Retirement Planning for People in Their 50s

My friend is a time bomb waiting to explode.

This friend has gone through life living like a twenty five year old, never saving for retirement. Now, she is approaching fifty and thankfully, has realized that she is a retirement disaster time bomb waiting to explode.

Ideally, you should begin to start saving for retirement at 25. People however delay saving for retirement until it is already too late. My friend, at the age of 48, still has a chance to a comfortable retirement. She however has to radically change her ways and put aside more than fifty percent of her income every month for fifteen years.

Here is my action plan for my friend:

-Minimize eating out to once a month
-Bring packed lunch to work
-Buy fresh produce and fruit from the wet market instead of sliced packed ones from the grocery
-Stop riding taxis in favor of buses, trains and jeepneys
-Before buying something: ask yourself if you really need it and if there is a cheaper alternative
-Do not give one more cent to anyone
-Save at least twenty thousand for fifteen years
-Put all your savings in a bond fund
-At 65, put your savings in a time deposit account or a special deposit account (SDA)

With my friend’s income of 35,000 a month (take home), it is very doable for her to save at least 20,000 a month. My recommendation is for her to put this amount in a bond fund (mutual fund or UITF). In my friend’s case, she doesn’t have time on her side; so we can’t put her savings in an equity fund. At the age of 65, she can then take out her savings and put it in a time deposit or special deposit account. Putting her savings in these types of investment will give my friend a steady income. She can dip into her savings if she needs to and she will still be able to afford to stay in retirement. If she lives beyond the age of 80 though, she will be in trouble.

The problem with my friend is that she eats out a lot. Let me tell you about a Korean fast food restaurant’s dark secret which I discovered recently. I had been ordering their ramen for 78 pesos almost weekly for the past few months. A few days ago, I stumbled upon a packed ramen (190 pesos for a pack of 5) imported from South Korea at the Robinsons Supermarket. I already had a suspicion that the ramen I had been ordering was just packed ramen so I bought the one I found at the grocery to verify my suspicion. Lo and behold, it was exactly the same ramen I had been ordering. Well maybe not, but my point is that there was a cheaper alternative to the ramen I was ordering from the restaurant. What’s more surprising is that I was paying a hundred percent more just for eating out. My friend could slash her monthly expenditures by half if she only minimizes her eating out.

Another problem that my friend has is her sister. In helping her sister, my friend has not been able to save for her retirement. It is good to be able to help others but you should always know whether you are in a position to help. If your own financial house is not in order, then you definitely can’t afford to help others.

I have another friend who is now 62 and has never saved a cent for retirement. This friend has lived a very carefree life and a happy go lucky attitude. He has been self employed for most of his life and has only recently began to contribute to PAG IBIG (Housing Development Mutual Fund) and SSS. There is honestly nothing that can be done in this person’s case and he himself has accepted the fact that he will have to continue working beyond the age of 65.

It is not yet too late for my other friend though to save herself from the retirement disaster she is heading for. I wrote this article because I know that there are so many Filipinos who find themselves in the same situation as hers. You should never rely on any relative to take care of you during your years in retirement. Save for your retirement today. Time is of the essence.

If you are one of the many Filipinos who just can’t get started on saving for retirement, I would be more than happy to come up with an action plan for you. Just post a comment below and I’ll come up with something. It would be best if you could provide me a one month expenditure journal (or a record of all your expenditures in a one month period, how much you have saved up or invested, your income, your desired retirement age.

**I am not a registered financial planner and I do not make any declarations nor give warranties with respect to the accuracy of what I write

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