The Retirement Money That Never Was
If I could only go back in time and choose an option between a lump sum of five years or an outright monthly pension, then I would. I would go revisit that very crucial moment where I made the wrong choice. I would have chosen the latter option. That would have made the situation different.
I just can’t forget the date when I retired, July 1, 2011. I wish I could but the wrong choice I made brought me to the circumstances where it is hard to forget. Nonetheless, it has provided me with important life lessons involving decision-making. You would say, “it’s too late to fret about it. The milk has been spilt, what benefit could it bring?”
I know. I should have fussed over it long before I have decided to retire. I did have plenty of time to think about it, but didn’t give it a chance. I did not listen to my colleagues and didn’t heed of anyone’s advice… I thought the one million buck was worth defying all the well-meaning warnings. I never thought about how fast money could fly and be lost.
That’s why I decided to write and be published. I still have children working. Maybe they can learn from it. I still have lots of friends out there who are in their golden years already; and are retiring soon. I worked with these people for thirty-seven years. They will be looking for advice before making that final resolution. I would like to make things right; for everyone interested to gain from my experience.
Lesson # 1 – Set Aside Old Age Fund for Health Maintenance
Poor health sometimes comes a year after we leave the regular routine of going to and from the office; of rising up early to beat the traffic, of running to the bandy clock to avoid that red mark on the DTR, of regularly interacting with co-employees and clients, and of laughing out together when an office-mate strikes a one-liner joke. These are all the necessary ingredients to keep up good health without really trying. I miss this kind of routine. My system has gotten used to it. I did not look for an alternative exercise. Look what it did to me. I was hospitalized, and I began spending the money for my medicines. This is the one thing I have not considered to happen to me. And worst of all, I have not provided for events such as this.
Lesson # 2 – No Blowout please… Remember your debts and pay!
My first consideration right after I got the check was to make some people happy, especially the relatives and the nearest of kin. I didn’t realize my clan was so big. So a bigger fraction of the amount went as blowout money. All were pleased, who wouldn’t be? I was more than happy to see their reactions with my generosity. However, the happiness was short-lived. A couple of months after, I have nothing in my wallet. It was empty. And the creditors started to come over one by one for the payment which had long been overdue. It was only then I remembered; I am no longer employed, which simply means I have no more sources to get money from to pay off my debts except after the lapse of five years.
Lesson # 3 – Learn to Say No and Purchase only things you cannot live without!
Everyone in the neighborhood knew I received one million. One million are a great amount for a community where everyone belongs to the low-income group. Since we were all good friends, I found it hard to say no. Each one was dealing some stuffs like a house, house and lot, a car, curtains, and so forth and so on. I bought that small lot for my brother, a second-hand car supposed to be for my business. The car dived overboard a bridge and six people were hospitalized, and the car became one of the items in a junk shop!
Lesson # 4 – Make investment your first Priority!
Then I finally remembered investing on something. That was the irony of it all. It came to my mind last, when it could have been the first. I did put money on business though, but only up to the extent of what was left. It did not survive. No business will carry on when all the daily needs are taken from there. It lasted only for a year.
I have learned my lessons. And I want my kids, my friends, and you my dear readers, to learn yours too from this experience.