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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Ready For Retirement?

Say the word "retirement" and what comes to mind?

A person in their 60's - at least - who's had enough wisdom to "save up" for what is also another term associated with the R word, the Golden Years. It connotes an end of a journey, a time when one can be relaxed, and possibly having enough time now to visit other countries.

So it pains me when I see taxi drivers who are in this age range, who can barely hear you and are constantly nodding off, still plying their taxi routes. It has only served to highlight what I have seen over and over again, when I see clients.

Retirement has less to do with chronological age, as it relates more to affordability. More specifically, the question that we all need to answer is, can I afford to retire?

(Courtesy of

This may be a good time to confront the notion that we should have children so that "aalagaan tayo pag tumanda na" (we will be taken care of in our old age), which strikes me as a tad selfish. While it is the parent's duty to provide for a child's needs, it cannot be seen as "automatic" in reverse.

The reason is that the child will grow up to be an adult, and will go on to (hopefully) be a productive citizen, and will maybe find a partner in life and have children, a pressure that is especially marked in this country. How many times have we heard of the wail "kailan mo ba ako bibigyan ng apo?" (When are my grandchildren arriving?)

I've read articles of how unhappy the "sandwich generation" is - the ones who are expected to raise kids and are also pressed to support their parents. Who wouldn't be - between the two sets of mouths to feed (among other needs), when are you supposed to have me-time?

It's time we changed our mindset about this: we should plan for our own retirement. It's good if our kids want to take care of us then/want to do it, but we've all heard the saying "if you want something done, you have to do it yourself." Besides, with our large family size, the more common scene is how siblings pass you around, treating you as a burden that they are obligated to carry.

Wouldn't that be the most painful thing? We all strove to break free from our parents when we considered ourselves "adults" - we craved independence then. It was all about standing on your own feet with the sweat of your own brow - hitting your 60's shouldn't change that, in fact, you're supposed to be "made".

Do you see yourself that way, 40, 30, 20...10 years down the line?

Are you, truthfully, ready for retirement?

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