Olderhood Bermuda

Final new top for blog

Preamble

We all have experienced “Life Changer” Transitions in our lives :-

  • Getting our first full-time job
  • Getting married
  • Having children
  • Moving to a new place
  • Etc……….

But the BIG one is Retirement.

This is it……….. no other transition in life carries the weight of retirement. All the others can be adjusted if needs be – i.e. there’s time. Not so with Retirement. It is not easy to “rewind” and fix your mistakes. It’s a “cause to pause” … and deep-think. A time to get it right. The more we discuss, and explore, and seek opinions etc, the more we should be able to handle this Transition satisfactorily.

Olderhood strives to be part of your information search. We hope you enjoy.

Volume 5 – Sleep, Eat and Retire

Part 1 – Sleep.

“Do you suffer from insomnia like me???

So asked one of our Olderhood International Club Members.

The Transition from a full-time job to either a part-time job in retirement, or full retirement can affect different people in so many ways.

Energy levels, boredom levels, enthusiasm levels are all issues that we Oldsters sometimes have to negotiate. But there are the more biological aspects of life that can be impacted as well. Eating, sleeping and other bodily functions.

The routine of a day job – getting up at the same time weekdays, eating breakfast at the same time, leaving for work, working, eating lunch, leaving to go home, eating supper are all everyday things we did. Sometimes they changed slightly from one day to another, but by and large, they were the same day after day. It became habit.

Then wham … !!

“I don’t have to get up at 7 am any more”.

“I don’t have to rush breakfast and catch the train.”

“I don’t even need to shower at this time, I’ll do it later (or maybe not at all today !!)”

Changes of life indeed.

But often times we find that the “old” routine did regularize some of our personal routines. And now, because some of them have been turned on their head, we find that things we took for granted are now much more difficult.

After a hard day at work, it was easy to climb into bed, and just manage to turn off the light before the eyes turned off. Six or seven hours later, the eyes opened again. The time in between was dreamland or “out of it” land. Who knew, who cared.

Nowadays, because of the new routine, the eyes don’t close so easily, or so quickly, or even at all. Going to bed at the same time pre-retirement doesn’t help. Staying up much later sometimes doesn’t help either. What to do …?

Waking right on 6.30 am for example – the magic hour for years – is now a time to look forward to. Years ago, the idea that you could wake at 4.00 a.m. and feel refreshed seemed absurd. Now it seems the pattern.

Hot milk, chocolate, green barley, magnesium pills, sleeping tablets. Do they work ..?

In some cases probably yes. But the addiction concern, especially with any form of sleeping tablet, is, and must be, a serious issue. If your medical practitioner has prescribed them in your case, then so be it. But if you have chosen to take them yourself, be careful.

Truthfully, there is no simple and effective answer to the sleeping issue. We are all different, and we all have our own personal factors at play.

My approach is this …

If I need a nap in the middle of the day because I awoke at 4 this morning, then I have a nap. If I can catch a few “winks” at odd times of the day, then I do. If I take hot milk now and again, and it seems to have an effect, then I do. I used to take sleeping tablets every day – I don’t now.

I just don’t stress over a lack of sleep according to the clock. I have time to catch up these days……….because, hmmmm, oh yeah, that’s right………I’m retired.

Clocks don’t run backwards (even during the night)

“The past cannot be changed.
The future is yet in your power.

Hugh White, Author

Next week          –              Transitions Issue 8 –

Sleep, Eat and Retire – Part 2 – Eating

 

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Transitions Volume 4 – Face the Facts

Preamble

We all have experienced “Life Changer” Transitions in our lives :-

  • Getting our first full-time job
  • Getting married
  • Having children
  • Moving to a new place
  • Etc……….

But the BIG one is Retirement.

This is it……….. no other transition in life carries the weight of retirement. All the others can be adjusted if needs be i.e. there’s time. Not so with Retirement. It is not easy to “rewind” and fix your mistakes. It’s a “cause to pause” … and deep-think. A time to get it right. The more we discuss and explore and seek opinions etc, the more we should be able to handle this Transition satisfactorily.

Olderhood strives to be part of your information search. We hope you enjoy.

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Volume 4 – Face the Facts

You’re not young anymore.

