Thinking about retirement savings. Saving for retirement may not be the most exciting or glamorous task. But the money you save now will give you greater control and freedom in the future.

When most people think about saving for retirement, they think about pensions, tax-advantaged/personal retirement savings plans, and government assistance. If you really want to grow your money, however, it is worth looking into other additional or supplemental investment options.

When a Pension Will and Won’t Work

Fewer organizations are offering pensions to their employees because of the tightening squeeze on their finances.

If you are fortunate enough to work with an employer who offers a pension, there are a number of benefits to using one for your retirement:

Pensions provide tax relief on contributions

Compound interest means more money the sooner you start saving
Employers often match pension contributions up to a certain percent or dollar amount
As with many other types of investments, pensions can be difficult if not impossible to access. Not only are their age restrictions, but the money may not be immediately available when you need it the most.

Pensions also carry the risk of poor returns. Invested in shares and stocks, if your pension investments are performing poorly you can be left with less money than expected for your retirement.

When Tax-Advantaged/Personal Retirement Savings Plans Will and Won’t Work

Like RRSPs in Canada or a 401(k) in the U.S., personal retirement savings plans have recently become more readily available in Europe.

Tax-advantaged savings plans can be attractive for two key reasons:

This is a long-term investment account (the longer you don’t touch the money, the more interest it will earn)
Like the name implies, there are a number of tax advantages and benefits (including higher annual contributions, higher income tax returns, and greater tax exemptions)
The sooner you begin to invest in this type of plan, the better. Many financial experts predict that it takes a minimum of forty years to see notable returns on your investments. If you’re late in the retirement savings game, these may not be the best option for you.

When Government Plans Will and Won’t Work

The Baby Boomers may have enjoyed considerable government assistance when they retired. But the fact of the matter is that no one should be counting on government help to carry them through their golden years.

Relying on government assistance for retirement is the greatest risk of all. While it may be a nice supplement to your retirement income, it’s important to make wise investments and save when possible.

Alternative Retirement Saving Options

If you are fortunate enough to own your home, selling your home or taking out a reverse mortgage is one way you can add dollars to your wallet during retirement. Reverse mortgages do carry their own risks, however, including leaving your children with a large debt to repay upon your passing.

Then there are the many other alternative investment options available to you. Whether used on their own or to support your personal retirement savings plan, choosing something like peer-to-peer (P2P) lending regularly leads to higher returns for investors. Investors can secure returns that are higher on average while also knowing that they are supporting the growth of a small business.

The way we twenty-first-century consumers are investing our money is evolving. Tax-advantaged savings plans are not ideal for many and other investment options are proving to be more viable investment. There are a good mix of investment options, so be sure to investigate your choices and work with a financial planner for further guidance.