A Paradigm Shift in Retirement

Originally written for It's Time!

Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans.
- John Lennon

Retirement. The word springs to mind a thousand ugly words --- wrinkles, weak bones, senior citizenship, bottles and bottles of health supplements and huge amounts of time pining for what has been.

It’s a mean feat in this country to retire. The common practice being --- parents work day and night to send kids to school, kids graduate from school, are sent off to the real world and the parents have no choice but to retire ungraciously – with all their money spent on their kids futures, forgetting they too, have a future to think of.

I’ve seen how parents transform into dependents as soon as they quit work. They become slaves of their children, taking care of apos, and seemingly minding every nook and cranny of everyone’s lives. I’ve seen siblings fight with each other, pointing fingers on who should accompany mom/dad for their regular check ups, who will cover this month’s medicines. When they get confined, who’s to take a day off work to stay at the hospital or to drive for them?

It may be blamed on culture and old practices. But life moves so fast, there will always come a time when one is trapped with decisions that lead to pitiful consequences. If there was anything that the parents of our generation seemed to have forgotten, it was to think of themselves, too.

Take for example my friend, Pam. It’s only been three years since she started working and her parents have been ragging on her to provide for their household since it’s her turn to earn the big bucks. “Anak, siguro naman pwede mong suklian ang pagpapa-aral namin sa’yo, ” says her mom who recently retired , decided on being the one to take care of Pam’s yet-to-be-born daughter.

During a brunch date with my friends, Pam recounted how her mom would come to their house [she lived next door], and nag her to pay their bills. To this, Sophie, another friend, grunted in exasperation. Apparently, her mom ventured as well into retirement, confident that since her daughter was working in a multinational oil company, she could retire with probably an image of herself lying on a bed of money.

Thankfully, we can choose not to perpetuate it any longer. It’s not too late for me and you and every Juan dela Cruz who’s willing to brave the path of financial preparation.

The average Filipina/Filipino might think: How am I supposed to plan my retirement fund when I haven’t even gotten to prepare for the most basic necessities of life? I need a house, my kids’ educational fund…not to mention, the dogs’ grooming, a new car, newer laptops, a pro camera and the list goes on… Retirement is the last thing on my mind. And sadly with this being last, one will tend to forget about it totally. The next time one looks, he is retired and…poor.

Because I choose not to be poor when I retire [I can take old, but I don’t want to be old and poor], I evaluated my options to plan for the perfect retirement.

1. Save away. I will start another bank account and dub it the “Retiring Gracefully Fund” and won’t touch it for however long I remain un-retired.


2. I can avail of the Sun MaxiLink Prime product I stumbled upon my RSS feed this morning. Sun MaxiLink Prime is a VUL Product that provides me with life insurance protection of 200% of the Face Amount plus the fund value of my policy. Even better, it gives me the choice to invest a portion of my premiums in 5 potentially high-yielding funds to grow my wealth and fund future needs such as retirement. Essentially, my policy's fund value can be my retirement fund. Hello, retirement!

Not bad, at all. If anything else, the second option makes me excited to retire. Can you imagine all the ballroom dancing I can do with my time and money? I can go to the beach, read a book, travel about or sleep all day…I can do anything I want, except be a burden to anybody else!