Getting your finances ready for your golden years

Standard Chartered Bank

CHANGING LIFE-STATES

With each life stage that an individual goes through, the financial objectives and needs change, and it is important to review how one’s financial status, objectives and needs have changed or evolved. In fact, a person should conduct a financial review every year. Because every year sometimes people may have salary increments, or they may be thinking of taking up a loan, or maybe their household status may have changed. Hence, a financial review is very important.

When conducting your financial review, bear in mind that you should take notes on the status of your insurances. If you have life insurance, take note of when the pay off date is. Contact your insurance company to get an update from them as well. Check in on your investments and evaluate their value. Have your assets valued if you have any, like houses and property, etc. Do also check your Employees Trust Fund (TAP) funds and where they are sitting at right now. Your TAP funds will contribute towards your financial needs in your retirement.

THINKING AHEAD

Although an individual may be close to retirement, it is still important to plan ahead. After all, these days an individual can expect to enjoy many years in their retirement. These days retirement doesn’t mean just staying at home and not doing anything. People are still in very good health and have more free time during retirement to travel and do things that they probably couldn’t when they were working with heavier financial and family commitments.

The average life expectancy rates in Brunei are between 73 to 78 years of age. If average rate of retirement is 60 years, that means you can expect at least 13 to 18 years of your golden years in retirement.

FINANCIAL NEEDS FOR RETIREMENT

To determine how much you may need for your retirement, you must consider what kind of lifestyle you are expecting to lead once you have retired. Are you hoping to travel more? Do you want to start a small home business? Do you want to help look after your grandchildren? Whatever your lifestyle, this is where planning ahead, as mentioned earlier, is important.

In your planning you should also consider if you will still have dependants after you have retired. Will your children still be studying, and if so, you must plan to ensure that you can continue funding their education and living expenses until they have finished and gained employment.

Once you have conducted your financial review, you should be able to gauge how much you have at this point in time available for retirement. So that means adding up your TAP, life insurance and any other investments you have made specifically for retirement. With this amount in mind, consider now the lifestyle you want to have. How much do you think you would need each month to cover necessary expenses? Bear in mind that you may need extra funds for medical check-ups. You may have plans for what you want to do with your retirement funds as well like paying off housing loans or other commitments. Once these have been done, how much will you have left, and will this amount be enough to sustain you for the next 20 years or so?

If the amount you end up with does not seem enough to match the lifestyle you are hoping to have then you may need to make adjustments both to your current saving and spending habits as well as adjust your plans for your retirement to meet your financial status.

FAMILY SUPPORT

Different families have different expectations so it depends on whether your children are willing to assist with funds. It also depends heavily on whether they themselves can afford to help with financial obligations if they have other financial commitments.

It is always best to remain as financially independent as possible for any possibility as sometimes surprise financial onsets may arise that no one has planned for.

START NOW

If you are 45 or 50 years old, it is still not too late to take action. The important thing at this stage is that you must have the desire to take action for your own financial needs.

At this stage, you must urgently conduct a financial review to assess your financial situation and to gauge if you have sufficient funds for retirement.

You must also now step up on savings and become very realistic on your expectations for retirement plans.

If you are not sure where to start, visit your bank and talk with your financial planning consultant where they may be able to advise you on priorities for your future.

This article is for general information purposes only and while the information in it is believed to be reliable, it has not been independently verified by us. You are advised to exercise your own independent judgement with the contents in this article.