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Retirement Planning: Where to start from

You are working hard to build a life for yourself, family and community you live in. This article lays a foundation for retirement planning providing insights into the meaning, relevance and its evolution. It sets pace for  looking into how your life will be in the absence of your job by understudying the “Replace What WORK PROVIDES” Principle. Providing insights into the global and regional retirement trends.  I will specifically cover the following:

  • Retirement definition and insights
  • Relevance of retirement planning
  • Evolution and overview of retirement planning
  • The application of the “Replace What WORK PROVIDES” Principle
  • Retirement trends regionally and globally

Retirement definition and insights

happy, man, africanamerican-7402133.jpgRetirement means "leaving one's routine job and / or stopping to work". Today more than ever before, retirement is a major concern for employers, employees and the already retired.

Traditionally, the major reason for retirement planning was primarily “old or mandatory age.” However, the circumstances for retirement planning have greatly increased to include: restructuring, closure of business, expiry of contracts, physical or mental incapacity, ceasing a political office or any other causes at any time and age.

Literature and experience show that:

a) You need 60-80% of your pre-retirement income to sustain you in retirement; and the majority of retirees do not meet this criterion.

b) Pension and social security are inadequate to meet your basic retirement needs.

c) Physical health challenges are among the topmost concern people think about as they approach retirement.

d) When people are no longer in employment, many tend to be cut-off from their peers, their status is negatively affected resulting into loneliness.

Do these elements ring any bell in your life now and therefore your retirement journey?  But most importantly, literature confirms that financial education enhances retirement planning, saving, investment and a future perspective of life. Particularly, where the knowledge is planned, structured and applied consistently.

Yet, increased financial awareness and broader life-awareness skills are fundamental to the workers' preparation for a better retirement life. This brings us to the relevance of retirement planning.

Relevance of Retirement Planning

senior, man, masculine-2642041.jpgAnything that has a beginning has an end. Anyone who starts a job will finally leave that job. “Retirement is an inevitable part of life”—Rosemary Ssenabulya. Therefore, some of the major reasons for retirement planning are:

  • No one can work forever or remain in employment for his or her lifetime.
  • The life expectancy is increasing; thus, you are likely to stay longer after retirement. sadly, the number of ways people retire have also increased.
  • The need to contribute to running of the family remains whether retired or not.
  • To manage the risk of relying on only one source of income.
  • You continue to incur expenses even when you are not working.
  • When you start early, you have more time to shape your future.
  • There is decreasing reliance on children as a source of retirement security.

Several people think about planning for retirement when it is very late. Planning and investing in retirement require to be intentional and started on the early in your working life when financial responsibilities are possibly low but importantly at a time when you can develop and nurture essential financial and lifestyle habits.

Evolution and overview of retirement planning

elders, retired, people-401296.jpgIt is believed that in the 1800’s many older men toiled to maintain the same level of output and performance at the work places.  According to Golden Reserve— “Necessity is the Mother of Invention.” Traditionally, people would work until they die up-to a time when the life expectancy exceeded the productive life of the workers.

Just to give you a picture, Sharon Basaraba noted that between the period 1500 and 1800, the average life expectancy was between 30 and 40 years of age, thus people worked until they died.   

Relatedly, according to Liz Davidson, 2016 “Retirement is a fairly modern concept with origins in military history. Until the late 1800s, those who had to work to earn their living worked their entire lives. Historians credit the Roman Empire with conceiving the idea of an income that continued after work service by offering pensions to retiring soldiers during the first century B.C”

It was also argued that many workers were largely unprepared to bear the burden and risk of saving and investing to fund their lives after they ceased to work.

Even up today, many employees do not yet fully appreciate the relevance, benefits and risks of not preparing for retirement. Therefore, employers still have a serious duty in preparing their employees for retirement. This is a duty that employers don’t have full knowledge about, but are also limited by financial resource constraints.

It is recommended as best practice for every employee to start thinking about retirement from the first day of reporting on duty. This will empower you to have options, choices and information regarding your retirement journey bearing in mind the circumstances for retirement have significantly changed.

Application of the “Replace What WORK PROVIDES” Principle

france, provence, bicycle-1049333.jpgIn the article by Dee Cascio “Successful Retirement Planning—Replace What Work Provides.” The acronym “WORKPROVIDES” means: Wages, Order, Relationships, Knowledge, Purpose, Recognition, Opportunity, Values, Identity, Direction, Experience and Stability.

This implies that when you successfully plan to retire, you should substitute what you have been benefiting from employment namely: Wages, Order, Relationships, Knowledge, Purpose, Recognition, Opportunity, Values, Identity, Direction, Experience and Stability, in short what “WORKPROVIDES.”

The words assigned to the above letters in the acronym mean for instance you need to reflect on what the presence or absence of wage or salary mean to you; then what about the presence or absence of recognition, stability and so forth.

Reflection on the meanings of these acronym words raise more questions that call for action. Thus, the need to think, plan and take action on the journey to substitute letters in the acronym “WORKPROVIDES” with meaningful words becomes more pertinent.

Retirement trends regionally and globally

Globally

world map, earth, global-306338.jpgMore than 6000 savers in UK, USA and Australia 2021 say: traditional retirement is “over”, retirement savings advice gap is real and employees are crying out for assistance. Source: “The Future of Global Retirement; Discover how savers think about retirement in the world’s most advanced DC pension markets, research report -2021.” Are employers, governments and business people providing the necessary retirement planning knowledge and support? Certainly there are gaps? 

Governments, Companies and NGOs are all moving into contract employment terms. This shift has various implications on:

  • Stability of employment income and cashflow.
  • Pension and social security income stability.
  • What traditionally was a safety net like pension is gradually diminishing from the vocabulary and from people’s expectations.

Regionally

Only 1 in 7 Kenyans believe their savings can keep them secure in retirement. A study by Enwealth Financial Services and Strathmore (2018) revealed. This situation is not different in many developing countries and it is worse in some of the countries. Let's not look at statistics only, you just need to look at the people around you and at your own situation, it will give you a quick perspective. 

Saving & investment for retirement is generally low in developing countries based on low salaries paid given that the proportion saved is normally a percentage of salary earned.

This therefore makes the money available for retirement small. It is worse, if no small saving or investment made at all. 

Conclusion

Good retirement planning is built on a strong foundation. The insights into the retirement meaning, relevance and its evolution is a good starting point. It sets the pace into looking at how your life will be in the absence of your job by understudying the “Replace What WORK PROVIDES” Principle and putting you into thinking of the required actions. The insights into the global and regional retirement trends help you to know where you stand as a community or as an individual. 

Suffice to note is that financial education enhances planning, saving and investment potential.  And that increased financial and broader life-skills awareness are fundamental to the workers' preparation for a better retirement life. 

Watch out for essential elements for managing transition and retirement change.

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