By Dickson Tumuramye
Thinking about the far that God has brought you is enough to thank Him for keeping you alive. But much more, living happily in your older age is worth a celebration.
I have observed people who were once admired by many because of living a good corporate life while they were still in formal employment or were wealth and lived happily.
But as we talk now, they live a miserable life yet they were riding on good money when they were still very productive and could afford all they needed before them. I have come to realize that having a good job or good source of income is not a guarantee for a successful life in future. It all depends on how well you plan for your future.
Talk of profitable investments they made, they only boast of successfully educating their children and that is the only investment they have. Ask them where they put all the money/wealth they had, they will only tell you “I wish I knew!” The problem we face in our different capacities could be how we plan for the start and the survival when we are no longer energetic to save and invest for the future.
The people who have been working, they never think that one day, they will retire from service and life has to move on. The time to invest is now. Don’t wait to clock retirement age and you are forcefully exited out of your job. Don’t become one who will start begging for an extension of your contract because you have no where to begin from outside formal employment. I have seen priests who served church more than forty years but when they have a year to retire, they start fundraising to put up their residential homes.
This is worse with public servants who have served the government in very good offices, driven posh cars, stayed in government mansions and had all allowances. They retire honorably but fail to cope up with the conditions outside there. Some even change their age in order to stay in service at least for one more time as they now gain senses to save for their exit.
You don’t need to embarrass yourself to that extent. The time to plan for your retirement is now. For those who are working, what investments have you put in place that will bring you side income now and after retirement? What investments do you have in place that even if you die now; your children will not be pushed out that rented house or can pay off your loans?
The painful moments are the retired people who abandon their families and shift upcountry to look for new jobs. They are staying there not because they are looking after their investments; instead they are now working to start earning side income and invest. If they get their pension or NSSF money, it is then they remember to construct their homes than investing it in profit making ventures. They never thought through having a strong source of income that can sustain them when they were still active in service.
Rather than chasing after jobs, plan to retire as a consultant so that you are hired as a specialist and given higher payment in a short time. But these things of being used again as you wait for end of a monthly cheque make you more miserable.
At the time when the two of you as a couple need each other as senior citizens than before is the same time your wife is left alone in a house like a widow. When you no longer have children in the house, it would be a better moment for the two of you to enjoy your marriage and keep each other warm. At the time the grandchildren should come home to give you company as grandpapa/mama; it is the time you are unavailable and even your own children miss you. All along they stayed with you everywhere. But now you have run away, starting to live a totally different life. When you are supposed to retire and now be with your family, you are remembering that you can still live in a distant marriage and earn a living. What were you doing all along? Why can’t you save this time and bond fully with your children tomorrow?
The earlier you meditate upon future retirement now and seize the opportunity, the better you will live without being worried of tomorrow.
The writer is a Child Advocate