some of the ways in which you could help your pension grow to give you the future you want. And our online tools and information at can help you stay in control, we’d encourage you to use them and regularly review your pension to make sure it’s on track to meet your needs.

If you’re a Standard Life customer and not already registered for online services then it’s easy to get started, and takes minutes to register. Just go to

Or try the Money Advice Service where you’ll also find free impartial advice and useful tools and guides to help with your planning.

Remember, the sooner you start, the sooner you can make that difference and that early retirement could be within reach.