Important Information : The value of investments and the income from them, can go down as well as up, so you may get back less than you invest.

THANKFULLY, some New Year’s resolutions are easier to keep than others.

Unlike trimming inches from your waistline, or training for a marathon, or reading the complete works of Shakespeare, sorting out your future retirement plans can be done quickly and relatively pain-free in 2022. It’s one resolution there’s no excuse for breaking.

Turning your plans into your dream retirement then takes dedication, patience and lots and lots of saving, of course - but none of that comes without laying the foundations first.

Whether you’re hoping to kickstart your pension saving or get it back on track after a few neglected years, here’s how to get pension-fit in 2022.

Set some targets

What does the retirement you want look like, and how much money will it take to make it happen?

There’s a few ways to answer that question. One target to look at is the income you’ll need to generate in retirement. Fidelity’s research has shown that you need to have saved an amount worth seven times your household income by the time your reach retirement in order to enjoy no material fall in your standard of living in retirement. That’s based on various assumptions, including retiring at age 68 and achieving investment returns after costs of 4.75% a year.

But you can also work out how much income you think you’re going to need in retirement based on the lifestyle you want. Here’s where Fidelity’s Retirement Calculator can help. Just enter some assumptions about the thing you hope to spend money on in retirement - like holidays, eating out, home improvements and the occasional new car - to give yourself an idea of how much you might need.

You’ve now identified how much you need for the retirement you want but to understand if it’s realistic, you’ll need to consider how much you already have saved across all the pensions you have, as well as your current level of contributions, to see if you’re on track. You can then see if you need to increase your contributions to meet your target.

Take a few minutes to check your current progress with MyPlan. It’s an online tool that lets you enter details like your age, current savings, contributions and investment mix to let you know if you are on track to meet your targets. You can tweak those details to see the effect it has on your projected pot at retirement.

Audit your spending

Paying more money into a pension means you won’t have it on hand to spend, but it doesn’t always have to mean making big sacrifices. We all have spending in our day-to-day lives that, if we’re honest, we could do without. There may even be spending that we get no actual value from at all.

How many TV streaming services did you sign-up to in lockdown? Do you need them all? What about that gym membership you’re not using?

You might be surprised how much you can save by running through your bank statements and applying an audit. Any money you save can be put into a pension where it will benefit from tax relief and has the potential to grow for the future.

Escalate your contributions

To hit your retirement targets it may be necessary to divert more of your earnings into a pension.

But you don’t have to do it all in one go. You can escalate your contributions gradually and time your increases with any increase in pay that you get along the way.

For example, if you receive a 3% pay rise in 2022, consider keeping 2% as salary but divert the remaining 1% into extra pension payments. If you repeat the trick in successive years you will soon be paying in enough to hit your targets, and without the pain of giving up lots of salary in one go.

Consider consolidating

To keep your pension saving in good shape, you’ll need to be able to keep track of your progress on an ongoing basis. That can be difficult if your saving is spread across multiple schemes from previous employers. For that reason, it can be beneficial to consolidate your previous pensions in one place.

It doesn’t always make sense to do it - for example if management charges are higher or if you’ll be giving up valuable benefits from older schemes - but if you’re satisfied that you won’t be losing out consolidating means you’ll have much more control.