Wednesday, July 29, 2009

ABC to a secured Retirement:

by Christopher Pua 29 July 2009
What does Retirement means to you?
Some dictionary defines retirement as follows:
retirement [ri-tahyuhr-muhnt] Show IPA
  1. the act of retiring or the state of being retired.
  2. removal or withdrawal from service, office, or business.
  3. the portion of a person's life during which a person is retired.
  4. a pension or other income on which a retired person lives: His retirement is barely enough to pay the rent.
  5. withdrawal into privacy or seclusion.

To you and me, retirement may mean one or more of the above or something totally
different. Some may see retirement as a final departure from their 9 to 5 job. Another
may want to continue working maybe at another capacity or in a volunteer
organization, yet another may wish to spend his or her retirement years travelling
with loved ones, meeting up with old friends, spending more time in their hobby or
looking after their granchildren.
Whatever it is, it's entirely up to your imagination, your desire and your physical and
financial ability. I remember when my father in law retired some 11 years back when
he turned 55. My mother in law whom has been a housewife since she was married
to my dad, could not adapt to seeing her husband lazing in the couch the whole day
doing nothing. She tried her best trying to nag at him to go back to work, but he
didn't budged. After about 2 years of trying, she finally gave up and resolved in her
that he isn't returning to the work force. Now they have learned to live with one
another, watching tv together, traveling on a bus to different parts of Singapore to
explore delicacy from different hawker centers and restaurants. And once in a while
pop by their sons' and daughter's home to visit their grandchildren, they are enjoying
their golden years.
ABC of a secure Retirement
Research shows that when a person comes to their retirement age, there are 3 things
in their life that would become more important to them:
1. To have constant streams of money during their retirement years: Annuity
2. To have a healthy lifestyle, good, mental, physical and spiritual health: Body
3. To have good relationships with their loved ones and friends: Companion
That's why I have titled this article the ABC of a secure retirement.
A for Annuity
Is money or income important during your retirement years? You bet, If you think
that when the time comes, everything will take care of itself, you are in for a big
surprise. Guess what if you did not plan for your retirement, and did not manage
your finances well during your working years, you will have no finances to manage
when you retire. And if you think your CPF will be sufficient to see you through,
think twice. The new CPF Life scheme may give you a good start with your first
annuity plan, it is usually not enough to see you through your monthly expenses.
I heard from one of my friend who is in his senior years, he said:" when you are
working, and have a family, which day of the week do you spend the most?" I said:
" I guess that would be the weekend, or Sunday." Then he said to me: " When you
retire, everyday is a Sunday." I thought it was quite funny but when I think harder,
it is true, you will see that everyday you spend in your retirement years, you will be
spending money on a daily basis, and if you have opt to stop work completely, there
is no income but out expenses. So, as a financial planning, I have always advise my
client to start working on their retirement planning. Be it a small plan or a big one,
at least you set the ball rolling.
So, why is annuity so important when we retirement? It is important and you should
make it your top priority when it comes to your asset allocation, because this
financial instrument will be able to give you a lifetime monthly payout for as long
as you live, let me repeat that, for as long as you live, got it? If you were to put this
money into an annuity plan over 10 years before you retire, it could give you an
annual payout of $6000 per year for as long as you lived from the 11 years onwards.
And after you have passed on, there will still be a residual sum to be given to your
loved ones.
So, the bottom line is, an Annuity plan will protect you against outliving your
resources, because the drawdown monthly payout is for your lifetime. In this sense,
you will be rest assured that you will be able to receive a constant stream of income
during your retirement years.
B for Body
Next, your body, mind and soul would also be an important area for you to put your
focus and attention on. As the proverbs says, Health is wealth. We need a healthy
body, a sound mind, and a peaceful soul at all stages of our life, not just during or
retirement years. But as we all know, when we age our body and mind would start to
age as well. I've read an article about an interview with our Minister Mentor Lee on
how he heed the sign on his aging body and begin to change his living habits, quitting
smoking in his late 30's, cutting down on consumption of alcohol, going for regular
jogs etc.. Likewise, we should all follow his footstep, don't stop exercising. If you can't
do what you used to be doing previously, do something that you enjoy and are able to
cope with. Stay active, stay engage with your friends, community, loved ones. Seek your
own solace, to find inner peace thru meditation, prayer etc. Keep your mind sharp, read,
engage in conversation with your friends, your children, volunteer. Whatever it is, keep
yourself busy and continue to contribute in your capacity and gifts and talent that
God has given you. You will become more fulfilled, happy and energetic.
C for Companion
And finally, we must not neglect our loved ones. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying
not to neglect them when you have retired, you should do that, but more so, now
and everyday. Because human relationship is like a garden, we need to sow the seeds,
tend to the garden, prune it once in a while, nurture it with our love and care and all
this takes time, effort and sacrifices. If you are not tending to your garden right now,
it may become a wilderness by the time you are looking for the garden. Tend to your
garden with love. Next, start making new friends again when you reach your retirement
years, because you will find that some of your old friends may meet our creator before
we do, so if we do not continue to make new friends, our circle of friends will continue
to shrink day by day. We are not an island, we are created to be an interactive and
interconnected being, so we need friends and companionship.
Take on this new stage of your life with great enthusiasm and hope. Because many
of us are always waiting for the day we retire. so, if you have planned well for it, enjoy
every moment of your golden years.
I hope this ABC steps will help you in planning for your dream retirement. God bless.

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