Our business development director John Winstanley has been surprised to see a recent number of studies in industry media revealing shockingly high levels of ‘retirement regret’.  

As a financial planner, I feel incredibly sorry for these people when this feeling of regret can be so easily avoided. Clarion Wealth Planning clients have genuinely fulfilled retirements. We have a robust understanding of what they hope to achieve which is a key to that outcome.

According to a recent survey from over-50s finance provider SunLife, well over three quarters (85%) of retired people over 50 and a huge 88% of those who are now aged over 70 think they retired too early.

On average, those that are retired or semi-retired said they did so two and a half years too early. Those aged 70+ think said they retired three years too early.

A further study by Aviva found that over half (53%) of 45-64-year-olds have never calculated when they can afford to retire.   

Retirement regret may stem from discovering insufficient funds to support the hoped-for lifestyle but some people realise they would have been happier working a bit longer, continuing to earn and enjoy a more active lifestyle.

At Clarion Wealth Planning, we place huge importance on our client relationships. In truly getting to know clients, we find that their ideal retirement planning will reveal itself naturally.

It can be quite difficult for clients to articulate what outcomes they want to achieve.

This is when our Values and Goals Questionnaire becomes an important tool in retirement planning. It asks clients what they would like to achieve personally and financially – or wished they had – from angles they may not have thought about. We then focus on personalised objectives across one, three, and ten years.

In fact, we often encourage our clients not to wait until retirement to do all the things they dreamed of, and periodically check-in to see whether they are.

We are effectively holding them to account for making a better life for themselves now as well as in retirement. By doing this, our clients lead fulfilled lives with no risk of retirement regret as they understand their own needs clearly and we work together to achieve their goals.

This sort of in-depth life analysis should be the backbone of good financial planning.

Clarion clients Chris and Jill Bell told me: “Despite being fairly financially aware neither of us had any experience of retirement planning so we decided to talk to you. The information you provided gave us the comfort that our goals were achievable and allowed us to make the informed decision to retire at ages 55 and 52.

“In addition, you were able to help us realise another dream. You demonstrated that we could afford to purchase a holiday home on the North Yorkshire coast, something we had not thought possible and from which we feel both ourselves and our family will derive enormous pleasure.

We are both highly confident that retiring early was the right thing to do!”

Talking to our clients Richard and Kim Prosser, they explained: “Both Kim and I had given a great deal of thought to retiring. We both agreed that there was much more to enjoy in the world than working and we both wanted to travel and do many other things with our time.

“We were very lucky that we had a very good pension provision and had been recommended to you as a very good financial planner. In collaboration, we agreed on a pension plan that is projected to give us the funds that we calculated we will need for the rest of our lives.

“We have no regrets about when we retired but feel it was important to have considered what we wanted to do beforehand and make sure we had sufficient funds to allow us to fulfil our ambitions, which as you know included helping our daughter, Katie, get onto the property ladder.”

Client Keith Simmonds has been fully involved in all decisions that have helped him have the retirement he wanted at the age of 56. “I am confident that I have not retired too early, something I was slightly concerned about before meeting with John.”

“Nothing is certain in life and COVID has certainly reinforced this view but with careful and timely planning, the ups and downs in investment returns have been carefully managed by Clarion to ensure my retirement is as stress-free as possible.

“Planning and input from all parties is key to ensuring everyone is working to the same aim, namely making sure there is sufficient monies available to live on and it doesn’t run out.

“It is also key to make sure that sufficient funds are available to gift to family so that everyone can enjoy it whilst the retiree is still alive to see the joy the cash has provided.”


If you’d like more information about this article, or any other aspect of our true lifelong financial planning, we’d be happy to hear from you. Please call +44 (0)1625 466 360 or email enquiries@clarionwealth.co.uk.

Click here to sign-up to The Clarion for regular updates. For any media enquiries, please contact Kirsty Day at Yellow Jigsaw on +44 (0)7941 605 925 or kirsty@yellowjigsaw.co.uk.