For many people, retirement is a phase that they’d rather not think about until it’s already there or on the horizon. But as with all of life's major milestones, the earlier you prepare for it, the better equipped you’ll be when the time comes.
With 8.2% of the country’s population aged 60 years old and above according to the Commission on Population, there are millions of Filipinos who are facing or about to face retirement. And while the options to prepare for it are many, there are a few things every retiree needs to consider before he or she reaches that landmark.
- Pay off all your debt. List down and examine your various debt obligations and determine which ones have the highest interest rates and begin paying those off first. While paying off debts with the smallest balance may initially seem like a good idea, taking high-interest rate debts first will make the process more manageable towards the end. These include credit card debt, personal loans, and car loans. And then you can tackle your low-interest debts such as mortgages.
- Set a social security strategy. There are two options to claiming your retirement pension from the Social Security System (SSS): monthly or a lump sum. But before you decide on that, you also need to determine the best time for you to claim your benefits, how much you’ll expect to receive in total or monthly, and if that will be enough for you to live comfortably or if you'll need another avenue for income. Take the time to inquire with your nearest SSS branch to review the required documents.
- Make an asset inventory. To figure out where you stand financially, you need to determine the assets that you have–after your debts. Take a moment to list down your savings balance in your different bank accounts, insurance policies, properties, vehicles, company stocks or shares, jewelry, and other items that have true monetary value. This way you can assess your financial situation and decide whether you have adequate sources of income or if you need more.
- Plan your estate. With a list of your assets in hand, you also need to put a will, trust, or estate plan in place to ensure that it goes to the proper beneficiaries: family members or chosen charitable organizations. For this part, it’s important to consult a lawyer proficient in estate planning. Create, sign, and notarize the necessary documents and store them in a safe place.
- Get health insurance. Healthcare will always be a major expense during retirements. Together with aging comes the increased prevalence of various health conditions such as chronic health ailments, cognitive conditions, and the occasional injury. Thus, it’s important for every retiree to have a complete, comprehensive, and long-term health insurance plan that provides adequate protection.