Five reasons why retirement planning is important

When a sailor charts a course, he/she has a good chance of reaching the destination. There could be many challenges on the journey. For some sailors it is about the destination and for others it is about the journey.

Why not see your retirement planning as a journey. A journey that is about you. About you taking a journey into yourself, into the history of your life. Make it colourful, make it impactful, fill it with love and adventure and make it about a reasonably sustainable lifestyle and adding life to your years. Here are 5 reasons why this journey is important.

First Reason:

When reaching a ripe old age, you will require a monthly income to sustain your lifestyle and daily existence. For this reason, it is prudent and wise to accumulate funds to provide this income when we are no longer able or needed to work. This process is making you financially fit. Just as we should aspire to be financially fit, we should also train to be and remain physically fit. Retirement is not only about money, but of lifestyle. Many of the world’s richest men and women work well beyond the age of 65. This then is a choice or a strategy to continue working.

Second Reason:

So, the second reason to have a plan is that, besides the money, you have to plan to have a continuous purpose. Purpose can be many things and it is different things to different people. A purpose is a reason to wake up in the morning, a reason to walk out the front door, a reason to engage with life, a reason to be alive. A purpose is a major factor in adding life to our years. The rich referred to continue working as they have this driving purpose. A simple purpose is sufficient. No purpose is a disaster. If you fill your life today with purpose, then this habit will be easy to carry across into retirement. Having a purpose usually involves engagement with life, engagement with life is about engaging and interacting with people.

Third Reason:

The third planning factor with retirement is to plan to have community. Community is healthy as we are social beings. A community takes care of its “flock”. In the modern world community is often not immediate family. It is rather fictive kin. Friends who become like family, people we take care of when they are in need and they take care of us in our time of need.

When I was a young and inexperienced financial planner, I ended up advising a Navy Admiral. He lived in Pretoria. I asked when he was moving to Simons Town, my perception being this would be the natural home for a sailor? He responded that we should never retire to a place, we should retire to people. In other words, community is healthy and powerful, community adds life to our years.

Fourth Reason:

The fourth factor on the journey to retirement is to work out what diet and dietary habits are healthy for your body type. There are many ways and suggestions on what to eat and when. Diets fashions and fads come and go. I recall a few years ago the raw diet was all the fashion. After about two years of the “raw” advocates judgement and propaganda, many of them were exposed as not living their propaganda and cooking food regularly. If this extreme diet suits your lifestyle and add life to your years do it. My suggestion is just to be healthy and consistent.

Fifth Reason:

The fifth factor is to have a comprehensive healthcare plan (medical aid). This factor is the most difficult and possibly the most expensive. This could be our biggest challenge going into retirement. Medical inflation has been running way above inflation in South Africa for many years. The compounding impact of this will continue for the foreseeable future. It is becoming imperative to plan for this cost when you stop earning and go on retirement. A medical trauma and its related cost could take life out of our years if we do not have access to great medical care.

Have a strategy for your retirement. Include all the points mentioned. It is a journey. Many things will change over time. Invest in yourself, invest in your community, invest in your health, both physical and mental, invest in assets and eventually reap the rewards in your discipline and sacrifices.

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