BY VICTOR AHIUMA-YOUNG
Alhaji Olanrewaju Ishola is a 60 years old retiree the Health Service Commission, Lagos state. He retired in 2011 after 35 years. At a recent interface between retirees under the platform of the Trustfund Pensions Plc, and Trustfund, in Lagos, spoke to Pension and You on his retirement life among others.
How has retirement life been since your retirement?
I am enjoying my own retirement life because I planned for it during the time I was in service. Five years before my retirement I started planning myself; how I would do my things.
After retirement, was your entitlement especially gratuity paid?
I was paid and I receive my benefit or pension as at when due. I am usually paid between the 18th and 24th of every month. The pay it into my bank account. I am very happy with my retirement life because all my children are well educated. They are all BSc holders, only that they do not have jobs presently.
Why are you at this forum (Trustfund interactive)?
I just got an alert on my phone to attend the forum. And we are here, the only thing I learned here is that we should not move from Programmed withdrawal to annuity, because if we do, we cannot come back. It is what we had discussed two years ago that is being repeated now.
How will you compare the Contributory Pension Scheme, CPS with the defunct pay as you go?
Everything is based on planning. It is when you plan that you decide what is good or not. When I got my own bulk money, after retirement, because I retired in February and got my bulk money in August the same year, from that time, I started doing something which has been fetching me something. I do not even know until I get the alert that my money has been paid. I am involved in farming, and I have a small job at a supermarket which gives me money daily.
What is your advice to those in the service?
There is something wrong with the mindset of nearly every civil servant.
They always believe that this job is ‘government job’ and they can afford to do it anyhow. It is when you are in the service that you will be able to plan for your retirement. If you are not playing with the government service, you will enjoy yourself at the end of your life.
When I was in the service, I joined the cooperative society. When I needed money, I would borrow from the society and they would deduct it from my salary. From that society, they bought a land for us, and gave it to individuals; we paid when we were in the service.
And from there, they gave me a loan which we used to start developing the land. We repaid the loan, and that is the house I am living in today. So if you work in a government service and you retire without having shelter, it will be very difficult for you.
I am not asking you to go and steal, but you can plan well with the little you have. If you join the cooperative, they will be deducting your money by themselves, you can be rest assured that you have money somewhere. When you retire, or stop working, they will give you your cheque.
If you collect the cheque before you retirement money is ready, you will be enjoying that money. But if you collect it the same time you collect your retirement money, you are in money. And if you use your head well, you will not join Lagos life with all their Owambe, (partying) if you do, you will fizzle out with Owambe.
When is the right time to start planning for retirement?
You should start planning for retirement from your first day of appointment. You have 35 years ahead of you, at least if they are giving you 30,000, if you save 5,000 every month, you can manage the rest. You should not say because other people are sending their children to private schools, you must send yours to private schools.
All my children went to public schools from primary schools to the universities and I monitored them. I got private lessons for them in their schools. I do not force myself to do what I cannot afford to do. What I am wearing now is N5,000 including the tailoring. I don’t live above my means, and that is what I have taught my children also.