Mr. Alabi Joseph voluntarily retired from the Federal Civil Service as an Assistant Director in 2000. In this interview with Stocks watch, Alabi explains the need for pre-retirement planning by workers and why pension should be the last source of income retirees can think of relying on. Excerpts:
How has your experience been since you retired?
I was in the Federal Public Service and voluntarily retired in 2000. Since then, I have had a nice experience of being in government and now in retirement.
For me life has been good because I did not do what the society normally does because my belief in life is that nothing happens by chance. I prepared for my retirement adequately as I ventured into business six years before I retired; and I was making enough money from my business before retirement.
I did not just retire and made the mistake waiting for gratuity or pension. The situation is difficult sometimes because when you retire, you’re not paid your gratuity and you’re starving which leaves you in debt and then you can’t live well again. But I didn’t encounter that terrible experience because I prepared well.
What are you doing now in retirement?
I have a new career now. My pension has not been paid for seven years now and I don’t care and I don’t need it. For the past seven years, I have not been paid pension because NICON Insurance insured our pension but they have stopped paying and I didn’t go there to complain because I have other serious things to do.
Therefore, I am totally okay, I have a second career. I teach in a secondary school, I teach in a university and I also have a business consultancy firm. So I am now working full time, and to be sincere it is making me productive and taking my mind away from a lot of trouble that idleness as a retiree will cause to me.
What is your advice to workers that are about to retire in Nigeria?
When you are in service, what you are paid sometimes is not enough. To make matters worse, some people now stay and do nothing and by the time they retire, they are not doing anything, no business no investment which often result in regret. Even when they are given N10 million as gratuity it will be blown off.
Therefore people should prepare five years minimum before they retire so that they won’t be relying on pension which I just see as a bonus. Therefore, if you get it, you’re lucky, if you don’t get it so be it, one could still live a decent life. Pensioners can work till 80 years after retirement if they’re healthy. Looking for a second career is the best plan.