Someday, Retirement. What Then? There are several dimensions to the retirement plan conversation. This is just one of them. In subsequent pieces I will be discussing several others and elaborating more on the topic.
For today, I will be focusing on pensions as it relates to a retirement plan.
What is a retirement plan?
To me that’s an insult. I don’t want to hear anything about retirement because I am actually retired – technically, at least. I stopped paid employment two years and three months ago and I haven’t slowed down a bit. I love what I do; I am one of the few privileged people who get paid doing what they would do for free anyway.
So what is a retirement plan?
And this is not because I am a ‘millennial’ (I really dislike labels and related stuff); I understand that this generation only lives for today – at least for the most part. ‘They’ live and act like today is all there is to life – and really, who can blame them? There’s so much to do out there, so much information flying around faster than the speed of sound (or maybe the speed of a megabyte) and to slow down has a lot of implications.
No matter what we do, however or how we live, we’re going to grow old and grey. It’s as inevitable as tomorrow, unavoidable as seeing with your eyes. So it’s only smart to make plans for that inevitable tomorrow.
I don’t ever want to stop writing; I don’t ever want to be alive and be unable to put words down. It – writing – is more than a livelihood for me now; it is my life. I mean that literally and figuratively, so to stop writing is to stop living as far as I’m concerned. Interestingly, however, another implication of growing old is slowing down, whether you like it or not. I hope to still be as nimble as I am now forty, fifty – sixty years from now, but let’s face it – some things will change.
What happens then?
My last office had a pension plan for staff but typically most of us turned up our noses at it. Of the twenty-something people on staff, only three people (if I remember correctly) signed up for it. The rest of us turned it down because it meant a certain sum would be taken out of our pay monthly – and we didn’t like that idea. We need(ed) all the money we could get.
My dad used to tell me to “run around now so you can play later” when I was a lot younger. And now, when I keep late nights and he complains, I just remind him what he used to say. I hear him laugh and he just surrenders.
So, what is a retirement plan?
Not everyone is as fortunate as I am to have a career/vocation/job like mine; the kind of work I can do from anywhere – a BRT bus/bus stop, a toilet, a Keke Napep, the Transcorp Hilton penthouse. Literally from anywhere. It also means I do not have to run around; these days I mostly work from the comfort of my home or at any workstation of my choosing. So what happens to that person whose vocation requires physical strength when he no longer has the option or ability to do heavy lifting/carrying or pounding?
That is one of the scenarios where a retirement plan comes in.
It’s nothing elaborate; it’s as simple as just setting aside a certain amount of money every month. The amount is determined by you so you do not need to be frightened. Just ask your bank – I’m sure they have a pension plan for their interested clients.
I could recommend some quite efficient banks that have successfully conquered the pension industry, but I am not paid to do that so. But trust me, take out that money, talk to a professional and set something aside for your future. Tell me, how would you like to be able to afford a trip to almost anywhere in the world for you and your spouse in your seventies?
Sounds cool, no?
So go ahead. Make that fantasy a reality – and in the long run, you will come back and thank me. I guarantee it.