Most people look forward to retiring and pursuing their passions and interests, especially if they are financially comfortable enough to enjoy their second act.
Take 68-year-old Mrs. L. Ho, a former director at an insurance brokerage who retired 10 years ago, for example. She leads an interesting life and keeps herself busy with gardening, giving free tuition, conducting cooking classes at church, and taking language and ukulele lessons.
“We perform at church events and entertain the old folks in nearby homes like Ju Eng Home for Senior Citizens,” she says. “I also travel at least twice a year, of which one trip is to a farther destination like Eastern Europe or Alaska. My travel is less hurried and I can afford to go on cruises, which are relaxing.”
Similarly, 62-year-old Mr. K. C. Wong, who used to run a business with his wife, also feels happier now that he has successfully retired. He says, “There is no pressure; I feel carefree and relaxed and can do whatever I want.”
If that sounds like a life worth looking forward to, planning early for retirement is essential.
Estimates for the recommended amount you should set aside for retirement vary, depending on your current age, lifestyle and luxuries you wish to enjoy post-retirement.
The good news is that you don’t always have to save for your retirement in cold hard cash. You can also choose to put your money in investments, insurance plans and retirement plans, which allow your money to work for you, or at the very least, keep up with inflation rates.
For Ho and Wong, planning for retirement meant investing their money in different, but equally successful ways.
Wong says, “I looked into retirement planning in my early 40s. I mainly put my savings in fixed deposit accounts and also bought property.”
Ho and her husband put their money into stocks, property and insurance policies that they cashed out when their children were grown up. For the couple, planning ahead has been instrumental to their post-retirement financial stability.
“We can see the benefits of early retirement planning – we are financially very comfortable and have enough liquid assets to travel,” says Ho. “We have even contributed to our children’s first homes. We have been able to afford a helper, which frees up time for us to do volunteer work, which is very fulfilling.”
Perhaps it’s time for you to think about how you want to approach your golden years.
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