Your Retirement is your responsibility. Nothing can be truer and pithy than that. We need to own how we plan to live our lives in retirement.
A person saving today with the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) needs to think strategically. Imagine someone who used to earn over UGX 700,000 per month during their working years, earning UGX 25,000 (approx. USD 6) per month in retirement.
For those that have in-house schemes/arrangements, the government or your employer may try but at the end, it boils down to what plans an individual has in place to live a comfortable life in retirement.
The Social Assistance Grant for Empowerment (SAGE) Programme being implemented by the Government of the Republic of Uganda under the Ministry of Gender Labour and Social Development is a step towards our desired future of Social Protection. Little as it may, it is a good start.
However, this program does not offer adequate funding during retirement for the majority of the working population.
Employers today are increasingly opening up to the importance of in-house retirement schemes commonly referred to as pension schemes or provident funds.
According to the Annual Retirement Benefits Sector Report 2018 released by the Uganda Retirement Benefits Regulatory Authority, we had 67 schemes administering over 2 million lives.
This proportion constitutes an estimate of about 14% of Uganda’s workforce under some form of retirement benefit arrangement.
From the figures above, one can say we have a challenge of pension coverage that will enable workers to have old-age financial security.
In a scenario, where resources are few and consumers are many; it is imperative that we don’t just work hard but smart.
If the findings indicated that about 60% of the NSSF payouts are wasted in within an average of 3 years, what plan do you have to ensure that you are not a victim of the above bracket?
Many opportunities exist through which when harnessed well can help one achieve a comfortable retirement.
As the common saying goes, “Too much of anything is bad”. You may find that it’s often a cocktail of such opportunities that help deliver the desired result, “A dignified retirement for all”.
Pensioners’ needs can only be provided for by their own savings. It would be easier to make a case that children should be cared for by the state, depending on their parents’ financial position, because they haven’t had a lifetime to generate their own savings.
But as we should not depend on anyone completely for anything so the individual should also have some backup plan with himself.
In this situation, the prospective retiree has to plan well ahead to save a decent amount of financial resources to cope up with retirement demands.
Needless to say, the thinking has to change to that of joint responsibility between the two factions. As the state takes care of all its citizens, every citizen to the last man has to prepare for their prime years in order to remove the load from the state.
Knowledge, therefore, is key; one will always pay the price for what they don’t know. Your Retirement has been and will always be your responsibility.
The Author is Brian Bongomin; Manager, Business Development & Operations – Enwealth Uganda.