Are you ready to retire?

Life is you walking into your office one morning and your secretary telling you that the boss wants to see you. The boss greets you warmly and goes straight to the point, ‘I hope you remember that you are retiring this year, Mr Phiri’. You look at her, mouth agape, because you knew you would one day retire but you are not quite ready to face the future without your salaried job.

What am I driving at? Simple – the need for proper retirement planning as age is catching up with us. Whether you are on a salaried job or running own business, believe you me, there will be a time in life when you will not be able to effectively apply your talents and skills with the same perfection with which you do now. Your employer will then have to replace you. However, with proper advance planning, you will be able to sustain the good life you are having now with your salaried job even when you retire without looking up to your children for support.

The prospect of a comfortable retirement is like the proverbial carrot dangling in front of us, encouraging us to keep going in hopes of a future reward. The only difference is that, unlike the carrot that is always just too far away to reach, a comfortable retirement is actually attainable.

While this is encouraging, achieving your retirement goals will not happen automatically. As with most other things, the two key things that you need to do are to plan ahead and to follow through with your plan.

Unfortunately, there is no retirement planning resource, including this one, that will provide you with the self-discipline and self-motivation you need to achieve your retirement goals. Only you and you alone can determine how important retirement is to you and what you are willing to sacrifice to achieve it. I can, however, provide you with the information and tools you need to understand retirement planning issues. Based on this information, you can then create a retirement plan that works for you.

It may be hard, but it’s an absolute necessity to consider how you will support yourself (and anyone else you need to support) during your retirement. With people living longer due to improved health and retiring earlier, you may end up spending as much as a third of your life in retirement. It may be unsettling to think of yourself as growing older, but it is frightening to think about living without your current pay check for 20 or 30 years of retirement. Even if you manage to save some money, you should still consider whether it is enough to provide adequate support in an unpredictable economy for 20 to 30 years.

Once again, nobody can guarantee you financial independence following retirement. To help make your retirement dreams a reality, I will in the coming week or two discuss how to take stock of what you have and what you will need for your retirement; we will discuss the various available options for you to start saving money for retirement. Not only will we learn about each type of retirement plan, but we will also learn the pros and cons of each; we will discuss the special situations or considerations that may impact retirement planning. We will not only warn each other of the most common situations, we will also discuss what you need to know to get through them.

Blessed weekend to you and yours!

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