If you are among the 20 – 30 bracket, you might find this post unnecessary and quickly close the tab. But I’m talking to you, don’t go away. Think about it, you are definitely going to retire, your toil is going to come to an end. Will you like to end on a good note with a smile on your face, on the sands of Hawaii? Or a yacht on the Atlantic Ocean? Or…let me hold it. How do you effectively retire in safe hands? How do you choose the age to retire deciding you will not go back? That is totally dependent on you. My dad should have written this post but he’s handed down the mandate, so I shall do my best to do justice to it. If you have a different opinion, kindly drop it in the comment section below. Kindly feel free to share this post.
What is retirement? I’m sure you are thinking about grey hair already? It is simply the withdrawal from one’s active working life. This gives people the opportunity to start a full time business venture using their free time, travel or take care of their health. However, it is important to take note that not everyone will have the chance of retiring early, because family and societal responsibilities can disrupt their best- laid retirement plans.
The standard retirement age varies from country to country but it is generally stated 50 – 70 years. Some happy people who have realized they have enough money may choose to retire earlier than planned. But how much money is too much money? A famous sage will ask.
Nothing is certain in life, but if you have been successful at your career and saved steadily into your retirement fund, that becomes a close- call decision that is largely dependent on you. Success here becomes a personalized definition, however the most important factor here is self-actualization.
Retirement funds, also known as pension funds, are investment options that allow an individual to save a certain portion of their income for their retirement. These funds in return offer a regular source of finance after one retires. I remember a patient complaining bitterly her son had requested she buy him a car using her retirement benefits. Totally a No-No! This retiree receives annuity from their insurance company on their investment until their demise.
What factors do you consider before you retire? Multi- million dollar question! Can you just jump straight into retirement when you start earning huge sums of money after working for a couple of years? This implies you are likely to have a smaller social security benefit. After you have been able to afford all the luxuries in life? This becomes a drain to your retirement savings. After you have paid off all your debts and ensured the future of your children is secure? What do you consider security? Probably creating investment accounts for them and entrusting them in their name, with adequate financial knowledge to manage the money.
Retirement planning is hence essential and should be considered by almost everyone at an early stage in their professional life. I remember the first professional seminar we attended after being inducted successfully as doctors. We were elated by the mere fact we were going to be income-earners, however our faces turned sour when our attention was drawn to the fact we had family and social obligations to fulfill, and a reputation to build. The ‘Dr’ at the beginning of your name offers you a spot at every high table. The ‘Picantos’ and ‘Matizes’ are not your calling. The under the tree wedding can not be your portion.
A quote by Joe E Lewis states “You are only young once, and if you work it right, once is enough” but you are only as young as the last time you changed your mind. It becomes imperative you consider post retirement life as a journey to get away from the struggles in life and spend your sunset years in calmness and peace without bearing any financial burden.
Calculating your retirement corpus is the first step towards retirement planning. It requires you make some educated guesses, save as much as you can and invest as well as you can. The earlier you start, the more money you will save and similarly, the better investments you do, the bigger your investment corpus becomes. Simple rule of law.
To begin, split your current monthly expenses into two and draw up a list of your total expenses. My mum usually budgets by writing in her diary her expenses before the next month starts. In the back of your mind, consider regular expenses such as maintenance, clothing and utility bills. These are expenses that will continue even after retirement. Experts recommend you should be pragmatic as you calculate your total expenses, by zooming into the future to bear in mind your medical expenses are likely to go up during old age. This may nullify your hard earned savings.
Next, begin to talk to financial advisors and identify how you could tailor your wants to meet your expenses. If you have probably had a luxurious life from infancy, it becomes difficult to suddenly switch to a thrifty lifestyle on your path to independence. These advisors could help you identify the corpus you wish to build by understanding your financial goal. Remember your spouse when making these goals because she might have a goal of her own and that is totally acceptable. The goal is to achieve financial stability collectively in old age. Bear in mind, everyone’s needs and wants are different, so try not to replicate your peers and friends.
Warren Buffet once stated “The best investment you can make is the one you can’t beat, can’t be taxed and cannot be taken from you.” That investment should be in you. Aggressively chase your goals and work on your talents. Don’t stop until you win. Be relentless! Move from Good to Great to Unstoppable. There are times you may feel down, but visualize the thin line on the pulse monitor. It only plateaus when you die.
Make sure you are diversified and invest in your growth. Read books, do short courses and be industrious. In your early life, consider a sound mix of bonds, mutual funds and other assets that fit your risk tolerance and liquidity needs. Use your skills, talent and energy to gain multiple sources of income. That childhood talent you threw away? Take it up, polish it and enter the growth market. Build a portfolio that can cover your expenses in a retirement that could last more than three decades. Remember that retirement planning is not an old people thing. It is a smart people thing.
Set your retirement goals. What is your retirement dream? Do you plan to spend a bunch of time with your grandkids? Travel all over the world? This gives you a starting point for retirement planning and helps you answer some important questions to make your dream a reality. Push away fear, anxiety and impulsiveness, which are the biggest enemies of investments. Consider self insurance and insure people who depend on you.
Remember, a dream does not become reality through magic, it takes sweat, determination and hard work. Work hard, be kind and amazing things will happen. Get adequate rest and make sure your body and mind are always at peace with themselves.
Finally, consider when you can retire. In Ghana, an old person qualifies for a social security program once he hits the 60 year mark with employment in active service. He is however eligible at 55 years if the working condition is considered hazardous. I know people who retired earlier than that but they did so by easing themselves gradually out of the workforce rather than abruptly. They made sure they had saved enough money to replace the income they received from working.
You will reach that point in your career where your surpluses are from your profit. This could be a person’s capital to start a business. It could also be another person’s tithe. Ultimately, you have to be humble and give to the poor and needy. Spend on yourself and make loved ones happy. Remember retirement is just a never-ending vacation because you have a two six month holiday per year.
Thanks for reading.