Retirement Age in Kenya: It’s time we understand what the reality of retirement will be for most people. A lot of people are scared about retirement because it means that you stop having the ability to earn an income.
A decade or two ago, when people had long careers, accumulated reasonable pensions and planned to use that to live out the rest of their sunset years, post-retirement income did not matter.
However, unless you have planned it really well, the fact is that your pension will not be enough to retire on. Let me explain.
A lifestyle of Sh. 100,000 per month today will, in 10 years, cost approximately Sh. 400,000. Let’s put it another way: You will need that Sh. 400,000 to live exactly like you are living now. This is because of inflation.
If you are retiring in 10 years and intend to completely cease all economic activity, you will need an investment that is giving you that amount of money per month.
While this is possible with time, proper financial planning and investment, many people have found themselves facing ‘retirement’ without that financial cushion. So today, retirement planning is about figuring out what you will retire into.
If you have had a long career doing something specific, you have also had a lot of experience defining yourself a certain way – for example as a lawyer, accountant, marketing professional, banker, and so forth.
Many professionals have difficulty defining themselves post-retirement. The profession has become their identity and they don’t know who they are without it. It is therefore important to start understanding what you can do instead of just what title you held.
For example, you may have defined yourself as a lawyer. If we remove that label, your abilities may include communication, working with teams, negotiation, attention to detail, etc.
These are transferable and while you may not want to get into another intensive role, you can still be a consultant, or even a teacher or lecturer in that area.
I attended a course last year at which one of my lecturers was a retired CFO who now works with a multitude of SMEs.
These SMEs cannot afford someone like him full time, but he is now able to share his years of experience through his consultancy.
He has transferred his skills into something similar to his training. The skill set of a CFO can go further still, into other areas.
Look at retirement as a new season where you can package yourself differently and be a problem solver in a different way. Your journey counts and there are some things you can only get better with experience. Look for that!
This is not the season to fight for the same jobs that suit 20-year-olds. Maybe you can bring your experience or networks on board to the company that those 20-year-olds are starting. Start preparing yourself to be relevant differently.
Many professionals openly admit that for a long time, they have wanted to make a change. If not now, when? Let’s also not hang on to roles whose season has passed. You don’t have to wait to be 60. It just may be your time to exit.
Yes, the finances are important and I have written an article on that area before. However, we must also start understanding the transferable skills we have acquired and match them to a new opportunity.
No one has the exact same experience as you, and yours is needed somewhere. Change is scary but it is part of the process of life.
This feature was first published by personal finance coach Waceke Nduati Omanga, the founder of Centonomy.