Do you have a retirement plan? I’m convinced that if I posed that question to you verbatim, you most likely would tell me something like “well, I plan to work till I’m sixty and then quit, after which I want to travel the world, see places and things.”
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Well, the question then is: what are you doing to get there?
But wait first. Do you even realize you’re going to retire someday? The average Nigerian will respond with prayer right about now: “I bind every spirit of retirement in Jesus name! I will not retire o; it is my enemies that will retire.”
That was some humor. The point, however, remains valid. What does the average Nigerian understand retirement to be? When Bill Gates retired from Microsoft in 2008, it wasn’t like he stopped working. He simply stopped being a full-time worker. He remained Chairman and largest shareholder in Microsoft.
The way we act, the way we eat, dress, live, and work is as though we intend to live forever, which in itself is not a bad thing. But we tend to forget that, alas, no one will live forever. As a result, we do not plan for that inevitable slowing down by age or other circumstances.
And that is the problem.
Have you ever seen the pension line at a bank? Trust me, that is not a place you want a parent of yours to be at. Old people who should be resting somewhere, taking life easy and just basically having fun with their children and children’s children are still struggling for their dues, money they worked for. And it would be a lot more comforting if these monies we’re talking about actually ran into millions.
Except you were a politician, what civil service job is available with a pension plan that runs into millions? None?
I thought so too.
They say he who fails to plan plans to fail. And to have a stress-free senior citizen life, it is important that we plan towards it actively. I know that most companies in the private sector have pension plans for their staff. I also know that some of these organizations use this as an excuse to cheat employees and pay them even less.
They probably do it because the government insists on it. But the government cannot monitor where the money goes and so on. It is the staff’s responsibility to confirm that their money is doing what it is supposed to. But when staff does not even know the importance or value of a pension plan, are they not playing along with the very same person who’s cheating them?
No matter how strong or virile one is, there comes a time when slowing down is necessary. That is something no man, woman or child will be able to waive forever. Times like that, it is comforting to know you have something set aside for when running back and forth is no longer possible.
In a previous article about agro-business, I mentioned a friend who has a fish farm and says that is his retirement plan. Yet another friend has a cloth-printing company which he manages, alongside his nine-to-five hustle. They know they cannot keep that life up forever and, therefore, have taken steps to not end up destitute.
I spoke to a number of senior citizens in preparing this article, and you will be surprised to find that a staggering number of them have their retirement plans tied around their children. This may be the practice with our parents and their own parents, but we must realize that things are different now.
We have a self-absorbed generation of youth and it is only going to get worse. Therefore, depending on children you’re yet to have (or have already) is not only a somewhat unfair pressure on the child, but also a disadvantage to you. Many things might go wrong with your expectations. Things might not pan out like you thought they would.
What have you done to prepare yourself for that possibility?
Old age is a law of nature; it is not something to fear or to avoid, but something to be met with steely-eyed realism and prepared for. You are your own retirement plan, so act accordingly.
Here is a good resource on retirement.
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