Anyone planning for retirement will be familiar with certain considerations, such as deciding when you want to retire, the kind of lifestyle you want and how much you'll need to get there.

However, low interest rates over recent years have introduced another concern for savers - how to make the most out of your savings and ensure a comfortable retirement.

As a rule of thumb, Royal London suggests building up an annual income of around two-thirds of your pre-retirement gross earnings to maintain the same standard of living in retirement.

This requires a total pension pot of about £260,000 on average - a figure which has risen from £150,000 in 2002.

This target could be higher depending on your desired retirement lifestyle and on any extra costs, such as mortgage repayments or funding care later in life.

Whatever your circumstances, it's a good idea to keep thinking about the way you organise your money ahead of retirement. The more thorough your plan, the more attainable your goals will be.

If you're looking to boost your pension savings, there are several options to consider.

Contribute to a workplace pension

If you're an employee earning more than £10,000 a year and over the age of 22, arguably the easiest way to increase your retirement savings is through a workplace pension.

Automatic enrolment ensures eligible employees will be contributing a minimum of 3% for 2018/19, and your employer will be contributing at least 2%.

This comes with the added bonus of government tax relief, so it can be a good idea to increase your contributions above the minimum if you're in a position to do so.

Save in an ISA

You can currently save up to £20,000 a year in an ISA without being taxed on interest.

This can make them a tax-efficient savings option, especially if you're at risk of going into a higher tax band or exceeding your lifetime pension allowance.

Clear debts

Because your income is likely to decrease in retirement, any existing debt will have even more of an impact than it did during your working life.

For this reason, it's usually best to focus on clearing any debt, such as a mortgage or credit card balance, before you retire.

State pension top-up

If you've missed any national insurance contributions (NICs) over the years, it's possible to top up your state pension with voluntary NICs.

Under the new state pension system, which was introduced in April 2016, you will need 35 years of NICs to receive the full state pension when you retire.

It's important to note you will see no extra return from topping up your NICs record if you already have 35 years of full contributions with HMRC.

Extend your contributions

Working for a little longer than you'd originally planned, and increasing your workplace pension contributions in that time, can make a significant difference to your savings.

Staying in work longer is becoming more common, with research by Scottish Widows showing that 51% of people expect to continue working at least part-time after their retirement age.

This doesn't have to be a purely financial choice, as easing out of full-time work with a more flexible working pattern can make for a smoother transition into retirement.

Trace lost pensions

If you think you had a pension scheme with a previous employer but lost track of it, it's worth tracking it down.

The government estimates more than £400 million in pension savings has been unclaimed.

As long as you have the name of your former employer or pension provider, you can use the government's Pension Tracing Service to find contact details for pension schemes you've paid into.

Consolidate your pensions

In some cases, you could save money by consolidating your pensions into a single pot, making them easier to keep track of and see how your savings are performing.

This won't suit all circumstances, though, and you should seek professional advice before transferring a pension.

We can help with your retirement saving strategy.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

By submitting your details you agree to receive email marketing from BSG Valentine and have read and understood our Privacy Notice. You can withdraw your consent or change your preferences at any time by emailing us or by clicking the link at the bottom of every email we send you.

You have Successfully Subscribed!