Retirement: ‘Preparation is key’

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Bereng Mpaki

RETIREMENT planning is an area most people tend to overlook during their time of employment yet it is an inevitable part of life.

Lack of preparedness has often resulted in retirees being unable to make ends meet with their pension benefits or maintain the standard of living they enjoyed while they were still employed.

Resultantly, some pensioners are forced to depend on family members or to come out of retirement.

To address this challenge, Metropolitan Lesotho held a retirement workshop this past week for the insurance giant’s clients nearing retirement age to assist them in preparing for the life-changing milestone.

According to Metropolitan Lesotho’s Client Services Manager-Employment Benefits, Seenyane Nthejane, in addition to helping their clients to efficiently manage their resources, the workshop also sought to prepare them psychologically for retirement and its attendant personal and social implications.

“The seminar was meant to help people within five years of retirement to make adjustments commensurate with the limited time at their disposal,” he said.

“Retirement is both a financial and psychological event, and we have counsellors and investment experts to assist them make informed decisions and adjustments.”

Mr Nthejane said such workshops were important because most Basotho did not prepare sufficiently for retirement.

“About 85 percent of working Basotho are ill-prepared for retirement, which is why many retirees are reentering the workforce because they cannot afford to live off their pension alone,” he said.

“Ultimately, they add to the high unemployment rate and raise the poverty levels in the country.”

It was never too late, Mr Nthejane said, for people who are still employed to prepare for retirement.

“For those clients still having a few years of employment, the training can be even more useful as it enables them to calculate how much pension is due to them once they retire,” he said.

“They would then be able to determine if the amount will be enough to live the type of life they envisage after retirement. If not, they will be able to carry out the necessary adjustments.

“It is also important for them to avoid taking loans when they are close to retirement because it will reduce the pension amounts.”

One of the presenters and Metropolitan Lesotho Client Service Consultant, Bokang Mokoma, said it was important for retirees to cut down on their spending since a pension will never equal a salary.

He added that one of the major expenses retirees shoulder on their own is medical costs since there would no longer be any medical insurance from the employer like before.

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