Retirement Reality, Really?

Retirement Reality, Really?

Dear Facebook,

I thought you “got” me. I thought you knew my wants and needs. I expected this of you. No longer do I need to search for stuff. The stuff – be it shoes or how to be a better parent or fabulous wrap dresses, just appears in my feed.

However I am upset with you this morning.

Now I’m still not 100% sure on how you gather your intel. Google, fb, whatsapp aside there are some things that are just spoken and yet still you just seem to know. We have an experiment going on at the office where we just talk about a topic to each other and no mention about it online or on phones and see if we get served up a related advert. One topic was an all inclusive cruise around the Mediterranean. A few days later I saw a sponsored advert for Club Med. close?

But every now and then you get it wrong. Very wrong. I would go so far as to say you F&£!ed up.

Case in point below…

Ok yes I may have entered Noordhoek into my maps for a visit there the other weekend. And yes I attended an Alexander Forbes financial wellness workshop at work and the advisor used my laptop to do a retirement projection. So yes I get it. I can see how you joined the dots.

But what you didn’t factor in is that my poor advisor looked a little nervous and perplexed as she crunched the numbers.

Um ok, I must have entered something wrong here”, she mutters, as the result showed that unless I plough 60% of my salary into my pension I ain’t retiring on my “current” salary. And worse is that it’s based on 75% of my salary as it is generally assumed my (non existent) bond would be paid up by then and, AND.. she had upped my retirement age to 65 not 55 like I had hoped. 😱

Ok well you can’t do that” she mutters again. “Let me rework the figures.”

Really? Ya think? Are you serious?

I am all for future planning and perhaps I got it wrong or she didn’t factor in some other things but what about living in the present. Living in the moment? Where is the balance? What’s the point of living on bread with no butter (butter is clearly for those whose retirement is sorted) and having no experiences in order to live it up when you are in the tail end of life. Who knows, maybe I won’t be able to even butter my bread, or walk without something rattling and squeaking? Perhaps the point of working is to afford to look after kids then later on afford for someone to look after you? My kids will probably be jolling in some far flung country and wouldn’t want to help me to the bathroom in any case.

Maybe I’m looking at this all wrong? Maybe I am meant to only travel in luxury with my Louis Vuitton matching luggage set and be dripping in diamonds and expensive perfume in my golden years? Hopefully silver grey hair colour will still be a fashionable.

When I saw this photo in a magazine the other day I said then and there that when I am that age, I want to be as glamorous as Jackie Burger, wearing leopard print heels. In that case maybe I best downscale? The kids and I can share a room? Heck the way we live these days we just need a studio cottage with fibre, a set of earphones each and a swimming pool – heated – it must be heated so that may add a few years onto my retirement age.

In all seriousness though, is building up a big pension still required in this millennial age? Are Bricks and Mortar still the best option? My bitcoin retirement plan went to shit. I am pretty sure the Luno app says I now owe them money it’s gone that bad. Maybe I should invest more time and energy and money in my writing? So many people’s side-hussle ends up being their bread and butter if … and only IF they are intentional about it and give it the focus it requires.

I’m really asking here? Any thoughts?

Perhaps any real financial planning gurus out there can point me in the right direction? Bearing in mind that between tax and the proposed pension contributions I think I have about 2% income left.

In the meantime, dear Facebook, thank you for showing me a lovely retirement village option in beautiful Noordhoek at the ripe old age of 38 having just found out there is no ways I’d ever be able to afford it. You suck.

Sorry I stand corrected, it is a stress free retirement opportunity because here is the reality – retirement is not the stressful part, it’s the 45 odd years you have to make enough money to live in the present and to be able to live in the future and for some of us unfortunate folk, to afford for our parents to live too!

All this retirement talk has stressed me out. Think I’ll order sushi and plan a weekend getaway. So what if I only retire at 80.

2017: That’s a wrap

2017: That’s a wrap

As we prepare to draw the curtains on 2017, it is easy to jump onto that year-end berating bandwagon that comes around each year. Can’t this year be over with, what a shit year… 2017 must take its pie and vaai.  And yes, truth be told, the weight of 2017 is bearing down on me, giving me this deep-seated exhaustion that only hibernation and a daily double dose of Berocca Boost could resolve.

