Financial planning

Spanish sunshine, CPR and making curtains

Cera Taylor

Welcome to the first instalment of our new retirement blog series! Cera Taylor, Financial Planner at 1825, will be interviewing individuals at various stages of their retirement journey to shine a light on the importance of planning ahead.

First up, Cera is speaking with Julie Russell. Previously an Executive Director at 1825, Julie has recently retired. Read more below:


“Over my career I have found that too many people leave it too late to plan for retirement”
- Julie Russell, recently retired National Advice Director at 1825


Retirement can be such a huge change to your lifestyle. Suddenly you have all this free time whilst that monthly pay cheque has stopped. For many people, retirement can be difficult to both imagine and plan for. 

1825’s National Advice Director, Julie Russell, decided to bring her retirement forward slightly and retire in late 2020. Here, Julie gives an insight into how she is finding the transition into retirement and reflects on her successful and exciting career of almost 40 years.

1. Now that you’ve retired, how are you spending your time? 

I only retired recently, hence my first step was to take advantage of our home in Spain and have a rest.  My husband retired earlier in the year, so I came out to join him in Spain when the opportunity arose.  It was clear we were going to be ‘locked down’ again, so I decided it might as well be in the sunshine! 

Our plans are to do a lot of travel when COVID permits.  Meanwhile I have been taking care of a much neglected personal ‘to do’ list now that I don’t have a work one!  E.g. things like updating wills and power of attorney, re-broking insurances and moving some of my investments, but I’ve also been making curtains and doing other DIY in our house in Spain.

2. What did life look like for you before you retired?

I was an Executive Director with 1825, I had worked for the Standard Life Aberdeen group for almost 40 Years, much of that in senior executive roles involving demanding work, long hours and significant business travel.  I loved my work life, it was full on, but I was ready for retirement, and that will be full on too - once we can get back to some sort of normality!

3. What was your greatest career highlight?

That’s quite a difficult one, there have been a few.  But for me the best things have been when I have felt really proud, a few situations spring to mind:

  • There have been several situations, sadly, where clients have passed away. Knowing that I have been a key part to ensuring that loved ones don’t have to worry about money and financial affairs (amongst everything else they are coping with) has a been a source of great pride.
  • I was also, way back in the day, the youngest senior manager in the company (and a woman at that!)
  • And, on a different note, saving a client’s life! He had a heart attack, mid meeting, and I gave him CPR and heart massage until the emergency services arrived.

4. What were your concerns before retiring and how do you feel about them now?

I felt ready to retire, but I don’t know how that will feel in a few months’  time. Just now, I feel like I’m just on a long holiday.  I plan to be busy once we return to ‘normal’, but I’m not sure if at some point I will miss business life, only time will tell.   So far, I am not missing work as such, just some of the social contact, but of course COVID has been a big contributor to that too.

5. What plans are you looking forward to most, post the pandemic?

Definitely travelling and being able to do things that I guess until now we’ve perhaps taken for granted, especially quality social time with family and friends.

6. Has the pandemic changed your outlook on retirement and if so, how?

Yes for sure.  I had planned to retire around 2021, but with my husband retired and spending a lot of time out in Spain, I found travelling back and forth whilst still working increasingly difficult, so I brought my retirement plans forward a bit.

We did have to consider the financial implications too though.  Retirement funds had taken a bit of a hit due to COVID, and we knew we might expect a tough economic outlook for a while.  So, we did some cash flow modelling, looked at a range of scenarios and that gave us the confidence that we could still have the retired life that we want and can afford and help out some of the family too, whilst keeping enough ‘slack’ in our retirement finances in case we hit some bumps in the road.

7.What would be your one piece of advice to somebody considering retirement now?

I guess the advice I would give to anyone, is advice I would give long before retirement - save enough, invest wisely, and spend within budget.  Over my career I have found that too many people leave it too late to plan for retirement.  To be able to retire, and not have to worry about the affordability of the retirement you want - that starts when your career starts and the discipline of saving.

But for those approaching retirement; do you know what you want in retirement, how much will that cost, and can you absorb the bumps there might be in the road?  And if you can, what money might you want to gift out of your estate now if you are not going to need it (I’d recommend it - the pleasure from helping family and the next generation now with their life is very satisfying and something else to take pride in).

Time to leave Julie to get on with making those curtains and settling down to her retirement in Spain. Remember, a pension is an investment and, as such, its value can fall as well as rise and could end up being worth less than was paid in. If you’re having thoughts about your own retirement and how that might look, please get in touch with us at
At 1825, we specialise in helping people plan for the retirement they have always dreamed of. We’re here to help you start that journey today.

Important information 

The information in this blog should not be regarded as financial advice.