With the fast pace and immediate needs of day-to-day life, we often neglect to think about where we see ourselves in the years to come. A negative consequence of this behaviour is that it keeps us from effectively planning for our future. Take a minute now to think about those golden years after you‚Äôve turned 65. How do you see yourself? What do you want to be doing? With several expenses currently demanding your attention, not to mention a lifestyle to upkeep, these questions may seem trivial but are extremely important if you‚Äôd like to maintain or improve your current lifestyle in later years.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), life expectancy in Trinidad and Tobago, as at 2018, is 68 for men and 76 for women. With the official national retirement age being 65 and some taking early retirement at 60, it means that many of us, especially if we‚Äôre lucky enough to live a longer than average life, will spend several years without the same income level and lifestyle to which we‚Äôve grown accustomed. Think about your daily life ‚Äď your weekend routine, your entertainment activities, hobbies and even eating habits; these all require funding from your current income. With retirement, this income disappears and so too will your lifestyle.
‚ÄėRetirement‚Äô need not be a negative word. However, as much as we‚Äôve seen many of our older population accepting ‚Äėretirement jobs‚Äô to meet expenses, having to rely on family members to survive or simply being unable to enjoy life the way they wish they could, with the right planning from today, retirement can be the reward for years of hard work rather than a punishment for getting older. So how do we ensure a future of dream vacations or bucket list completion? Fortunately, there are a few ways to do this and a number of resources at your disposal to help.
Several companies offer an opt-in pension plan that, once joined, automatically allocates a small percentage of your salary to your personal pension. This is one of the most common and sound methods of retirement planning, yet many employees fear that the amount taken from their salary will significantly impact their current income. While everyone‚Äôs financial situation is different, chances are that the amount taken for your pension will have a much smaller impact than you‚Äôd expect, while having a great benefit to your future. This type of pension is also separate from your government pension, which can be unsustainable and should not be relied upon as your sole source of retirement savings.
Investing can also be extremely beneficial to funding your retirement and is known as one of the best ways to financially secure your later years. There are a number of ways to invest as well, with Mutual Funds being one of the easiest and least expensive forms, requiring relatively little funding and investment knowledge. Depending on the method and strategy used though, investments can meet both immediate and long term financial goals, so it is important to discuss your financial goals with your broker early on, to get the best advice on meeting your needs.
As retirement is a fundamental part of life, most banks offer specific savings accounts that are geared towards helping you set aside money for this purpose. These savings accounts usually come with benefits such as tax deductions, higher rates of interest or additional benefits such as life insurance coverage. These accounts also often have attached penalties aimed at keeping your savings untouched, emphasizing the point that they are meant for long-term savings and not accessed daily. Setting up a standing order to deposit a small amount every month can be a great, hassle free way to maintain and grow this type of account.
Regardless of method used however, having the right mentality towards retirement is the foundation of proper planning, especially because both regular and unplanned expenses get costlier and more frequent as we age. Being disciplined with saving, thinking positively about the future and developing a sound plan enables you to tackle these expenses, while also giving you the ability to shape your retirement as you desire, ensuring golden years are met with a smile.