By Victor Ahiuma-Young
PREPARING for retirement has sides to it. This includes knowing the challenges that come with making this important change in life. The only constant thing in life is change. Whether we are willing to accept it or not, the actuality is that life after retirement is a “bend or break” challenge. Once you are aware of the up and coming challenge and you prepare yourself sufficiently, it can be an extremely rewarding period of your life.” Those were the words of Dr, John Adegoke, of Skills Development Limited, Lagos, while presenting a paper on Strategies for managing life after retirement, organised by Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria, ASCSN, for members recently.
In a 17-page lecture, Adegoke gave insight into why people dread retirement, among others; he led his audience into what he termed 10 steps to avoid a retirement crisis.
According to him: “Procrastination can be dangerous; it is always in your advantage to assess your current position and be truthful to yourself about the real situation that you are faced with. If you begin immediately taking steps to shore up your long-term financing, you will not only be able to make up lost ground, but you will feel better about your situation and figure out how much and what you have now. If you are a late starter on retirement planning, you will need to prioritize your own retirement security over other potential financial commitment. To achieve this you need to: Understand which benefits you will continue to receive in retirement from your employer. Work with your employer to clarify the details of your benefits and the decisions that you need to make.
“In order to ensure that you retirement plan is realistic, be objective in assessing all risks and probabilities that can negatively affect your retirement: These include: Living longer than you anticipate. The value of money may diminish due to inflation over time. Poor estimate of your need may deplete your retirement income faster than you think. Inadequate public health and social security systems may mean more healthcare expenses. One of the best ways to ensure long- term financial security is to sacrifice current expenditure and free up money for saving and investment. Map out a detailed plan of your expenses in retirement; this will determine your retirement lifestyle, create an income strategy to cover expenses in retirement incomes
“Estimate your income and expense according to the number of years you expect to live off your savings and determine potentially gaps in your savings cover. It is conventionally believed that retirees will need 60-80 per cent of their pre-retirement income to live comfortably. If you are someone who has no time or aptitude for financing planning, or if you cannot create a retirement plan by yourself, you may want to consider finding a financial planner you can trust. Paying off your debts should be one of the first steps in your financial plan. This is perhaps a difficult suggestion for those contemplating a relaxed retirement, but it is not an option if you need to shore up your personal finance.
The cost of living can vary widely between cities and states in Nigeria. If you are looking to move to a less expensive location for your retirement years, visit the area you are considering and learn about the true costs of the move. Make the bold move from the work place into the next phase of life, knowing that you have planned ahead and taken the crucial steps needed to ensure peaceful and fulfilling retirement.