WHILE enjoying a cup of coffee at one of my favourite kopitiams recently, I overheard an elderly waiter, who was serving a customer sitting beside my table, complaining about his deteriorating eyesight.
When he had a minute to spare, I took the opportunity to ask him about his eye problem. Without any hesitation, the poor waiter poured out his problems to me, and these were not only about his eyes but also his tight financial situation.
He is a bachelor in his mid-50s. He has had cataracts in both eyes for a number of years but it was only recently that his eyesight deteriorated to an extent that he found it difficult to see clearly certain coin denominations.
Without any savings, he has to continue working as a waiter to earn RM35 daily to keep him going without depending on anyone for help.
He was so thankful that the ophthalmologist at a government hospital had scheduled an early appointment to operate on his left eye, but unfortunately he couldn’t afford the cost of the cataract lens. Now he is waiting for the hospital to apply for welfare assistance to pay for the lens which costs slightly more than RM500, thus causing a needless delay in restoring his eyesight in one eye.
My neighbour, who is in his mid-70s, had toiled away five decades of his life before losing the battle to brain cancer last month. Detected just six months ago, the cancer caused him to lose much of his mobility. It was just so unfortunate that he couldn’t afford to retire at least half or a decade ago before he was stricken with cancer and eventually succumbed to the disease.
Many Malaysians overlook the importance of proper financial planning for their twilight years. Imagine, if you don’t smoke and save RM6,205 (RM17 per packet x 365 days) per annum – over 30 years at an annual yield of 4%, you will be able to save RM348,007.
However, if you invest the same yearly savings in a portfolio of funds that enables you to earn an average of 7.5% annual return, the accumulated sum should arrive at RM641,593. Over a similar time span, your accumulated fund could almost double if you had invested your hard-earned money wisely.
Based on the above effort to forego an unhealthy gratification, one can save a hefty sum of money for his golden years. Let’s not forget that by not being addicted to nicotine, one can also save a substantial sum on medical bills in the long run.
How about spending more time with your family at home after work and squeezing in half an hour of exercise every evening?
Without going to the pub frequently or shopping impulsively, over the long run you may save another impressive sum of money.
As I had planned my retirement well since I started work more than three decades ago, I managed to retire happily four years ago.
Sufficient financial resources would enable you to retire comfortably, but to retire happily one has to be healthy. You need to start early if you wish to retire happily.