Some people get upset at the use of the word “old”.

Which is part of the reason we call this programme, “Olderhood”, not “Oldhood”.

We’re as sensitive as you are.

But guess what. I am older. You are older. We are all getting older. I can’t change that and neither can you. Sorry, if that bursts a bubble or three for you, but Face the Facts.

Things you used to do all day, now take all day to do. Ideas that required energetic bursts years back, just don’t seem to pop up much these days. Thoughts of climbing mountains have morphed into sitting on a comfortable chairs looking at mountains.

I say, “so what ?”

The Transition from then to now is a Transition I embrace. I will not beat myself up because I can’t run 4 minute miles anymore (never could if truth be told, but it sounds good). I take a wee bit longer to walk to the shops perhaps … but the shop will still be there when I arrive, and I bet they’ll still take my money just easily. Why the rush.?

I am at peace with myself that I can’t do things like I did as a young man. But I sure as heck know that I am so much smarter now than then. I have experience. I have knowledge. I have intuition. This grey hair didn’t come cheap.

Apart from the physical aspects of this Transition, I also know that my financial position in retirement is what it is. I really can’t change it that much. Can you .? Face the Facts.

Live within your means, buy what you can, enjoy what you like. Don’t have silly dreams of what might have been. Look at photos of your dream house, but don’t walk along a guilt trip path. It will do you no good. You will merely spend the rest of your days wishing this, or wishing that. What a waste.

Your health is a trickier proposition I concede. If you are healthy, well done. If you are not healthy, then I agree that trying to Face those Facts, may be troublesome for you. Illness must not be ignored or “poo-pooed”. It is too important. So, it might be too cavalier to say, “Face the Facts”, but to the extent that you do have reasonable health, although not so agile as you once were, then if those are the facts, so be it.

Enjoy life in the fashion you are able to enjoy life at this stage of your life.

Clocks don’t go backwards.

Transitions

“The past cannot be changed.
The future is yet in your power.

Hugh White, Author

 

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How to have adults

IMG-20130601-00423I am thinking about offering a new course entitled “How to Have Adults”. It would be a prerequisite for all parents and grandparents of teenagers.

Think about it – there is information everywhere regarding how to have and raise children, but where is the information on how to raise responsible adults and maintain lifelong relationships with these people?

Absurd you say? I’m not so sure. The more I live, the more it seems to me that the way we interact with our peers is some sort of ever evolving wrestling match in which we roll and play (and occasionally would each other); the moves become more complex as we age, but the rules of engagement remain pretty much the same. We are all pretty much on equal footing – some of us are bigger and stronger than others; some of us cry easily; some of play rough; and some of us would rather just sit on the sidelines and enjoy the show. We all intuitively know these things and put them into practise like changing lanes on the express way, standing in line at airport security, hunting for a parking spot at the mall on a Saturday morning and everywhere in between.

But what do we do when it comes to our children and grandchildren?

More times than not, we bully and judge the very people we “ought” to be nurturing, guiding and encouraging. We chastise them for making decisions we don’t agree with – their hair, their friends, their clothes; never considering that taking steps at self-expression is how they begin to develop a sense of self.

And then we make it personal. We destroy their self-confidence before it is properly formed by telling them how disappointed “we” are that they did this or that. We belittle them for their mistakes with a confident air of “I told you so”. We tell them their actions are unforgivable and we get bitter when they don’t visit us.

But is this fair? If we don’t show them forgiveness and respect then who will? Who will their role models become?

If we don’t allow them to make mistakes and learn from these experiences, then who will?

If we selfishly take no interest in what is going on in their lives, yet judge their behavior when they act out, how can we ever expect to be listened to?

In today’s fast paced world of social media, video games and iPads there is less and less interaction between the generations. We had elders to turn to and guide us, but we seem to have lost the ability to talk to this new generation who live lives with plugs in their ears. Something needs to change but it will have to start with us – the youngsters know no other way to exist.

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Transitions – Volume 3 – Being around the House

Preamble

We all have experienced “Life Changer” Transitions in our lives :-

  • Getting our first full-time job
  • Getting married
  • Having children
  • Moving to a new place
  • Etc……….

