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To retire now or later?

In My Eyes
By Edward B. Antonio
Retirement is the act of leaving a job or career at or near the usual age for doing so. But is retirement ceasing to do everything?

The bigger question is: To retire now or later?

A survey says majority of Filipinos are strongly in favor of raising the official retirement age in the country, according to results published by Manulife, a Canadian insurance company and financial services provider. Manulife’s Investor Sentiment Index in Asia survey respondents expressed they want to continue to work beyond the age of 60 in order to support themselves as well as their families’ needs.

Survey results showed 64% of Filipino respondents are strongly in favor of increasing the official retirement age. The official retirement age in the country is 60 years old, which is below the Asian average, with most countries in the region setting retirement at 65 years. Also, the company said that with life expectancy in the country significantly higher in recent decades, Filipinos have an increasingly lengthy retirement to save up for.

The survey also highlighted the importance Filipinos place on providing financial security for their families. The largest retirement concern of nearly 70% of survey respondents is their ability to leave an inheritance to children or heirs.

“The survey suggests Asian survey respondents feel strongly that retirement ages have become outdated and should be raised,” Manulife Asia President and CEO, Robert Cook, said.

The survey also said that 60% of Asians expect to work either full- or part-time in retirement, with around 80% viewing it as a way to stay connected and healthy, as well as a source of income. Those surveyed expect to work an average of 6 years beyond the official retirement age in their respective countries.

Come to think of it, fellas.

Others retire early, get their retirement pay and “enjoy life.”

But how can a retiree enjoy life?

“I make myself productive by doing what I have been always doing and that is write, write, write,” says a retired teacher who is now connected with the media.

“I can now concentrate in writing and publishing my own book,” says another.

I absolutely agree with them, fellas, and that is if one retires earlier and becomes busy again in a work less the pressure of the original work.

Manulife said that Asians recognize that there’s a need to work beyond the normal retirement age, in order to make ends meet and to enjoy a higher quality of life that comes with being actively engaged in the workplace and community. The survey said that 60% of Asians expect to work either full- or part-time in retirement, with around 80% viewing it as a way to stay connected and healthy, as well as a source of income.

But not all retirement decisions are wise, fellas. A retiree is now ageing fast due to inactivity.

“Why did you retire too early?” I once asked her.

“Because only son said Siya na raw ang bahala sa akin,” she said.

Here are some common mistakes make when they reach their retirement age, according to Money Max:

Dependence on relatives

Have you heard “Anak, mag-aral ka ng mabuti, para ‘pag nagtrabaho ka na, ikaw na ang bahala sa amin.”

It’s not a bad thing when you’re children and relatives give you money when you retire, it’s not even bad to ask. However, the issue about it is that it’s not good and healthy, either. Most Filipinos believe that when you raise your children – feed them, give them the best education or protect them from any harm – they are obliged to pay you back someday. Parents raise their child because it’s their responsibility to do so that goes along with children’s right to be sheltered, fed, and given the opportunities in life. Children are parents’ obligations and not investments where parents expect full returns.

To children: This doesn’t mean, though, that you should ignore your parents when you’ve reached your point of success or even when you’re already earning a decent income. It’s a pride and joy to give your parents something as their reward for their hard work on nurturing you – there’s never wrong with that. But if you are the parent, would you want to depend on your kids after decades of working? You can have a choice.

Retirement age

Filipinos often retire in the last decades or years of their lives. If you work because you don’t want to stop working or making money because you feel energized or passionate about it, that’s perfect. But you have to keep in mind the difference, the great difference of working to keep your enthusiasm and avoid boredom versus working to constantly bring food for your family.

The word retirement usually connotes a gray-haired man, tired-looking because of more than 4 decades of working every day but if you strive to become the best of yourself in the first decades of your life, you will reap the fruits of your hard work early on. It’s just a matter of proper discipline and careful planning.

Retirement doesn’t mean you have to be old; it’s when you’re ready. If you’re 20-something, and you wish to start funding your retirement, that’s good. The earlier, the better.

Relying on Government/Company retirement package alone

Sure thing, social security pension plans or your company’s retirement package could be a lot of help for you and your family. However, it’s not ideal to rely on them solely. SSS or GSIS pensions are limited and through the years, their value depreciate because they do not increase as much as the regular employees. Instead, make yourself productive. Get involved in small business. Enjoy working with friends. Develop your talents, whether it is writing, cooking or selling.

So, to retire now or later, fellas?

The choice is yours.#