There is an old Chinese proverb, “The best time to plant a tree was 20 yrs ago-the second best time is today!”

The same could be said about pension planning.

Traditionally, retirement planning always focuses on pensions, but there are many ways to achieve an income and lifestyle in retirement.

Pension planning is just one of them.

The experts say the ideal time to start putting money into a pension pot is as soon as you start earning.

That said, most of us do not live in an ideal world – so is there anything we can do if we have left things late?

We all know that paying into a pension plan is a good idea.

Few of us can rely on a job-for-life employers’ pension scheme, and living on a state pension is not appealing.

However, with student loans to repay, the cost of getting on the property ladder and then the expense of a family, many of us put off making the necessary arrangements.

But if we find ourselves in our 40s or even 50s without a pension pot, is there anything we can do about it?

The sums are sobering.

Recent figures show that those in their 40s would have to save 20% to 25% of their incomes to match what they could have accumulated had they put aside just 10% starting in their 20s.

If they wait until their 50s to start, they must contribute 40% more of their income.

Have your retirement plans changed due to the pandemic.

Find out what state pension you can expect.

That is not possible for most people. But refusing to do anything because you cannot save ‘enough’ makes no sense at all.

The fact is whatever you save will supplement your state pension and help make your golden years a little more enjoyable.

So think twice before opting out of your workplace auto-enrolment scheme, especially when your employer is making contributions alongside yours.

It was recently said by Steve Bee, a pension expert, that “Just thinking about saving for a pension gets you nowhere. The first £1 saved gets you nearer your goal than all the thinking in the world,” and this is so true.

However, it is not simply a matter of spending less and planning to work for a few extra years.

You need to have an effective pension savings plan and strategy in place, whether using Personal pensions, workplace schemes, or something more bespoke like a self-invested pension scheme (SIPP), depending on your needs.

Advice is essential, but if you have left planning your retirement late, the most important piece of advice of all is -do it today.