Meeting the end vs. Making ends meet.

For most people, except the Star Trek fans, it is not space, but retirement that is the final frontier.

Retirement is that finishing tape at the end of life’s marathon, a sort of invisible line between the bondage of “having to” and the freedom of “not having to”. But, instead of retirement becoming an adventure of fascinating discoveries or explorations into personal creative talents, for many it simply becomes the beginning of the end.

It is a time of financial uncertainty and fear. Have I made enough provision? Will I outlast my money? Why didn’t I save enough? What if I get sick? Can I afford the medical aid?

For the great majority of South Africans there will not be enough gold in the pot at the end of the retirement rainbow, and therefore they must carry on working to the bitter end. This is often made out to be a fate worse than death – but is it?

As a young impressionable man in the financial services industry I can remember attending a cocktail party to celebrate the retirement of one of the top brass who had faithfully served the company for fifty years (yes, fifty loyal years!). Six months later everybody was again gathered together for his funeral!

The pension was hardly dented and his widow could thereafter enjoy a paltry 50% of it.

Of course one should not formulate a theology on retirement from one situation, but it is an example that has provided many repeats over the years and one cannot avoid being influenced by such events. Of course, some people overcome the problem by not saving anything!

Rather, what it seems to indicate is that one should not stop working – either carry on if you enjoy it or, where possible, change jobs. After all, in these modern days, the 65 year olds generally don’t look it and most will admit to not feeling it either!

One of the most valuable commodities in the work place is a thing called experience to which one could sometimes add the extra ingredient of wisdom. This has particular relevance to the South African situation, where there is a paucity of skilled personnel in strategic industries, and most sensible employers are only too willing to offer consultancy contracts to valuable retirees.

Longevity is not necessarily based upon financial security or family DNA but on having a worthwhile purpose.

So what wise advice could we leave our young space cadets?

Firstly, start a retirement funding plan as soon as possible and diligently stick to it. Secondly, to enhance your marketable value, acquire all the education and skill that you can possibly muster and finally just accept, whatever your circumstances, you never actually had a say in the selection of your parents and family!

Source: ITInews – Insurance Times and Investments Online