But the BIG one is Retirement.

This is it……….. no other transition in life carries the weight of retirement. All the others can be adjusted if needs be i.e. there’s time. Not so with Retirement. It is not easy to “rewind” and fix your mistakes. It’s a “cause to pause” … and deep-think. A time to get it right. The more we discuss and explore and seek opinions etc, the more we should be able to handle this Transition satisfactorily.

Volume 3 – Being around the House

For starters, the old “Hi honey, I’m home” just doesn’t have the same ring to it, when you’ve already been home all day. Retirement can do that to you, they say.

Of course, if you are on your own anyway, then the issue of talking to someone else in the house may be less of an issue,

As Drew Barrymore says, “There’s a tremendous difference between alone and lonely. You could be lonely in a group of people. I like being alone. I like eating by myself. I go home at night and just watch a movie or hang out with my dog. I have to exert myself and really say, oh God, I’ve got to see my friends ’cause I’m too content being by myself.

One of the main catalysts for divorce is being on top of each other, in each other’s space every day. Nerves get jangled, arguments start, usually silly little things, and tempers get frayed. It’s not uncommon.

When thinking through the various elements of retirement, the Friction Factor of being constantly together must be considered.

It is a significant Transition to go from say 5 “awake-hours” per day in the house, to say 15 “awake-hours” per day. Many people just can’t cope with the bumping into each other. Of course, if you live in the 20-room mansion, it may not be such a drama.

The advent of e-mail has helped enormously in this dilemma. Trying to find quality time to have a serious discussion, even though both of you are at home all day, can be surprisingly difficult. Therefore, sending him an e-mail to lay out your points of view can be constructive, useful and less adversarial than actual conversation. Sad, but true.

The single person, in this context, has it made. He or she doesn’t have to think about what to say, when to say it, or worry about the blowback. I fully appreciate that being alone through choice, divorce, death etc, brings its own challenges, so I have no wish to demean the “loneliness” factor at all. But the Transition from employed life to retired life for the single person, in this context, may not be such a challenge for many people.

Having reasons to be out of the house for at least part of the day may be more than useful. Part-time work, charity work, gardening, and so forth, may provide not only pleasure in the doing thereof, but might also be extremely valuable in maintaining good relations in the marital home. Three week trips, on your own, to the Sahara may not be the ideal choice of course !!

Changing from a life “outside the home” to one inside can be a problem. On the other hand, with some forethought, some planning, some joint discussion and some common understanding and appreciation, being around the house more, can be a relatively easy part of your new life.

Transitions

“The past cannot be changed.
The future is yet in your power.

Hugh White, Author

Next week          –              Transition Issue 4             –              Face the Facts

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Why grannies don’t do aerobics

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Why Grannies Don’t Do Aerobics – Sheena Storie / Guest Contributor

Would anyone in their Sixties, who has rheumatoid arthritis, walk around their living for over an hour carrying two five pound bags of potatoes?

No, you laugh, of course not!

But we Grannies might.

I just walked around with my newest grandchild in my arms. She is 6 weeks old and 10 and a half pounds – and cries constantly.

Her mother desperately needed a nap and I didn’t even hesitate to keep her with me.

“I’ll look after her, go on have a nap. It’ll do you the world of good”, I urged her.

I was pleased with my suggestion when the baby’s mama left. But, my granddaughter hadn’t read the memo….

“Oh, grandma was I supposed to sleep?”

So there we were walking and singing around the house. With me patting the fragile little back and hoping she’d close those pretty blue eyes.

Not a chance!!

I tentatively sat on the sofa. She didn’t like that, so I stood up and walked around some more.

How did she know I had sat down?

Life is very different with grandchild number 4. I’m nearly seven years older since I walked the floor with the first one. I don’t remember my arms aching as much.

With my first grandson he got all my attention. I was learning to be a grandparent and the two of us spent many days getting acquainted….he got my undivided attention.

This new little member of my family is going to have to share me with three others.

I walked around and around my living room and promised her she would enjoy as much attention as her sister and cousins.

“Let’s make a deal”, I whispered. “You stop crying and I’ll play with you when you get bigger whenever you want.”

“No deal, Grandma”…..and the crying continued.

