How late is too late to start saving for retirement?

At a glance

  • Retirement has changed – we’re living longer. If you’re 60, you could easily live another 30 years.
  • If we’re living longer, there’s a greater need to have sufficient pension savings to fund a longer retirement.
  • Having a range of assets to rely on as a pension will give you options.

When you’re considering your future and what to do with your money, it’s important to make sure you will have enough funds to cover your expenses and maintain a comfortable lifestyle after you stop working.

But is it ever too late to start saving? The answer is no. It is of course best to start saving into a pension as early as you can, to maximise your retirement fund. But it’s never too late to start planning you’re your retirement, whatever age you are.

Why should I save money for retirement?

The life expectancy calculator from the Office for National Statistics predicts that if you’re a man aged 60 you may live to an average age of 84 years old – and you would have a one-in-four chance of living to 921.

Life expectancy rises sharply for younger people. If you’re a woman aged 30, you could have an average life expectancy of 88 and a one-in-ten chance of reaching your 100th birthday2.

With so many years ahead of you, it’s important to work out how you will fund them. It provides you with the financial independence to enjoy your golden years without relying on family support.

As you age, healthcare expenses tend to increase, along with the cost of living. Saving for retirement, allows you to build a robust financial cushion, helping to make sure you can afford necessary healthcare expenses and maintain your standard of living.

Life is unpredictable. So, it’s always better to be prepared. Saving for retirement provides a safety net in case of unexpected financial burdens.

Having sufficient savings for retirement gives you the flexibility to make choices based on your preferences rather than financial obligations. It allows you to pursue hobbies, travel, spend time with family, and engage in activities that bring you joy, knowing that your financial future is secure.

Is it worth starting a pension at 60?

Starting a pension at 60 can still be worth it, depending on your financial situation and retirement goals. Here’s a few factors to consider:

Potential income gap

If you haven’t saved enough for retirement or anticipate a shortfall in your retirement income, starting a pension at 60 can help bridge the gap. Regular contributions to a pension can accumulate over time and provide additional income during retirement.

Employer contributions

If you’re still working and your employer offers a pension scheme with matching contributions, starting a pension at 60 could be beneficial. Depending on the terms of the scheme, you may receive additional contributions from your employer, which can boost your retirement savings significantly.

Flexibility and options

Pensions offer flexibility in terms of how you access the funds during retirement. Starting a pension at 60 can give you access to various options, such as taking a lump sum or receiving regular income payments, depending on your financial needs and goals.

How much should I save before retiring?

It’s difficult to say how much money you need before you stop work, because it really depends on what you want to do.

Many people fund their retirement from a range of sources, including property, Cash ISA savings, Stocks & Shares ISAs, earnings, state pension and private pension pots.

This can be beneficial, because money can be withdrawn from each of these in different ways; for example, ISA savings can often be withdrawn tax free on demand (depending on the type of ISA), pensions allow people to withdraw a tax-free lump sum at retirement age, while income from a rental property may be monthly.

This is also useful because people tend to spend different amounts during different phases of their retirement – for example, a year spent travelling the world is likely to cost more than a year spent working part-time. You may also find your spending falls as you get older.

For more information about what a happy and enjoyable retirement will cost you, click here.

Why planning is important

It’s not enough to have savings, you also need a plan – and that’s why it’s a good idea to seek financial advice. It’s best to meet with your financial adviser regularly so they can look holistically at your situation to help you achieve your goals.

Reaching retirement age is the start of a new chapter in your life. Putting the right plan in place will help to make sure you can enjoy the future you want.

Get in touch

Whatever age you are, it’s never too late to plan for retirement. We can help you prepare for your future which enables you to enjoy your retirement years without financial stress. Speak to us now.

The value of an investment with St. James’s Place will be directly linked to the performance of the funds selected and may fall as well as rise. You may get back less than the amount invested.

The levels and bases of taxation, and reliefs from taxation, can change at any time. The value of any tax relief is generally dependent on individual circumstances.


1,2Life Expectancy Calculator, Office for National Statistics, accessed 4 October 2023.

SJP Approved 11/10/2023


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