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Getting Started With Retirement Savings

“Preparation for old age should begin not later than one’s teens: A life which is empty on purpose will not suddenly be filled on retirement “- Dwight L Moody.

Saving for retirement is one of the most neglected financial goals, notwithstanding the consequences. Currently, there are also various consumer-friendly products available in the market yet in the early stages of building a career and wealth, most people hardly spare a thought for saving towards retirement until old age comes knocking.

Although most individuals in the formal sector contribute to the NSSF, the savings accumulated during the working period may not be enough to sustain their desired lifestyle during retirement. For example, if one works for thirty years, monthly contributions of Ksh.1,000 at an annual return of 6% will amount to Ksh.980,000. This amounts to a monthly stipend of ksh.3,266 over the next 25 years, before factoring in the corrosive effect of inflation.

Individuals have to, therefore, make a deliberate choice to set aside a certain part of their monthly income and contribute to a registered personal pension scheme consistently.  For those not already enrolled in a personal pension plan, below are some of the reasons why you need to start focusing on saving for your retirement.

Retirement Is Not Optional

Well, if you are self-employed, it might be optional. But nobody is a robot. Your body will need to take a break at one point. And you will have earned that break. But retirement will be very stressful if you are not sure whether the money you have will be enough to sustain your lifestyle. Retirement shouldn’t be the time to worry about money. Or anything. That is why you need to start saving for retirement now. So you can have enough to sustain your lifestyle in your twilight years.

We should not merely plan to retire from something, we should also plan to retire into something and with something. Take your pension contribution as paying yourself first but for a later date in your life and make the contributions as regularly as you can.

[Read More: Getting an Income in Retirement]

Start Small

You don’t need a regular source of income or a pay rise to save for retirement. The Zimele Pension Plans allow you to save a minimum of Ksh. 100 at your own pace. Savings are savings, no matter how “small”.  Depending on your budget, set aside an amount that you can contribute to your pension fund. For instance, you could set a goal to save at least 10% of your take-home pay in a personal pension plan.

Saving even relatively small amounts of money establishes a life-long habit that pays off heavily in the long term.

Start Now

Many people have countless excuses as to why they can’t start saving for retirement now. Maybe they are waiting for a better job. Or “there are just too many obligations right now”. Maybe “there is enough time.” Here is the thing about saving for retirement, the right time to start is now. Regardless of your income or age, the best time is now.

[Read More: Popular Excuses for Not Saving For Retirement]

Accumulate More

As time goes on, the habit of saving will hopefully take hold and as your income increases over time you should save more to boost your benefits at retirement. Take advantage of the tax benefits when making contributions but maximize on how much you can save bearing in mind the rising cost of living and your retirement goals to help you achieve a comfortable lifestyle in your golden years.

Conclusion

As we grow older, we realize that time moves much faster because of increasing commitments and obligations relative to when we were younger. When it comes to retirement, we need to have this perspective more than ever. The most important part of any savings or retirement plan is to just start doing it. What is important, though, is that you keep saving, keep learning and keep planning to build wealth for the future. If you establish the habit of saving money every month, taking the time to find safe havens for that money, and patiently allowing your wealth to grow, you will be taking some huge steps forward in making your financial future more secure. One way to overcome that challenge is to treat savings not as a recurring expense but as a means to guarantee you a brighter future.

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