Guest blog by Clarissa Horwood
Regular readers know that Optimum Pensions blog posts usually explore retirement products and research from a technical perspective, peppered with financial terms and graphs, substantiated with quotes from industry professionals. Today we are pleased to bring you something different. A guest blog from Clarissa Horwood exploring the voice of the people. The emotions and doubts that are prevalent when confronted with life-making decisions about preparing for retirement, with adequate income for a lifestyle that doesn’t disappoint.
The enormity of covering yourself financially until your last breath is so overwhelming that it almost feels like mission impossible.
It’s understandable why people don’t tackle retirement planning; they just hope that one way or another, it’ll sort itself out.
Up until the moment some do-gooder expert told me to think about the elderly me, I was happily living my life on a day-to-day basis. Thinking about ‘old me’ creates anxiety as I consider her quality of life, if she’s surrounded by loved ones, perhaps she has gout or Alzheimer’s, and of course – how does she die?
Thinking about retirement means facing my own mortality. It’s disconcerting. I do everything right, and save and save, and have insurance, and a repaid house, and now I think, ‘heck, I’ve done all the right things and I’m still thinking about that old lady!’
What if I have dementia and no kids around – and all I’ve saved for gets abused by some power of attorney? I go into worst case scenarios. Who is going to ensure it doesn’t all get drained away, if I no longer have control of my faculties? Elder abuse is a thing. It happens.
I don’t want to think about the combinations of scenarios and whether I have protected myself against all the worst-case scenarios. The rabbit warrens of what ifs are slightly maddening.
With life savings in retirement there is no second chance.
I think about that old lady all the time.
It’s so enormous to ensure you’re covered till your last breath, that in all honesty, I’d rather keep my head in the sand. I understand why so many Australians are not adequately prepared for retirement. Planning for the unknown is hard.!
I would rather work until the end of my days than worry about whether or not I can treat myself to a cappuccino. It’s a depressing thought – worrying that every day I’ll be worried about whether I can have that coffee or afford lunch with friends.
That’s the beauty of a salary – you know you’ll be topped up financially at month end. If I muck up at the end of the month, I get another chance.
Recently I learned about ‘Lifetime’ income products. You hand over your savings but then get a salary for life. There’s a trust element to this.
A lifetime product helps to stops you worrying about your own demise.
You can still see yourself as a ‘salary earner’ and be able to enjoy life, without that fear of running out.
Knowing that I have a concrete plan and team of professionals protecting me if I do end up in a worst case-scenario is a great backup.
I’d rather have a salary from a lifetime product till the day I die than have a large lump of cash that I’ve got to manage until the end. It’s now on my mind all the time…I think I preferred the old me who had no bloody clue!