Why it’s difficult to think about retirement

Sometime last week I was privileged to listen to someone talk about the importance of preparing for retirement. It made me curious about why people do not talk much about it. I have had countless discussions with friends and colleagues about their financial plans, but retirement rarely comes up.

Preparing for retirement is one of the most important things anyone can do in life. After retirement, one usually loses his/her primary source of income while having expensive commitments in terms of health or providing for children who may not yet be earning significant income of their own. And yet, many people (myself included) do not spend nearly enough time thinking about this most vulnerable period in life.

Because of the difficulty of generalizing on something as personal as retirement preparation, I am going to use my own experience as an example.

I know the importance of preparing for retirement. I understand that it has to be one of the guiding features of my savings, investment and career development. And yet, I’m only doing a little above average in terms of my preparation.

The reason for this is not that I am wasting money on less important things but because I have a stubborn feeling that I would somehow have accumulated some wealth by the time I am nearing retirement that would be more than enough to cater for myself and all my responsibilities. I do have plans, but as a realist, I know that I have to make the most out of what I have now and what I can reasonably expect to have in future.

Also, I sometimes feel that life ends at retirement. But that is truly wrong. A decent retirement is supposed to be the reward for a life of hard work. If anything, life should start after retirement.

I am writing this now because I think it will help me do better and maybe it may help a few readers too. Perhaps in the coming months I will write about some specific steps to be taken to prepare for retirement.

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Jerome Kuseh

Accountant | Economist-in-Training | Financial Analyst
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