Retirement is a privilege, and like all privileges a good retirement is earned. Retirement is a privilege because not all who enter the workforce get to retire. Retirement is also a very emotive issue. To the unprepared it can be overwhelming, a frightening period of life laden with uncertainty.
In an ideal situation, retirement is about much-deserved rest; a time to savour the proverbial fruits of one’s labour, a welcoming of free time to indulge one’s passions, and enjoy relationships fostered over decades.
Sadly, for most people, this is hardly the case. As with every successful endeavour, (and retirement is indeed a most important one at that) to retire successfully, requires conscious planning. We tend to plan for our careers; what courses to take and degrees to obtain and yet for most people, the idea of having to plan for retirement may strike almost as an after-thought.
"A good driver pays attention to the condition of the road; is aware of potential obstacles and opportunities, and with deliberate care and skill, negotiates his way safely home. The journey home to retirement is no different…except YOU are your own driver." - Nii Boi-Dsane, Author
Retirement can be a period of stress, but also of fun and fulfillment, if only one takes care to develop, build, nourish, nurture and strengthen these three supports of health, relationships and wealth, on which success hinges.
The preparation process ideally must start from the first day of employment and with the first set of wages.
Lack of retirement planning is a death-knell. In terms of finance, the result is uncontrolled, frivolous and capricious expenditures, which tend to saddle many with debts. These unmanaged and ever-mounting debts can undermine the retirement state.
With respect to health and relationships, many people fare even worse. Personal health issues tend to play second fiddle to the day-to-day demands of the job, and relationships are run on opportunistic basis often without much deliberate meaningful social and emotional investment.
The fact is that of course people do know what needs to be done. However, often indecisiveness, procrastination and fear of taking risks have had a crippling effect on many and paralyzed even more into a state of inaction, and therefore to look on as the years roll by. The resulting consequences can be dire, even life-threatening.
Yet, for many, instead of tackling the subject of retirement head-on, and rolling out practical remedial measures, the recourse has often been to play the proverbial ostrich and keep avoiding or to postpone the matter time after time as if the issues will somehow resolve themselves. My dear reader, they will not.