For most people, retirement conjures up images and feelings of rest, relaxation and general enjoyment of life after years of labour. For many however, the reality when the time comes tends to be rather different. This book aims to present to you, a clear, evidence-based omnibus approach towards preparing for retirement.

The work uses 'straight-talk' to help engender a proactive mindset towards preparing for retirement. I do not claim to have all the answers. However, I do hope that I provide a sound basis for personal reflection, introspection and inspiration to encourage you prepare consciously for that phase of life called retirement.

I have adopted a less academic and technical approach to the subject. Academic publications on this subject and theme are many. It is my belief that the treatment of such a universally important subject must be simple, accessible, and free of obtuse academic and technical jargon. I have therefore, attempted to put the case of preparing for retirement across in very simple terms to connect with the broader mass audience, for whom retirement planning, is a real-life issue.

The book is structured according to the following basic pattern of the acronym, R-E-T-I-R-E-M-E-N-T. The argument is based on three main themes of relationships, health and wealth.

I believe a successful and enjoyable retirement demands three pre-requisites: that one needs robust personal health, good finances and supportive relationships. After all, one does not retire into a vacuum, but into a social context. The quality of one's social relationships is therefore, crucial. But even more critical, is the quality and state of one's financial and personal wellbeing.

Indeed, as with all useful things, good relationships do not just happen, they need to be worked at. Like good relationships, ensuring one's health and wealth are in top shape also requires a conscious investment of time and effort.

The aim of this book is therefore to present relevant facts, analysis, as well as opinions and to share stories from the experience of others, to perhaps engender critical self-reflection and evaluation of where you, dear reader, are on your retirement journey, as against your goals and dreams for retirement and to offer tools and encouragement for necessary purposeful action.

The book thus examines the social context of retirement, and what it means for an enjoyable retirement as well as the foundational contributions and interplay of health, wealth and relationships in the enjoyment of retirement and how these may be achieved.

Finally, it considers strategies for minimizing financial drawbacks to ensure optimal use of retirement resources and explores options for estate planning; the making of a valid will and related issues.

It must be emphasized that these considerations are not disparate but interlinked. They are not meant to be prescriptive, but merely advisory.
The hope is that you, whatever your status, retired or not, will find in the pages that follow, substance to engage with. That would be the fulfillment of my objective.

There's nothing worse than having worked hard, feeling old, tired with nothing to show for it.

Some Pertinent Questions

As you prepare to take your next action steps to secure your retirement, let me ask you a few questions to reflect on:

  • How is my health?
  • Can I rely on my present state of health to enable me do the kind of things I desire to do; to enjoy life as I envisage it? If yes, how am I making sure that I maintain and improve this healthy state of mine?
  • Are my money matters under control?

Can my means meet my needs? If yes, how am I ensuring that this continues to be the case or even better? If not, what is my plan for making sure I am financially able to take care of my business? What savings and investments do I have? Will these be able to stretch enough to last the distance with me on my retirement journey? What will happen if I should run out of cash? What support can I realistically count on? How am I sure that support would be there when I need it? What can I do about this?

  • How about my relationships? Are they in good health? Have I done, and am I doing all I possibly can to make sure that I have and maintain healthy mutually trusting and reliable relationships with the people around me, and especially those closest to me, family, friends, significant others? If not, what am I doing about this? If I have in God's name honestly tried and failed to achieve a workable relationship, what are my options? Indeed, it is wisdom that says, 'It is easier to give birth than to raise the dead.' What does this mean to me? Go out, be vulnerable, start all over again; you are wiser and will be better for it. Failure is never an affordable option.

Success is always cheaper than failure so, refuse to fail, or be made to fail. Resist failure in all its forms and guises with the whole of the might of your very being, your learning, wisdom, body, mind and soul as if your very life depended on it, because it does.

Failure negates everything. It is expensive. Do not accept it. Failure is always a message of not having tried enough yet. It means not having found what works for you yet. One more try may be all that is needed to ring in success. Think about it.

  • Do I need a funeral plan?

Unless you do not care about your very dignity, one would suspect, yes. It means you respect yourself enough to take care of your needs, even unto death and burial. You will either have to save enough money for the purpose, or else, it is wise to take a funeral plan or insurance for the same. Remember I said elsewhere, self-sufficiency never let anyone down. It is called taking care of one's business.

  • Now, and lastly ask yourself, am I truly ready to face retirement? 

If yes, wonderful! If not, please go back, re-read and re-engage with these pages again. If you still feel the same, I urge you to seek emergency help. Please do not waste time, because the next exit on life's broadway after the working entrance is the privilege of RETIREMENT.