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 ConnectNigeria_Retirement-Plan   “I am young, energetic and I’m living life to the fullest now… ” might be the excuse that played in your mind when you saw the headline, but you clicked it anyway so your heart is still in a pretty good place! Some young wonderful minds think “being forever young” is a given and that although no one lives forever, there is more than enough time to think about the future when the future starts to matter. This is the illusion of time playing games with your mind because before you know it, you will look back to see that twenty years have just walked right in front of you without you doing anything about it. A Chinese proverb which we should all be familiar with and which I have grown to love goes thus: ‘The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.’ Why should I plant this retirement tree now, you might ask. We have seven reasons here to persuade you to start planning for your retirement NOW!
  1. Financially secured future: The exact amount you would need for a financially secure future is quite hard to predict and if you look forward to living a well-rounded life, you would want that life to be lived in a healthy and safe manner. In this case, the last thing you want to worry about during these golden old years of your life is money after you are years out of work.
  2. Pay Yourself First: Many think that spending their monthly salary is what living a large life is all about. It is quite the opposite. Think of it this way. Let’s say you are paid N100,000 monthly and you spend N70,000 out of it every month. You would have had a wonderful experience spending, but you have in reality just paid others your money because what is left that belongs to you is N30,000. In reality, expenses never reduce because you realise that next month, you will spend more than you spent last month, reducing the amount that really belongs to you. See the savings culture as you paying yourself first and don’t pay yourself a minute amount of 5% because you deserve more than that. Start with 20% of your monthly salary and see how much you would have paid yourself in a year.
  3. Financial discipline: Financial discipline will be a great addition to you in the long run. Planting your retirement tree will allow you to reduce your expenses according to your needs and according to’ priority levels, increasing your chances of a better future.
  4. Starting early is not too early: Take for instance that at the age of 25, you start saving up an amount of N25,000 monthly for your retirement. Many might consider this age too early, but compare this wise chap/lady to someone who starts saving up for retirement at the age of 35 with the same amount at the same monthly pace, and you’ll discover that for both of them at the age of 70, starting early is a wise choice. In order for the person at the age of 35 to catch up in savings with the person at the age of 25, he/she will have to save more. So for your desired future, starting early is not too early.
  5. Responsibility to posterity: It is your responsibility to make sure that beyond the education, you can offer those coming behind you the choice of a secured future too. It means at your old age, you should be able to give or assist your offspring in any way they require and not have them run away from you because of your demands for money. Knowing that those you will leave behind are secure because of the wise choices you made at a very young age will make your old age more fulfilling.
  6. Early retirement: If you start saving for your retirement early, you can make the decision to retire early. However, to retire early you would need to increase your level of savings from our proposed 20% to 40 – 50%. Don’t exclaim! You can do this with your newly acquired financial discipline!
  7. The power of compounding: It is advisable that you do not plan for your retirement only by saving into a simple savings accounts with the bank. There are so many savings options like the pension plan offered by some notable insurance companies, and savings plans with compound interest with some notable banks. What these savings options have in common is their compound interests, which serve as an icing on your savings cake to encourage your savings culture. If you are the more financially aware, risk taking kind of person, you can go into buying shares and selling bonds of different kinds. Just make sure that you are well informed about what applies and what does not.
When you look back at the years you have spent and the grand retirement you have planned for yourself, it is a win-win situation for you. So get ready and start saving! Remember: “It’s by managing your finances that you write the story of your life. You are both the author and the story’s principal character. Resolve to perform what you ought.” – Benjamin Franklin  

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This article was first published on 25th September 2014

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