December 29, 2018 08:19
Koreans' life expectancy reached 82.4 two years ago, meaning that most people can look forward to living another two decades after the usual retirement age. That also means that they either need to make thorough financial preparations early or work well into their old age to make ends meet.
In reality, the average effective age of retirement is already 72.9 for men and 70.6 for women in Korea, according to OECD data, much later than in other countries. Yet most Korean who are employed are forced to quit their main jobs in their 50s.
If this trend continues, it will become a rare privilege for people to enjoy the autumn of their years in leisured retirement, spending quality time with friends and family and perhaps doing a little light charity work.
Preparing for retirement is vital, and plans should be made as early as possible. Some people may believe that they have finished all preparations if they have enough savings. But retirement is also about knowing how to live. That means people should think carefully about where, how, and with whom to spend their later years.
Healthy living is the best investment for a happy retirement. Keeping the body in good shape can help bring vitality to new, post-retirement ventures and cut medical spending. Old age can be misery without good health.
People should work out how much money they will need in retirement and check regularly if their current savings are enough to see them through a decade or two. They should also make fall-back plans in case savings run out. The easiest and most reliable way to prepare is to start saving money when you have a stable income. The old rule of thumb is to save 10 percent every month.
Another important element is to start thinking early about what to do in retirement. Leaving it until just before retirement may well be too late as people are likely to panic and make bad decisions. It is a good idea, for example, to earn qualifications or study for any post-retirement occupation. Here the Internet is a wonderful resource. Or if people do not expect to carry on working, they ought to find a hobby and build up a circle of friends and social contacts they can rely on.
Last but not least, make preparations to enjoy home life and where to retire. Many couples find that if they suddenly live in each other's pockets instead of setting out to work every day, conflicts and tensions arise, especially if they retire to the countryside.
Adapting to a new environment without an established network of friends is easier said than done. Access to hospitals is also vital, as is easy transportation if they plan to start a new life somewhere else.
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