So many people are looking forward to retirement only to find out that it is not the “golden years” that they expected. Planning ahead of time is the only way to ensure a happy retirement.
Although financial planning is probably the part of retirement planning with the greatest influence, it is by no means the only one. It is as important to become emotionally and physically prepared for retirement.
Importance of planning ahead
The support landscape in South Africa has changed dramatically since the last century. It has become very important for all South Africans to maintain independence for as long as possible. Yet, according to statistics, by the age of 65, of every 100 people who are now 25 years old:
- 35 will already have died
- 10 will be on a state pension
- 20 will still be working
- 30 will be financially dependent on their families
- Only 6 will be financially independent.
A state pension today (2010) amounts to R850 per month – hardly a life-sustaining sum!
People today live longer than ever before. Centenarians will be common in the years to come but the question remains: what will be their quality of life? The best policy to ensure a quality life is to start while still young by living a healthy lifestyle, planning for sufficient funds and working on one’s emotional and spiritual wellbeing.
Apart from living longer, people nowadays also tend to retire earlier, leading to an extended retirement period.
Pre-retirement years are most important
The last couple of years before retirement are the most important ones in which to review and adapt your retirement planning according to your own circumstances and expectations. This is the time to take stock of your expected needs and to compare them with your expected income.
Both partners in a marriage should participate in the planning because the wife’s life expectancy is longer than that of her husband.
Where to start
Use the five points below to draw up a list of your own goals for the retirement years. Add some of your own.
- Decide on the type of life you want to lead once you retire.
- Do you want to travel the world, refurnish your house, move to a place at the coast?
- Take a good look at your health. Is it likely that you will need extra health care at or shortly after retirement? If you are placing yourself at risk with unhealthy behaviour, remember that it is never too late to replace bad habits with healthy ones.
- Cultivate relationships outside of your workplace and make new friends apart from your colleagues. Once you retire, you will see less of these people and more of family and friends.
- Cultivate an interest in things other than your work. After retirement (and having done all the outstanding household chores!), people often find it difficult to fill their time meaningfully.
- Prepare yourself emotionally for a changed role in life.
Our Employee Wellbeing Programme (EWP) is available 24 hours a day if you want to know more about retirement planning. Call us on our EWP number or email us at
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