So, I walk and sing some more.

I guess she knows what she’s doing, she has all my attention right now. No need to wait until she is bigger!

(After a few visits to the pediatrician and some trial and error remedies, this little one is now on soy milk. She may be lactose intolerant, or have colitis or severe gastric problems but until this is determined, she has relief from her suffering with soy milk. She is much calmer and the crying has now become the normal ‘I’m hungry feed me’ cry).

As my family grows I question if I will be able to spend time with this sweet little girl, or will she have to wait in line to get my attention.

Probably not.

I’ll do what countless Grannies around the world do everyday – carry on with the love and care that Grannies have, and the ability to share themselves with all their grandkids.

Later, when the children have gone home to their parents – take two aspirin (or a glass of wine) and lie down.

Job well done ladies.

Sheena Storie is a grandmother of four children ranging in age from 2 months to 6 years. During her lifetime career as an educator, she was a learning support teacher to children with learning difficulties, including dyslexia.

ssAs Author of The Granny Blog*, Sheena draws on her traditional Scottish upbringing and values, as she relates the real life challenges of being a modern Gran to four active youngsters. Her entertaining writing combines a keen sense of wit and honesty as she navigates the adventures of family life, and offers advice regarding the shepherding of grandkids in today’s complex world.

* TheGrannyBlog.com is a registered domain name of Olderhood.com

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My new sleep better strategy

 

Like most women beyond a certain age I would rather not admit to, I have been having trouble sleeping. Well not so much falling asleep, I could do that at 9 pm no problem – but staying asleep and getting back to sleep when I do wake up is a different matter altogether.

As I have an analytical mind, I tend to confront problems with research and a well thought out plan. After doing my homework, I tried getting up and watching tv for 30 minutes and progressive muscle relaxation therapy (which sounded promising) but nothing worked.

And the more I read, the more frustrated I became because just about every article I read was the same. Either my diet was to blame, or I had sleep apnea, or I simply needed to turn up the air conditioning and meditate. Sure you try meditating at three in the morning when you are completely stressed out that you have to get up in three hours and will be exhausted all day!

Surely someone out there had a better idea of how to handle this? And then I found an article that suggested that the only reason I was not sleeping was because “I” was undisciplined and allowing myself to stress about problems and issues instead of going back to sleep.

Me to blame? Impossible … but I read on anyway. And then I found other articles that calmly pointed out that most of the time it is factors under your own control that affect the quality of your sleep. And I thought about this for a bit and I realized that if this was the case, then I could sleep better simply by deciding to. Sure enough … that very night I caught myself rolling around at 1:30 in the morning with a thousand thoughts streaming through my brain. And I thought – it’s a faucet and I can just tell myself to turn the noise off.

Great … silence … now what to think about…

Ok so maybe I am not a Zen master after all. But I realized I could decide to think about one calm very happy thought and just think about that and nothing else. And if nothing else I would at least be able to relax for a change. And then the strangest thing happened …. I WENT BACK TO SLEEP !!! And even more exciting is the fact that doing this has continued to work night after night.

So here is my new strategy – if I sleep; I sleep. I am over obsessing about it and I am only going to focus on relaxing. And to this end I bought myself two good quality mattress pads which I placed on the bed on top of each other (one for support on the bottom and one for cooling comfort on top of it) and I have to say my bed now feels entirely different and is a lot more comfortable.

I am also on the hunt for some tart cherry juice concentrate to mix into my herbal tea because it is a natural source of melatonin. According to Dr. Oz “melatonin is a hormone produced in your brain’s pineal gland. When it gets dark outside, your eyes sense the lighting change and starts making this hormone, which communicates to your body that it is time to prepare to sleep. Melatonin helps maintain your daily body rhythms, and is an important antioxidant in the body known to fight cancer.”

I am certain that for some people, insomnia is a sign of a serious health problem. If in doubt, consult your doctor; but if you are in good health give this simple relaxation technique a try and let me know how you get on. For further reading try one of the following:

Dr. Oz: http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/what-eat-deep-sleep

Mayo Clinic: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/insomnia/AN01611

Everyday Health: http://www.everydayhealth.com/sleep/light-sleepers-vs-heavy-sleepers.aspx

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Transitions – Volume 2 – Filling your Day

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Preamble

We all have experienced “Life Changer” Transitions in our lives :-

  • Getting our first full-time job
  • Getting married
  • Having children
  • Moving to a new place
  • Etc……….

