I thought because July is National Savings Month it was important to look at whether most of us have saved enough for our retirement. I know that most of us who come from humble beginnings have now been accustomed to certain lifestyles: a #softlife to a certain extent.
“When I think about the fact that most people are jobless, which means that there are fewer people paying tax”
I know for a fact that for the past 21 years; I have worked hard to change my circumstances so that in my working age and even at retirement I would be able to live a better life than I did when I was younger. However, a lot of us have over the years made the mistake of cashing in our pensions every time we moved from one job to another.
You see, when you start working and you are still young – you see retirement as something that is still very far off and not a priority. For me, it did not matter how many times my financial advisor told me what a terrible idea it was to cash-in my pension over the years, I still did it. This is because I had financial priorities that I thought were pressing at that time.
In hindsight, had I listened to her earlier on in my career I would be in an even better position for my retirement. Reality started setting in when I reached my 40s and realised that I may not have saved enough for my retirement and now I am playing catch-up trying to make up for lost time. As previously mentioned, I am not a financial expert, but I still felt it was important to share the mistakes that I made with money with those that are younger; especially those that have just started working. Not saving enough for my retirement is one of those mistakes.
There are many factors that have caused most of us to make this mistake, sometimes it is just sheer recklessness in handling money or circumstances such as black tax. Many of us have over the years seen the trend of professionals in different sectors retiring too early and cashing in their pensions and then spending that money irresponsibly. We have also seen how a lot of those people have over the years found themselves being forced to go back to work because the situation called for it. COVID has not helped the situation as well because a lot of people have unfortunately lost their jobs and have had to tap into their savings to try and survive until they found another job or other ways of making money.
When I think about the fact that most people are jobless, which means that there are fewer people paying tax – the same tax base that is supposed to help carry the extensive needs of this country. If the unemployment rate is as high as it is and it continues like this for many years to come – can you imagine the burden that this will put on tax payers by the time we retire? Especially if we do not make the right decisions now when it comes to saving for our pension.
I know that this is a tough ask for people who have either lost their jobs or whose businesses are struggling at the moment, but I still thought that it was important to discuss this so that it is always top of mind when we are thinking about moving to a-savings culture. To young people out there, I would like to ask you to do the right thing and save from the time you start working and continue the discipline so that you can maintain your #softlife well into your retirement.
Miranda Lusiba is the founding director of Strangé Consulting – a boutique PR agency specialising in communications, freelance writing, media relations, reputation management and media training.