I don’t want the government to tell me when I can retire, and I reckon that by investing in UK shares I can take the decision into my own hands. I’m relying on the FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 to build the wealth I need to stop work at a time of my choosing.
The state pension age is now 66 for men and women, but from 2026 it will start rising to 67. Then it will rise again to 68, possibly from as early as 2037. It could ultimately climb past 70, to keep it affordable. I like my job but I’m not sure I want to work that long. Building a balanced portfolio of UK shares should mean I don’t have to.
I’ll decide when I retire, thank you
Anybody who believes the state will provide a decent standard of living in retirement is sadly deluded. It’s not going to happen. The UK already spends more than £100bn a year on the state pension, that’s an incredible 12% of total public spending and this proportion will rise as the population ages. Chancellor Rishi Sunak has already scrapped the triple lock once, and he is likely to do it again, in my view. So this is where UK shares come into it.
I’m self-employed, so it’s up to me to build retirement savings in my name. Nobody else is going to do it for me, sadly. I’m starting by building a balanced portfolio covering major markets such as the US and Europe, and sectors such as smaller companies. I don’t know enough about these markets to buy individual stocks, so I rely on low-cost exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and investment trusts to do the job for me. I do know a bit about UK shares, though.
There are three reason why I buy individual UK shares instead of funds.
- They give me the opportunity to generate outperformance and beat the market.
- Direct equities are more exciting because they can move rapidly (in either direction), and that keeps my interest levels high.
- It’s challenging (in a good way)! I like examining UK shares and checking out their potential, then seeing what happens to my stock picks (and how good/bad my judgement is).
Here’s why I’m buying UK shares
Right now, I can see plenty of opportunities out there. I suspect we are on the cusp of a commodity boom, because of that awful war in Ukraine. Rio Tinto tempts me. So does Anglo-American. I feel the financials sector is ready for a comeback, and rising base rates should allow the likes of Barclays and Lloyds Banking Group to widen their net interest margins and boost profits.
UK shares pay some of the most generous dividends in the world. Just look at Vodafone, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson Matthey, and BAE Systems to name just a few. I will reinvest my shareholder payouts for growth today, and draw them as income when I finally retire. That may be when I’m 65, it may be later. The important thing is that the decision is down to me.
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Harvey Jones doesn’t hold any of the shares mentioned in this article. The Motley Fool UK has recommended Barclays, GlaxoSmithKline, Lloyds Banking Group, and Vodafone. Views expressed on the companies mentioned in this article are those of the writer and therefore may differ from the official recommendations we make in our subscription services such as Share Advisor, Hidden Winners and Pro. Here at The Motley Fool we believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.