But the BIG one is Retirement.

This is it……….. no other transition in life carries the weight of retirement. All the others can be adjusted if needs be i.e. there’s time. Not so with Retirement. It is not easy to “rewind” and fix your mistakes. It’s a “cause to pause” … and deep-think. A time to get it right. The more we discuss and explore and seek opinions etc, the more we should be able to handle this Transition satisfactorily.

Olderhood strives to be part of your information search. We hope you enjoy.

Volume 2 – Fill the day

One of my concerns as I approached retirement was how to fill the day.

I had led a fairly active business life, especially in the last 4 or 5 years. So much so, that the other things did in life were either ignored, or squeezed into an inadequate time-frame. Never seemed to have time to do everything I needed to do.

Therefore, if I didn’t have a day job to go to, then all of a sudden, the biggest chunk of my day had evaporated.

Panic.

I was determined to get more things to do. But they had to be joyful things, not fillers.

The reality for most people is that retirement nowadays will constitute approximately 25% of your entire life. If you take out your childhood and schooling years, say 25% for that also, then you discover that your retirement years make up some one-third, or more of your adult life.

That’s a big number.

Therefore, if you don’t think about filling your day, then you’re going to live long years doing nothing. Perish the thought.

You should structure your retirement years as aggressively you did when you were looking for a job, even more so if you had been out of work at the time. That exercise back then, could help you in these later years. Determination.

If you have a choice about retiring, unless you are at the age when it is mandatory and thus you have no choice, then I would go as far to say that if you don’t have a retirement plan, don’t retire until you do.

Bold words I agree.

But, the notion that you just have to “get out of here, so I can relax” is a notion that will bite you if you do. I firmly believe that.

I also know many people who thought that golfing every day would be a perfect dream, only to get tired of it after a few months, and now golf once, maybe twice a week (much like they did before retirement).

The Transition is more complex than realising a dream.

You may be fortunate to not having to seek retirement work, maybe your pension and investment income is strong enough to allow you to some esoteric stuff. Hobbies. Golf. Gardening. Hiking. Travel. Crocheting.

One of the big mistakes many retired people make is to believe they need to find something to do as a one-time shot. In other words, “I need to find a pastime that will get me through to the pearly gates.” Nonsense.

How’s about finding something to do for the next 5 years, then start all over again for the ensuing 5 years, then on and on. Just as you altered course in Adulthood, so you can alter course in Olderhood. There is no prescribed formula. Do what you want.

One of my pleasures is not dashing off to the office at 8 o’clock or so every weekday (and some weekends !!). I still waken early – actually I waken much earlier now than ever I did. But now, I read the newspapers online, check the sports, work on Olderhood, send a few e-mails, coffee, shower and so forth ……… voila, it’s 9.30 and the office is still there. It doesn’t open until I show up. Power.. !!

I did open a small office when I retired. I did want the feel of a business life and I needed my own space. But, I can toddle off to the office about an hour or so later than I did my entire life.

This Transition is a joy.

I also admit that come 2/3 pm I start to wind down for the day. Not because I need to, but because I can. I earned the right to choose. So have you.

Boredom is a constant concern for many people in retirement. I can understand that. But I think it’s not so much boredom, but a guilt feeling of not been scurrying about every day, all day. “I’m wasting my life away.” Nonsense.

I firmly believe you need some planning. If you idly lay back and let the TV control your life, then you’re on the slippery slops. Don’t do that please.

If you had to plan a third of your life at age 25, what choices would you have made..?

And remember … “Clocks don’t run backwards”

“The past cannot be changed.
The future is yet in your power.

