What is Retirement to You?

What is Retirement?
By Edmund Lao

Retirement, by definition of Wikipedia, is the point where a person stops employment completely.

Normally, employees retire from work at the mandatory retirement age of 60 to 65 years of age. Retirees have mixed feeling when that day comes. Some view it as freedom from corporate slavery and there are others who view it as the beginning of idleness or uselessness.

The fact is that, whether we like it or not, that day is certain to come. What our condition will be depends on what we do to prepare for it. As a Chinese saying goes: ”The best time to prepare for a calamity is when there is none”.

Personally, retirement, for me, is the day that I get my ticket to have the freedom do the things that I loved . That means that I do not have to trade my time for money anymore. Retirement does not have anything to do with age as it is my financial condition that will determine my decision to end my corporate life. The only reason that other retirees feel tha pain of retiring is because it is already too late that they realized the terror of having no money to support their golden years. There is truth to the second habit of effective people by Stephen Covey: “ Begin with the end in mind”. That is the major reason why a lot of people fail financially. They forgot that in a man’s life there are only 3 stages, which are:

Man at work,
Man and money at work, and
Money at work.

By recklessly spending the money he made on stage 1, he will not be able to reach stage 2 and instead of having LOI, not the former First Lady, but Living On Interest, he is sure to retire broke.

Retirement has to be fun. It is the time one can spend his time with his children and grandchildren and be an asset instead of liability. In the past, I have written about the Two Kinds of Old Age where there are two scenarios of a retired old man, and another related one is The Tired, The Retired and The Re-tired. In both articles, the common denominator is money.

Most of the time, when people are retired by their company and they are unprepared, they feel anger or hatred. I remembered a quote which goes like this: “Love your job, not the company, because you may never know when the company will stop loving you”. Apparently, it is not the obligation of the company to take care of our finances. The company’s obligation is to pay us directly proportional to the services we have rendered. It is therefore our obligation to ourselves to plan for our retirement.

For me, based on experience, retirement planning begins on the first day one get employed. It is his opportunity to build up his funds that he can use to pay for his future.

Below are practical guidelines on how to secure one’s retirement:

-Spend less than you earn now and save more.

-Get better net, after-tax returns on your investments.

-Work longer to earn more.

The key step in retirement planning is to determine what matters most to you and your spouse . Spend a moment now, reflect on your lifestyle in retirement, and think about how it will change from the lifestyle you enjoy today.

Edmund Lao is a Finance advocate from World Financial Marketing Alliance, It’s Time! Investment Savvy Awardee, and a RFP batch 14




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