'I'm glad I started my pension early'
AMONG the members of Generation X (those born between 1965 and 1982), Colum Traynor is probably one of a very small number who started a pension plan while in their 20s.
He started his fund at the same time as he set up in business, initially as a sole trader, mainly because of the tax-efficiency of pensions, although he concedes that if he was a PAYE worker, he may not have taken it out quite so early.
"Perhaps I wouldn't have set up my pension in my 20s if I didn't work for myself as the tax efficiencies may not be as obvious to someone who didn't have to do their own tax return."
His Dublin-based business, Advanced Network Solutions, which provides IT-managed services for SMEs, now employs seven people.
"Now that I'm nearly 40 and am married with children, I am more aware of what my pension is for and how well it is performing. I took good advice early on and tried to save consistently over a number of years rather than in fits and starts."
He started out by paying in a series of lump sums on a year-to-year basis, but during his 30s, and acting on the advice of his long-time financial adviser, Gerry Rooney, he started putting in regular monthly contributions and "it's something I haven't ever regretted".
Mr Traynor also pays more attention to the performance of his pension, and has reduced his previously high investment-risk profile of his fund to a more moderate level commensurate with his age. He meets Gerry twice a year to review his plan.
"I would recommend to everyone to start as early they can as I can see the long-term benefit of making your pension work for you over a long period of time."