This gist of this article, originated from A Singaporean Stock Investor blog, strikes a chord with me that I have to re-post it here with slight modification, and tweak it to suit for Malaysians. All words are from the author, AK and the data are from me.
Having a million of hard cash today is different from being having a million 30 or even 20 years ago. This is simply because a million dollars is worth less now due to inflation in the cost of goods and services. These days, even a strategically-located apartment in big city center like KL could cost close to a million dollars!
[comment: In the 90’s when I was in primary school, there’s this TV quiz show called MORE Jutaria on Malaysian national TV. It is like the format of Wheel of Fortune with the grand prize of either a million ringgit or a spanking red Ferarri. Even at that time, I though – “Who’d be so dumb to choose a super car over hard, cold cash?”. Do you think the same way? Anyway, I digress, but my point is that when you get over the obsessions for material possessions (hey that rhymes! 🙂 ), you’ll find it hard to fork out lots of money to pay for something which depreciates in value.
So, someone with total liquid assets worth a million dollars does not impress me. What might impress me is how he got it and what he intents or plans to do with it. I am more interested in how a fisherman does the fishing than in the fish in his basket but I am interested in knowing what he is going to do with the fish in his basket.
Yes, people always say it is better to teach someone how to fish than to give him a fish but that is not enough. We should also teach that someone the many ways in which the fish he caught could improve his well-being now and in future.
I cannot remember the person’s name but in the latest issue of The Sunday Times an interviewee says that he does not want to think of retiring when asked for his retirement plan.
People who have plans for retirement, he says, will not be as driven or gung-ho.
Conventional wisdom states that we begin retirement planning ASAP. Even the top fisherman plans for the day when he can no longer go fishing.
Failure to plan = Planning to fail
Today, I received a newsletter with a few interesting facts:
1. Singaporean males live an average of 79 years and women live an average of 84 years. Living longer translates to needing more money.
[comment: longer life expectancy is expected in the coming years. For Malaysians, it is 72 for males and 77 for females, Source – Department of Statistics, Malaysia]
2. Inflation will erode the value of our savings. 3 decades later, something that costs RM 3 today could cost as much as RM 13.70 with inflation at 5.2 percent per annum.
3. Even though 91 percent of Singaporeans find Central Provident Fund (CPF) a dependable tool for retirement planning, according to a retirement study in 2011, each year, fewer members meet CPF’s Minimum Sum requirement.
[comment: Known fact – most people exhausted their EPF savings within 3 to 5 years after retirement ]
4. Escalating medical costs are a huge concern.
[comment: Medical inflation is at average 15 percent a year; Source – TheStar]
The newsletter is a sales tool for an insurance company but these four points which I have extracted are relevant to us all. If we have not started planning for our old age, we should if we could.
Besides working to make money and being financially prudent, we invest and grow our wealth, creating streams of passive income along the way. Our investment returns, y-o-y, should be higher than the inflation rate. This is only part of the equation, the tip of the iceberg, if you will.
I am an advocate in having sufficient insurance coverage for medical costs which are inevitable as we age. Our financial standing could take a severe hit if we do not have medical insurance as money meant for daily expenses could be depleted by medical bills.
Many might have heard the sardonic remark that being sick is worse than being dead, especially in old age. We could be a financial burden to our family. This could very well be the scenario especially if one did not have adequate and proper insurance coverage.
Planning for retirement is definitely more than just having enough passive income as a substitute for our earned income. Being able to retire is much more than working because we want to and not because we ought to.
Knowing how to make money and building wealth is the first step. Knowing how to protect our wealth is the necessary second.
Protecting our wealth will cost us some money but not protecting our wealth could cost us even more.
In case you are wondering, I am not an insurance agent and this is not an advertorial. If this blog post has alerted some who have yet to plan for retirement to put on their thinking caps, it would have achieved its purpose.
[comment: I am not either :)]