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Growing Threat Of Old-Age Poverty In Nigeria

Insuring Against the Dehumanizing Prospect of Old-Age Poverty Involves Understanding the Critical Difference between Pre-Retirement Workshops & the Retirement-Readiness Process.

The Nigeria Insurers Association (NIA) in collaboration with my firm, Integra Retirement Solutions Ltd is holding a first-of-its-kind retirement-readiness workshop on the 17th and 18th of September, 2019 in GRA, Ikeja, Lagos.

The workshop is principally designed for Senior Managers and Executives in both the public and private sector. The idea of the workshop came about as a result of witnessing so many members of this cadre slide into financial difficulties a few short years into retirement. What follows for most is a drastic in living standards leading to depression and all manner of health challenges which for some is certain death within five to ten years.

Surveys from past participants in our workshops and the public at large clearly point to a general lack timely and adequate preparation for this phase of life which is quite surprising for this target class of individuals. The NIA and my firm have been aggressively marketing this workshop for the better part of two months but have been met by challenges and stonewalling from the same senior managers and executives who feel there is no need for the workshop since they will be exposed to pre-retirement workshops by their companies through training outfit peddling such a service or Nigeria Pension Commission (PENCOM).

This is quite surprising and sad because such trainings have been going on for decades yet the retirement experience of pensioners irrespective of class in the country has not improved, and in fact dismal. The question then is this- why? The answer is simple, understanding the fundamental difference between pre-retirement workshops and achieving the state of retirement-readiness is the key.

As a pensions and retirement planning specialist, let me explain the crucial difference between the two. Pre-retirement workshops are usually designed specifically for those within three months to a year of employees leaving the workforce. These workshops are usually 1-3 day events and in organising such workshops, it is automatically assumed by that prospective retirees this time this 12-month time frame have sufficiently addressed or taken care of their affairs, financial or otherwise in order to meet the challenges of life in the two or three decades the employee is likely to spend in retirement.

Some of these challenges include building a home or buying one outright is possible, taking care of the children education needs, approaching with very little or no debt and lastly, depending on the desired lifestyle, the accumulation of adequate savings and other assets independent of pensions. With all these addressed, the purpose of pre-retirement workshops then becomes simply a matter of indentifying the various sources and amounts of income that will successfully fund a desired lifestyle in retirement.

Exposure to health challenges that are incidental to the aging process and the medical treatments and strategies on how they can be successfully addressed are included in the workshops. Valuable tips on relationship issues, hobbies activities to engage the mind are also featured. Spouses of retiring employees are strongly encouraged to attend pre-retirement workshop events.

Retirement-readiness on the other hand, is the process that will ensure that the approach and transition into retirement is met with confidence and assurance as a result of your financial capability to address any issue or challenge irrespective of its severity. Getting to this stage takes articulating goals, concrete planning and the effective implementation of this plan. Time is your most important resource in this process. You need time on your side to accumulate the required financial capability. At this stage of your life, apprehension, fear and other what ifs that may be cause for pause at your impending retirement will not be present. In fact the prospect of retirement will be very appealing

Having outlined the difference between the two, I find reaction of our prospects rather surprising and unfortunate in that they are fully aware of the challenges of those that have gone on to retirement before now are going through yet an attitude of unconcern is what we are getting. Some have even voiced the opinion that unless their employers pay for the workshop, they find it inconceivable to do so. The questions I have for these people are these, – -Upon retirement, will your employer retire with you? And secondly, if faced with the prospect of financial hardship or the prospect of poverty in old age, with your former employer or the government come to your aid? This is the reality out there for pensioners in the country today. It is about time Nigerians of all stripes come to the reality and necessity of taking responsibility for their financial security in retirement.

Of the many strategies which can be developed in order to meet the different objectives in life, none are more difficult than those relating to achieving financial independence and retirement planning. This because, for most people financial independence or retirement seems so far away and in these uncertain economic times in the country, it is very easy and understanding albeit misleading to assume that planning for a distant future event such as retirement is unnecessary and unimportant.

However, no matter how far away your retirement is at the moment, you must start preparing for that day now. There is nothing worse or more distressing than discovering that on your 58th or 59th birthday, a year or two from compulsory retirement that given your existing financial position, it will be impossible to survive much more maintain the same standard of living that you worked so hard to achieve.

Poverty in old-age is real in the country and the menace is growing so stop asking for freebees in everything when a little investment can result in a thousand fold return. If you were to ask the financially distressed pensioners if they imagined themselves in their current situation when they were in their forties or early fifties, the overwhelming response would be a resounding no, So learn from their mistakes, seize the opportunity being provided by the NIA and Integra Retirement Solutions Ltd. Start taking charge of your financial future in old age by investing in yourself now. Neither the government nor your employer owes you the obligation of ensuring your dignity and comfort in retirement as long as your monthly pensions are paid. Even at that, will that pension be adequate to see you through your basic needs when you can no longer work?

Register today for the upcoming 2-day retirement-readiness workshop today.

Visit nigeriainsurers.org today for more details.

 

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