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It's never too late to plan our futures

It's never too late to plan our futures

An editorial on legacies and how they make a difference to our work, by Sarah Street, Individual Giving Coordinator

I was surprised to read that a recent study found that one in seven adults believed their biggest financial regret was not starting saving for retirement earlier.

In difficult economic times people find it harder to save money. Settling student debts, building up a property deposit, paying the mortgage and meeting credit card and utility bills: these issues are more pressing than putting money aside for retirement in the distant future.  And yet, research shows that a major regret of many older people is that they did not plan ahead, saving enough to continue to enjoy their standard of living in retirement.

However, despite any regrets about missed opportunities in the past, it is never too late to plan our financial futures. The desire to help others, to share our experience and resources with the less fortunate, especially the young, is very strong. Whatever our circumstances, we can try to plan our finances so that we can help the needy. This may be by setting aside a small amount from our monthly budget to give to a charity, or by naming a charity to receive a legacy under our will. Rather than regrets, we can have the satisfaction that our financial planning is having a very positive outcome and giving hope to others.

Almost two-thirds of Britons (30 million) do not have wills, despite regular campaigns encouraging people to think about their legacies, and with about 20% of people expecting to leave more than £10,000. Of those who do have wills, only 7% include gifts to charities.

For SOS Children, legacies are vital for our work and have a transformative impact on the children we help.  A gift in your will can contribute to providing a loving family home and a community for children. Your legacy could also make a significant change by strengthening communities who need our help.

It's never too late to plan ahead, find out how you can make a difference.