It was only during a stretching session at the gym with my instructor-friend, whom I met this year (so thanks 2017, I owe you one) where she pointed out in her usual “I am right, and drop and give me 20 rainbows – both sides!” tone that 2017 was in fact not that bad for me and began to run off a list of really good moments. It dawned on me then, in the middle of a grimacing glute stretch, that it is so easy for us to sum up the year that was, based on the last few hectic, stress-induced weeks where the wheels have inevitably not just fallen off but suffered a complete blowout with skid marks to boot. Instead we should give the year the time it deserves to reflect on moments from all 12 months for a fair review.

On reflection this utter exhaustion could well be the result a year lived.
A year filled with emotions and experiences
A year of lows and highs, ups and downs
A year of grief and of growing
A year of a concussion and a car crash
A year of bumps, bruises and a spider bite
A year of laughter and love

It is easy to look at the negatives, that is just human nature. Yes of course, some goals will not receive the big tick come 31st December. That fake blind project for the kid’s bathroom didn’t even get off the starting block.

My “I quit sugar” campaign ran out of momentum and came to a grinding halt somewhere between Kim’s birthday cakes and my umpteenth slab of Lindt 70% dark chocolate.  My meditation app is patiently sending me gentle reminders, waiting for me to start day 4, and the kids eating at the dinner table thing lasted until the end of January. ☹ I had a spider bite that left me with a dent and a scar on my leg (the doc had to cut away some of my muscle which I worked so hard to build). My brand new car was written off when, apparently, a bug flew into the sunroof of the Pajero, distracting the driver who ploughed into the back of me and pushed me into the van in front. And our home was broken into twice, the first time stealing my work laptop and rendering me completely unproductive for a few of the busiest work weeks in the calendar.

However, I when I look back on the year, and under “Drill Sergeant” Kim’s instructions, I should be proud of the fact that several of my goals I set out to achieve have been accomplished this year. I’m not talking about the weekly Vitality goals on my Health App where you get a free smoothie reward each week. Those are designed to set you up for disappointment, leaving you feeling like an unfit, financially depleted (from having to actually pay for your own smoothie) failure. No, not those goals.

I started the year wanting a stronger body and I have, despite Aiden having a look-see at my mid-section to check on the progress of my six-pack and claiming “Mom the top part looks ok but the bottom part is not ready yet” (Also, I’m just putting it out there that muscle does weigh more than fat I’m told. I’m hoping a lot more.) I qualified as a Pilates matt class instructor, one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. I turned our garage/ playroom into my very own studio. (Sorry not sorry kids!) Ok, so it’s just me in there at the moment and occasionally my best (and only) client Lisa, but that’s ok. Early days still. And, just making it by the skin of its teeth, launching my blog site. I could have sorted this weeks ago if I hadn’t gone arse-about-face with getting it setup, in those very productive hour(s) between kid’s bedtime (9pm+) and my bedtime (10.30pm). Sometimes these Udemy courses just complicate something that was a lot simple than I had anticipated. To be fair, I did get held up for ages on trying to pick the perfect theme layout for my blog.  I realised that I would be stuck there forever and so just had to pick one and go for it.  (Better late than never right?)  Jay and I took up Ballroom and Latin dance lessons as a way for us to spend some time together other than “Netflix and chill” and we are making good progress – on the dancing part, also on Netflix (Bloodline, Blacklist, Schitts Creek to name a few).

I have also been very fortunate to have some truly amazing travel experiences this year. I cracked the nod for our annual work conference which took place in Swakopmund, Namibia in May. In July, after draining all of Jay’s SAA airmiles, and a trip to Pretoria to get UK emergency travel passport (Yes after having my UK passport for 10 years, the one time I actually needed it, it expired… wait for it… the day before I was due to fly back home!), my sister Jo-Anne and I met in England, then jetted off to Italy for a few days sightseeing, sun tanning and skinnering in Lake Como.  In August we had an awesome Fit Night Out girls weekend with my #FitFriends in JHB (local is sometimes lekker).

The work front is going well (as in I still have my job), the kids are still alive, (High five to myself) Unfortunately, the fish did not survive, but that wasn’t my fault, promise. And I have not been sent off to some “rest and relaxation facility” yet. You know, the kind of place where they provide those awesome white jackets, with the feature straps and
on-trend belts, that go with any outfit. So, although there are still a few more days to go before the year signs off, I am going to go ahead and call it… 2017: That’s a wrap!

I am going to leave you with this quote from Morgan Harper Nichols, an American signer songwriter sums it up pretty succinctly.