What's needed for a happy retirement

What's needed for a happy retirement

Yesterday's editorial ("Just what to do after work") seemed to portray retirement as a scary and undesirable phase of life, with idleness as the order of the day.

Retirement is certainly not just about playing golf, lunching with buddies or reading books, although some retirees do find these activities fulfilling.

Rather, it is about having more time to do whatever one desires, at one's own pace.

There is no need for a schedule or regime; it is a free-spirited existence.

In fact, there are a lot of things to do, like managing one's investments, travelling, doing voluntary work, gardening and so on.

Retirement is about retiring from work, not from life.

The problem is that for many people, their entire lives have revolved around work. So when it is time to retire, they are ill-prepared and lost.

A happy retirement requires mental preparedness and financial adequacy.

Unfortunately, some people need to continue working beyond the retirement age because they failed to do proper financial planning in their early years.

However, there are those who, although having the financial means to retire, cannot detach themselves from the money, status, power, recognition and business connectivity that a job offers.

For the young, even though job security may be less assured now and the cost of living is ever-rising, their earning power is also higher than their parents' during their younger days.

In order to have a sufficient nest egg when they retire, the young should be prudent with their spending and start financial planning early. They cannot just depend on their Central Provident Fund retirement savings, which were never meant to be the lifeline for the rest of their lives.

Letter from Lawrence Loh Kiah Muan

This article was published on April 17 in The Straits Times.

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