Hugh White, Author

Next week          –              Transition Issue 3             –              Being around the House

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July 1, 2014 by Bill Storie

NATIONAL PENSION SCHEME (OCCUPATIONAL PENSIONS) ACT 1998IntroductionThis 2-Part section will inevitably be seen as “boring” and “dry”. Understood.However, it is nonetheless worthwhile to take a layman’s review of the Act because some of the important areas can so easily be skipped over due to “legalese” and loss of interest by the reader. Sections and References will be included for navigation purposes.Part 1 addresses the Registration and Administration of Pension Plans.Part 2 will address the Financial and Reporting requirements of Pension Plans.Part 1 Restrictions on application of Act – Section 3Let’s start with a negative – this act does NOT apply if you are in the Civil Service or Legislature.Obligation of employers to establish and maintain pension plans – Section 4Every employer, apart from the above, shall, in relation to his employees, establish and maintain a Pension Plan in accordance with this Act, and make contributions to that Plan.Registration of the Pension Plan – Section 5Every Pension Plan must be Registered with The Pension Commission. Therefore every employee/member of that Pension Plan has the right to approach the Pension Commission on questions, grievances and issues.Administered by Administrators – Section 6Every Pension Plan must be administered by Administrators registered with the Pension Commission, under prescribed legislation and guidelines. Administrators can be the Employer himself, representatives of the Employer, or third parties, such as recognised Pension Administrators. Regardless of who the Administrator is, they are under the authority of the Pension Commission. 

General responsibilities of Administrator – Section 7

  • The Administrator must “ensure” that the Pension Plan is run in accordance with the formal documents of the Plan ; the Act and its Regulations ; good management practice ; and must submit an Annual Information Report to the Pension Commission.
  • The Administrator must the care, diligence and skill in the administration and investment of the Pension Plan.

 

General responsibilities of the Employer – Section 8

The Employer is obligated to provide all pertinent data and information to the Administrator

 

Documentation – Section 9

The formal documents establishing the Pension Plan must consist of several requirements including Objects, Appointment of Administrator, Membership, Benefits, Calculations and Rights, Investments, Pay-outs, etc.

 

Accrual of Pension Benefits – Section 10

  • If the Pension Plan does NOT accrue benefits “in a gradual and uniform manner” it will not be Registered by the Pension Commission.
  • If the Pension Plan allows the Employer – at his discretion – to vary the structure, benefits and rights it will not be Registered by the Pension Commission.

 

Amendments to the Pension Plan – Section 11

Any proposed Amendments must be notified to, and approved by, the Pension Commission.

 

Power to refuse – Section 12

  • The Pension Commission may refuse to Register a Pension Plan if it fails to comply with the Act.
  • The Pension Commission, at any time, may revoke the Registration if the Pension Plan falls out-with the intent of the Act.

 

Information to Members of the Pension Plan (Employees) – Sections 13 and 14

  • The Administrator of the Pension Plan must provide to every Member thereof, in writing, an annual statement outlining the Provisions, Rights and Obligations in respect of the Pension Plan.
  • The Administrator of the Pension Plan must provide to very Member thereof, in writing, an annual statement outlining the Prescribed Information of the Members Pension Plan, Pension Benefits, Account Balance and other pertinent information.

 

Information to Members on Termination – Section 15

When a Member terminates his employment, or otherwise ceases to be a Member of the Pension Plan, the Administrator must provide a written statement of Prescribed Information, and Status of the Member’s Account.

 

Access to Documents by the Member – Section 16

  • The Administrator of the Pension Plan must provide to any Member, former Member, Agent of the Member, Trade Union Representative, Employer – all pertinent information, data and documents in relation to the Pension Plan.
  • However the Administrator may not provide personal information about a Member unless express authorisation has been received in writing from that Member.

 

Eligibility of Members – Section 17

Every employee is eligible if he is 23 years old or more, and has completed 720 hours of employment with the Employer.

 

********** That’s enough for this Part 1 ************

“Transitions” :  Volume 1 … Money

Preamble

We all have experienced “Life Changer” Transitions in our lives :-

  • Getting our first full-time job
  • Getting married
  • Having children
  • Moving to a new place
  • Etc……….

But the BIG one is Retirement.

This is it……….. no other transition in life carries the weight of retirement. All the others can be adjusted if needs be – i.e. there’s time. Not so with Retirement. It is not easy to “rewind” and fix your mistakes. It’s a “cause to pause” … and deep-think. A time to get it right. The more we discuss, and explore, and seek opinions etc, the more we should be able to handle this Transition satisfactorily.

