Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Some Thought on Retirement Planning

Planning / Preparation for Retirement

When the word “retirement planning” is said, the first thing that comes to many of our minds may be financial planning. I do agree that financial planning is an important part of retirement planning, but it is by no means the only aspect of it. In my humble opinion, there are more other things in a proper retirement planning besides financial planning. In this blog I try to list down things that I feel are important when one prepares him/herself for the retirement.

Activities Planning
When you retire, you suddenly have all the time with you. Believe me, without activities to keep you occupied, you will be bored to death. The last thing you want to do is waiting for sunset in the morning and sunrise in the evening. Many retirees don’t survive very long, meanly due to this. I recall the principal from my son’s primary school, an elderly scholar whom many respected. He passed away in less than a year after retirement. So ask yourself what you want to do after retirement. Touring round the globe is a costly affair is tiring and cannot be taken as a long term activity. Some daily activities such as exercises, hobbies, social work, voluntary work etc. will help to keep your mind and body occupied. Intellectual activities such as reading, board games help to keep your mind alert and prevent dementia. Or you may want to pick up some new skills or knowledge. In Western Countries, many retirees go back to universities to fulfill their dreams. So ask yourself: What do you plan to do when you retire?

Community/Relationship Planning
Have you ever heard some people say: “When I retire, I will sell away everything here and go retire in …..”? That for me is not an option. To me, one must stay connected with the community or at least a group of good friends after retirement. So if you are seriously planning to retire in a foreign country, it is best to migrate well before you retire. In that case you can build your link to the community and be prepared.

During the retirement years, it is important to have friends who can carry out certain activities with you. This can range from going tours together, playing games together, to having afternoon tea together, etc. Friends are important in retirement, and true friendship can only be built over long times. So start building your relationship now.

Psychology/Attitude Planning
Retirement is a big change. When you are working, you may be the CEO, manager, HOD ….etc. The moment you retire, all these titles cease. You become “just” a retiree. All the social status that comes with the job disappears. There are many who cannot come to term with this change and become depressed or disappointed. Many people derive their worth from what they do, their job or job status. So when they retire they feel that they become worthless. One has to prepare himself for this change from working adult to retiree.

Remember, to retire is NOT to become worthless or useless. You just have more time in your hand and can do your own planning, do the thing according to your own priority. You no longer work according to others schedule but your own.

Financial Planning
A lot has been said on this and I cannot add much to it. I do believe that in today’s Singapore, “金钱虽不是万能,但没钱是万万不能”. Retiring from your job or business means that your regular income ceases. Therefore it is important to be financially prepared. Unless you are being forced by circumstances to retire, it is worth doing the financial planning. I always advise my younger colleagues to start planning as early as they can for two reasons: 1, The effect of compounding interest; 2. No one knows with certainty how long he or she can still work.