Retirement whether one likes it or not, will by all means happen. So, one must not wait until he or she has been given notice before starting to plan for it. One must plan early.
Retirement has been with human society since the process of industrialisation began and has at times become unacceptable and a source of worry to many people. But as the saying goes, retirement is like death; no one can escape from it.
It is a time in one’s life that brings departure from formal work and regular income, where one gives up active participation in business or occupation due to advance age.
During this time, one takes a back seat from the profession which has all along been the source of income, supposedly to rest and soberly reflect on the past.
In most cases during retirement, the living standard reduces, and along comes problems like finding a new source of accommodation, health related matters and the ability to meet expenses and be in a position to contact friends.
To a large extent, retirement means loss of status, social contact and some friendships, as well as isolation from the occupational world. When one is on retirement, there is the feeling that one is not needed and could, therefore, suffer a low sense of self worth.
When Does One Retire?
This actually depends on the individual. In Ghana, the statutory age of retirement is 60 years. However, there are exemptions; people working in underground operations can retire at 50 years while one can also voluntarily retire before age 60.
The best time to retire is different for everyone. When to retire may depend on factors such as one’s current net wealth, the retirement goals and objectives, retirement income, one’s health, partner and family circumstances. Whatever the case may be, there is a point in time when one would definitely leave active service.
Retirement can mean a number of things to different people. It can be a chance to live the life one has always wanted, and have the freedom and opportunity to do the things one was not able to do during active service.
Retirement does not mean one has to fold the arms and only stay at home. There are numerous opportunities available, such as taking a part-time or contract appointment. One can even decide to go back and study to broaden his or her horizon.
However, in certain professions such as law, accountancy, architecture and medicine, retirement from active government service is the period when they become more established in their own businesses and keep a lot of benefits from their previous experiences.
The interesting aspect of retirement is that, in many cases, during such period, one is old and exhausted, therefore, there is little one can do. This is the more reason why one should remember to do whatever they want to do when in active service.
Research has established that only a few people are able to do something substantial during retirement. Usually, whatever one does in retirement is just for immediate survival and not really towards any future goal.
Physical Body Changes
In retirement, one is already in old age, which comes with numerous challenges – depending on the quality of one’s diet and general care. The hair goes grey, there is weight and teeth loss, wrinkling skin, poor sight and hearing difficulties, stiff joints and many others that decline health.
Old age is also associated with system changes that could bring about diseases such as diabetes, glaucoma and hypertension. Sexually, the aged cannot also be as agile as they would love to be.
We must start planning towards long retirement before it catches up with us. Some people waste all their energies and when it is time to retire, they start panicking. Retirement is like a long distance race; your speed determines how you finish, so, plan early.
Apart from the statutory age of 60 years, one can take an early retirement, depending on the type of job and how much fortune has already been made.
One important thing is that at whatever age one decides to retire, the necessary preparations must be made towards it. And as part of the preparations, ask yourself how much savings you have made and the amount of money you are going to live on weekly, monthly, or yearly.
Would that money come from your pension or other investments? Be sure of the source of income before embarking on retirement. Remember that one retires from active work but not from other social activities and expenses. Money usage will continue while on pension and therefore one will still have to look for money while on retirement.
Apart from the SSNIT Pensions, there are a lot of other pension schemes one can invest in while in active service. So, make the enquiries early and join the one that interests you. Remember the Chinese proverb which says that “a journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step”.
One of the surest ways to ensure continuous flow of income is to invest in other income generating activities. Among the investment opportunities available are money market operations like treasury bills, treasury notes, certificate of deposit, bankers bonds, government stocks and unit trusts. One can also invest in estates and insurance covers.
Investment & Financial Planning
Financial planning is the process of identifying lifetime goals and determining the level and proper management of financial resources needed to accomplish these goals.
It involves first identifying your personal goals, developing investment objectives to achieve them and developing plans for each goal’s strategies. Financial resources are essential to accomplish many of the goals individuals have.
Another issue is whether one would be able to start his or her own business. If the answer is yes, then one needs to prepare adequately towards it, with the understanding that it takes courage, determination, planning, vision and foresight to establish one’s own business.
Retirement is not punishment. In most organizations when one is asked to go on retirement, he or she gets annoyed with whoever signed the letter. They forget that they gave their date of birth when they were employed and the records show they have reached 60 years. Everyone knows his or her retiring date, so, that day should not come as a surprise.
While on retirement one must be prudent in managing their finances. It is a period of scarce financial resources so one need not behave like when they were in active service. Plan your life based on your monthly pension and income from your other investments. Avoid situations that would waste your funds.
As part of the preparation towards retirement, issues like where one is going to stay should be given serious consideration. Many people wait until they are on retirement before they start thinking of building a house. Such decisions are wrong because in most cases pension gratuity is not enough to build a house.
Many retirees have done that and ended up not being able to complete their projects. Even where the projects were completed, the gratuity got exhausted and life afterwards became very difficult. Building a house is a gradual process which should not wait till retirement period.
There are some men who marry new wives as soon as they go on pension and collect their benefits. Many of such marriages do not last; they collapse when the money is exhausted. Besides, advanced age doesn’t put much spark in a marriage.
It must be noted that anybody who continues to pay rent after age 50 and continues to give birth at that age, when he is not already wealthy, is likely to face financial problems.
Life after pension should be given a high premium. Whatever the plans are, one must ensure that he or she builds good contacts for that.
Ensuring good health is also essential. Presently, health insurance operates in Ghana and whoever is preparing towards retirement must not forget to register with the National Health Insurance Scheme for easy access to medical facilities.
Retirement can be boring and boredom comes with its own problems. Get involved in social activities. A healthy lifestyle that includes nutritious diet and regular exercises are also essential.
Tobacco use and alcoholism cannot be the retiree’s friend. A lovely partner crowns it all as he or she helps to sustain peace at home. Any retiree whose home competes with a boxing arena is bound to die early.
And let us also strengthen the relationship with our children before retirement. Don’t forget your neighbours, they can help ease the boredom.
There is always a decline in one’s level of activity as the years go by, even before the retiring age. So, at a particular point in time, one has to leave the stresses and strains imposed on us by our regular jobs and chart a new path that is more compatible with advanced age and its related weaknesses.
Don’t be afraid of retirement.
It’s good for you. Just plan it well and embrace it when the time comes. Rest successfully too.