DEAD END. A word that is somehow synonymous to RETIREMENT, or at least, that’s how many (if not all) perceive it to be.
In our day-to-day conversation, the common statements we normally hear are ¨Sobrang busy ako para isipin pa yan,¨ or ¨Matagal pa mangyayari yan sa akin.¨ Most Filipinos especially our kababayans locally and abroad are busy on their jobs and other things which they consider more important in life. Once in a while, the thoughts of retirement temporarily crop up but never linger. Maybe whenever boredom and difficulty arises at work, they bring themselves to think about retirement with more seriousness. And, that’s when regret sets in. The thought of, "I should have planned ahead" becomes more common.
¨Ready ka na ba mag-retire?¨ This question often leads to diverse answers. However, the common one usually leads to the world’s superhero Batman – "BAHALA NA SI BATMAN!"
A result from the study conducted by the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corp (HSBC) showed that the younger generation spends high in leisure expenses. Accordingly, they prefer to enjoy life in the present and not worry about the uncertainty that the future might bring. In the Philippines, the phrase, “Bahala na si Batman!” is a common answer when young people are asked about their retirement. This kind of attitude shows that they don’t appear to recognize the implications of these financial outgoings and the effect that it can bring on their lifestyle when they retire. The opportunity to invest while they are still young is clearly vague to most of them.
Indeed, we see people in their 30’s or 40 who are earning a lot. Yes! Most of them are at the peak of their jobs, businesses, and earning more money than the older generation. They earn more, and they splurge more. Yet they are also at the height of family duties and settlement of debts. The close family ties setting at home calls for obligations. Family financial obligation is close to the hearts of Filipinos. Hence, the ‘sandwich effect’ experience is common among Filipinos with financial obligations to their parents and/or siblings, and often to other relatives as well. But despite of these numerous financial obligations, there are some people who find ways to set a small part of their earnings for retirement — a goal that must be re-evaluated carefully by Filipinos nowadays.
Retirement should be synonymous to the word ‘PEACE OF MIND’. A house built on a solid foundation with a clear blue print gives the owner an assurance that the house will serve as a sanctuary against flood, the rubbles of earthquakes, and the likes.
Retirement should be built on the premise that you are building a stable future for the anticipated old age. A well-structured plan should be in place. After which you can relax. Routine checkups will keep you on track. And, in between check-ups go visit your kids and grandkids, travel the world, enjoy your hobbies or develop new ones. You can even do some charity work, or do whatever it is that you have always wanted before hitting the twilight zone. If you have a solid plan prepared, money will be the last thing to worry when you retire. As they say, "Money may not buy you happiness but it will surely give you comfort".
Every day is SABADO DAY! That’s how retirement should be. It should be a time to enjoy the remaining years of your life. So, forget about Batman or any other superheroes! You can be in charge of your future! You can be your own superhero who can lead yourself to the so called land of bliss!
To learn about Financial EQ and how it can benefit your group/association, please click here.
by Zell Sulit, MA
Zell has an MA in Counseling Psychology from the Ateneo de Manila University and completed the Registered Financial Planner program (RFP) Philippines.
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