Money matters

Invest Editor Lorna Tan: Decide how you want to live after retirement


Money Matters is a new personal finance column helmed by Sunday Times Invest editor Lorna Tan.
Money Matters is a new personal finance column helmed by Sunday Times Invest editor Lorna Tan.

Financing for retirement requires us to do some scenario planning on our own. It is certainly worth our while to set aside time to evaluate as realistically as possible our future needs and wants. Be mindful that everyone has a unique financial situation. For a person with simple retirement lifestyle needs, the nest egg can be much smaller than that for someone with higher expectations. Here are some questions:

•What retirement lifestyle do I desire?

•What does my spouse want to do in retirement?

•How long do I expect to fund my retirement?

•Where will I retire?

•Will I be involved in some form of income-producing work?

•What flows of passive income would I have?

•What is my family medical history?

Your answers will have a significant bearing on how much you need in retirement. Even if you have a financial adviser, it is useful to work out your own sums. By starting early, we can plug the gaps, be realistic about when we can stop working, revise our expectations and make adjustments along the way.

And if and when you are on track and the goals are within sight, you can avoid taking unnecessary financial risks with the nest egg or cash flows you have built. Preserving our wealth may be challenging for some of us because we have to fight greed and the temptation of following the herd on the flavour of the month.

It is commendable that Ms Lim started working early towards a comfortable retirement by envisaging her post-retirement lifestyle and setting aside savings for annuities, including CPF Life.

Her focus is not just on her balance sheet. Mindful of her family's medical history, she ensures that she has appropriate health insurance, eats healthily and exercises six times a week in a gym. Having a good exercise regimen and sensible diet is the best way to prevent illnesses and spend less on healthcare.

For more holistic retirement planning, Ms Lim can consider doing up her will and setting up her Lasting Power of Attorney to appoint appropriate care-givers to take care of her personal and financial affairs in the event of mental incapacity.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on July 26, 2015, with the headline 'Decide how you want to live after retirement'. Print Edition | Subscribe