Olderhood strives to be part of your information search. We hope you enjoy.

Volume 1 – Money

If you’ve never kept track of your money before now, you’re in for a shock.

I know a man who retired about 6 years ago. He has done well in his life, doesn’t own property, lives a reasonable, but meagre, lifestyle. He and his wife take good vacations at least twice a year.

“So, Geoffrey”, I asked, “do you know what is in your bank account, or pension fund, or investment portfolio…?”

“I don’t have a clue” he replied.

“So, do you ever fear you might run out one day…?”

“Nope”

I wish I could be like this fellow. I’m not.

I’m not paranoid about money, but I’m one station before it.

I recently read some research about asking retirees what their biggest concern was. Health was certainly at the top of the list, but the results indicated that their feelings about Health are dictated by the “It is, what it is” syndrome. Fair enough.

With that out of the way therefore, Money was by far and away the primary concern.

The Transition from having a regular weekly/monthly wage coming in, to a no-wage income lifestyle is extremely difficult for most people. Of course, the pension income is the safety net, either your company pension or some form of state pension. However, the feeling is that, there may very well be a “run-out” problem in later years. If the pensions are structure properly of course, this, by and large, should not be an issue – but the research indicated that many people nonetheless have the fear of running out.

The underlying issue is that if it does run out, there is no way back. You’re stuck.

There are any number of online calculators to tell you “How much you will need in retirement”, and in fairness they mean well. However, they must only be used as a rough indication. Please never base your budgeting and cash flow calculations on them. Everyone has certain unique elements to their lifestyle finances. Moreover, as age creeps along, there may very well be a medical situation arising which knocks the calculations off.

There is also the issue of leaving the inheritance for the kids. Nothing wrong with that, provided you don’t deprive yourself of the basics in life, and even better, some of the indulgences. Just remember, they may be grateful, but on the day they get your money, you won’t be around to hear their thanks !!

Back to budgeting and keeping track.

It is an essential part of retirement living to have a good handle on your finances. You don’t have to be a spreadsheet whizz, but some form of control, on at least a monthly basis, will serve you well. In a later Series, we will address the mechanics of setting up Spreadsheet Budgeting for you.

Never underestimate the impact on your life if you have this fear of having no money. It is real. It is a 24/7 worry. It is a health impactor. Everything you can do to alleviate the concern through proper budgeting, finding part-time work, re-positioning your investment portfolio etc., should be given consideration. The anxiety and stress caused by diminishing cash flows, without any means of fixing, must not be ignored. Face it head on and be assure that you are not alone.

Lastly, the issue of Money will underpin, many, if not all, of the future articles in this Transitions Series, so we will keep coming back to Money Matters as we proceed.

Transitions

“The past cannot be changed.
The future is yet in your power.

Hugh White, Author

Next week       –           Transitions Issue 2 –           Filling the Day

 

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Private Pensions in Bermuda : A 10-Part Series Written by Bill Storie, Bermuda

June 22, 2014 – By Bill Storie

Part 1 – Introduction

For some time now, and especially in the past few weeks, there has been considerable discussion and concern about the structure and administration of private pensions in Bermuda.

To be clear from the outset – private pensions are those pensions set up by your employer, and not the Government-run “State Pension”. Different pensions, different rules. Moreover, this series does NOT discuss Civil Service/Government pensions.

Private pensions are governed by

The Pension Commission …..

under

The National Pension Scheme (Occupational Pensions) Act 1998.

While the form and contribution structure may vary slightly from one employer to another, the core elements are all the same.

Regardless of how much you and your employer contribute to your pension scheme and/or regardless of how the funds therein are invested over the years to retirement age, the pay-out rules are standard.

At date of your retirement, your Pension Scheme (the “Fund”) has $X,000 in it. That then becomes the starting point for the ensuing pension payments to you over the next years of your life (the retirement years).

You will be offered two basic pay-out options :-

  1. The Annuity method
  2. The Draw-Down method
  1. Annuity

An annuity is an insurance contract between you, the retiree, and an insurance company. In return for a lump sum (the money you have in your Pension Fund), the insurance company (annuity provider) will give you an annual income for the rest of your life. Simple as that?. Yes, but …..

