'I wanted to retire by 50 so I could enjoy life. My advice? Start saving'
Beryl Dunne, an IT manager who lives in Bray, Co Wicklow, is semi-retired and said she had to ramp up her payments so that she could retire when she wanted.
"I wanted to retire by 50 so, health-wise, I could enjoy life. Also, I felt that by the time I came to retire the State pension wouldn't be there," she said.
"I went into ESB from college and joined its superannuation scheme. When I left after a year they paid back my contributions.
"I started a pension aged 33 in my next job, paying in the maximum amount, plus additional contributions. I left to become self-employed after nine years and left that pension with them. I was pleased how much it had appreciated."
Ms Dunne (57) said other than the two years self-employed, she always paid in the maximum amount.
"Had I started in my early 20s I wouldn't have had to do that. My advice is to start saving from the very beginning and you won't miss it," she said.
Ms Dunne, who is separated and has one daughter, said the first thing she did when she was self-employed was to pay off her mortgage. Then she pooled all funds when she joined her last employer.
"I was over 50 so they encouraged me to invest in a lifestyle pension, moving out of equities and into lower-risk cash or bonds. After 15 years there, I got sick and took redundancy aged 57. I spoke to Karl Daly, a financial adviser from Metis Life, and we split my fund into multiple Personal Retirement Savings Accounts, with Standard Life and Zurich. Now, when I like, I draw down 25pc from one of my tranches tax-free. Anything tax-free makes me happy."