Health they say is wealth. There is indeed to truer statement than this even in retirement. In other words, poor health in retirement is tantamount to poverty. What is the need of a good car without good health to drive or a mansion well furnished but you are mostly found on the two and half sized hospital bed? Waking up, walking yourself to the bathroom and spending time with yourself in the shower or the Jacuzzi singing or meditating is a glorious way to live than being carried to the toilet by Carers.
Spending your last stage on earth in old peoples’ home is not the best. Requesting for the kind of food you would love to eat and the appetite to take no matter how little independently on your own is more befitting than being spoon fed. Gray hair that combines with complete set of teeth at old age can make ageing desirous.
All these can and will only be achievable if you plan well by coordinating your lifestyle from today. Good health into the future does not just happen. It requires adequate planning as an integral part of the retirement process.
We have over time consciously focussed on different challenges relating to retirement on this column. Of course there are so many more challenges there are to be further discussed. Knowing full well however, that there’s no challenge without solution, let us tilt our minds towards that, as we strategise on how to develop workable plans and principles that will sweatlessly deliver retirement into our door steps regardless of who we are or what we are currently engaged in be it personal business, government or private employment.
What I intend to do is divide the discussions into different parts based on the due date of retirement because sincerely, the principles and plans to imbibe by someone who has five or less years of active work life would be different from that of someone that is just starting up in employment however, all cadre of planning would be taken care of over time but then, whatever might be the topic of discussion or the group or age bracket that might be addressed at any point in time, those in other group or age bracket can also learn in advance for no knowledge as they say, is lost. If you are set, here we go.
(1). SUCCESSFUL PLAN FOR THE SOON TO RETIRE:
If you fall into the categories of those who will be retiring shortly, congratulations for getting to this point in your life and career such that you can number the years, months, weeks or even days you’ve got left to actively work- in a particular office. Many had fallen by the way side but since you are here at last, proper planning is imperative if your goal is to enjoy the rest of your life in bliss. The followings will guide on a step by step approach.
- YOUR CURRENT AGE: What if I say you that you are the principal factor in retirement? Oh yes, you are hence, the age at which you are retiring is and should be principal consideration in your plans more so that retirement is either a product of specified number of years in service or arrival at certain age thereby suggesting that you might retire early and strong if you started work early; whatever the case might be, your current age and retirement planning would have to go in line with other ancillaries to life, of which how long more you expect to still live- life expectatancy, relative to your current level of assets and liabilities would have to be considered as critical elements of your approach and plan within the last few years to your retirement. We would soon be analysing assets and liabilities in retirement planning and how to handle them but let’s face some realities here first.
- LIVING A HEALTHY LIFE IS A PART OF RETIRMENT PLANNING: Though it is generally believed that the average life expectancy in Nigeria had fallen to about forty five, yet I believe that death doesn’t just kill and I don’t also believe you have a covenant to die early just like I expect to live to a ripe old age myself. To my mind, despite the daily reports of depression around us, leading to suicides and attempted suicides, yet I believe in the possibilities of longevity therefore, an integral aspect of your retirement planning is the plan to live long. Buy why? As the holy books say, this was God’s original plan for man. Consequently, like I earlier postulated, living long to a ripe old age should be an essential factor in your retirement plan. It might sound funny but I feel strongly that it is even possible to forecast one’s personal life expectancy regardless of what the national statistics is saying. You want to know how? Mind your current state of health and living standards as these will determine how long you can still live, leaving the rest in God’s hands. If you are healthy to this period, continue to keep tab on your lifestyle- eat right, sleep right and exercise. In case you are still young, vibrant and might even still have such long years ahead to work, keeping a check on your lifestyle would help a great deal because, most of the ways we live at the younger age do tell when old age begins to creep in hence, I infer that the secret of longer living is living right at younger ages. I’m not a medical expert but then I learnt that eating certain kind of food do cause cancers and some heart related problems, why not stay off such for we are most times killed by our intake. Let me share this with you. I was feeling somehow on my left arm sometimes back so I decided to visit the clinic but incidentally the consultant that do attend to me was on leave so I had to see another who started by wanting to know my medical history beyond what he could read in the file before him. He asked if I drink and my response was that I’ve never tasted alcohol all my life then he wanted to know if I smoke, the response was same. He then began to discuss the fallen stock prices with me apparently having read from my profile that I operate in the stock market perhaps to know how saddened, burdened and apprehensive I have become with the market crash; when he was done with his questions, he unequivocally stated that the chances of me developing heart related challenges are slim if only I take life easy and rest well. You can live long if you eat and live right. Please note that the best to happen to you at retirement will not necessarily be the much money or affluence you are retiring into but the much health you’ve got at your disposal. I knew way back that money is valueless without the health to enjoy it, no wonder they say, health is wealth. It will be wise that as you plan to retire, your health is a key factor, plan it well.
Still dwelling on the relationship between your current age and how long more you can live, you might also take a few minutes off to consider your lineage and see if living long is in your gene. I could recall that my wife and I few years back went to see our then Physician complaining about the growth pattern of our second child; Guess what? The Doctor took a wryly look at me and asked, ‘are you not the father? Just wondering what the Physician had in mind, I answered yes. He asked my wife same question, are you not the mother? She also answered yes. The discussion was concluded when the Doctor looked at us straight in eyes and asked, how well do we want the child to grow at that age? That is the reality of life; we are killed by what is within us than factors without. The same Consultant that attended to me as I earlier mentioned also asked if there’s a history of diabetes and related ailments in family and I guess my no responses all culminated into his conclusions. Someone once said, ‘look at your mother in-law should you desire to know how your wife will look like when she gets old’ so to this end, except in few cases, we all do take after a trend in the family as far as living is concerned.
Even when you notice seeming negative trend in your family tree, you simply work against such in you.
(2) RETIREMENT AND LIVING LONG:
The imperativeness of our discussion so far is to enable you make certain critical decisions years before the actual retirement for example, if you are healthy and expect to live long after retirement; you don’t necessarily need to spend your retirement by staying indoors all the long years watching television and telling tales by the moonlight; for all I know, that can be extremely boring and in fact can lead to early grave so you might need to learn another vocation or sharpen the edges of your current profession few years before the actual retirement. For example, if you are a Banker, you might have to enrol as a professional Stockbroker and spend the rest of your life as a passive stock market operator not necessarily looking for deposits or that huge profit but rather turning around your own funds and that of few of your friends; something more of a hubby than real activities and If you are in the medical or pharmaceutical profession, you might retire as a dispensary chemist or a consultant; if you are religious, it won’t be a bad idea to take up a kingdom assignment for free. To the best of my knowledge, this is the secret of keeping young all life long but you would need to prepare your mind, take the required training and plan long ahead so as not to be confused when the eventual time arrives. This is what I know as the real retirement planning and not just keeping some money aside for a future use only. Please note just like I’ve said in our earlier discussions and I would plead with you to note this fact that pension’s relative adequacy is lowered by longevity. If you live long enough, it would get to a point when your monthly pension won’t just be enough to cater for your needs but let me quickly reiterate here that the type of vocation you might have to get involved in must be relative to your health and can stretch till the period you feel you are now fully tired and would then have to take on full retirement.
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