The conditions and calculations regarding the annual pay-out to you must be analysed VERY closely. They must also be clearly understood.

  1. Draw-down

This pay-out option simply allows you to draw an amount out of your Fund annually, subject, in Bermuda, to a maximum 7% of your then-current Fund balance. As the Fund (hopefully) tops up each year through investment value/income, the draw-down takes out of the Fund and the 7% is calculated on the balance of the Fund at the beginning of each year.

This a much easier to understand method than the annuity, but if the Fund runs out of money before you die, you have no additional recourse, unlike the Annuity, which pays out until death.

Later in this Series, the comparisons of Annuity versus Draw-down will be examined – there are important differences, and retires should seriously consider BOTH methods fully before deciding which one to take. If an Annuity is chosen, it goes on until death, whereas the Draw-down can be converted at any time (using the then Fund balance) to an Annuity.

Pension Funds in Bermuda are generally administered by “Administrators” as defined by the Act, and regulated by The Pension Commission. Their role is to provide professional management, including accounting, reporting and investment, typically by using a third party investment manager.

While the role of the Administrator is professionally handled, unless the retiree takes into account his overall financial condition at retirement, the Administrator can only offer guidance on the pension itself. In other words, if a “holistic” approach is not adopted, the choice of pay-out option may not be the best option for the retiree, and the Administrator may be unduly “criticised” for poor advice.

If a retiree has other sources of income in retirement (rents, investments, part-time work, for example), they should all be taken into consideration to assess the best pay-out choice. If the pension pay-out is only a small percentage of the retiree’s total annual income then the pay-out choice may not be overly important. If however the retiree depends substantially on his private pension, then the pay-out option is critical.

This has been a broad introduction to the private pension issue. Choices can only be made, both in terms of pay-out at retirement age, and investing during the working years, IF ALL financial matters are considered.

The Pension Act provides a “One size fits all” model, when in fact, there are endless permutations.

In later Parts to this Series, more in-depth discussion will take place on all aspects of the decisions to be taken by all of us.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Are You Prepared for Early Retirement?

June 15, 2014 by Bill Storie

As a person who has just taken early retirement through choice, I count myself fortunate. In these austere and worrying times, it is all too common these days for people to be “forced” into early retirement.

It is all very well to receive a lump sum settlement which can, depending on your circumstances, seem attractive. However, if the underlying raison d’etre remains the fact that retirement is retirement, regardless of it being early through choice or force, then reality may kick in sooner rather than later. The next year or two may be financially safe, but if caution and prudence are not strictly adhered to, then the settlement can sometimes be frivolously thrown away.

We have discussed before the “denominator” effect and how the calculation of “cash to the end” requires close scrutiny. However, if there is no prior warning of early retirement being thrust upon you and if, as a consequence of that surprise, you have not planned ahead, then choppy waters may be straight ahead.

It is often disturbing to plan for the worst. Many people think that by such talk, they may even entice the decision upon themselves, so they disregard the possibility. That’s not the best approach to be honest.

If pension plans have been built up throughout employment, and the pension payout has been configured to include future earnings and contributions, then the sudden halt could spell disaster. “I will get X amount when I am 65, so therefore I will be fine.” Then wham.

Much better to straddle the early retirement settlement over the years between now and actual age 65. Divide the amount by that number of years, and either take the amount as income year over year to age 65, or ensure that the funds are invested appropriately to produce the estimated income at age 65 and beyond, as previously calculated.

If alternative employment, even part-time, or on a much reduced scale, can be achieved to bolster the settlement then take it – providing that you are not committing yourself to a few years of purgatory just to squeak through. If you can get extra income without upsetting your sunset years until age 65 and beyond, then by all means, go for it.

Planning a doomsday approach of being thrust into early retirement too early may not be something that comes naturally to you … but, by NOT planning, or at least recognizing the possibility, could prove more troublesome. Once retirement i.e. the cessation of regular monthly income, hits home, then there is perhaps no way to go back and make amends. You may be stuck with the cash flows as of date of early retirement…. for life.

Run some numbers and see if your current pension plan could withstand early retirement, just in case it comes to pass. Go on, be bold.

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