There comes a time in your young adulthood journey where someone points out that pensions are so 1985 and that you will not receive one. As a consequence, one is advised to draw up some financial plan that will help you maintain a great lifestyle in your old age, when you’re unemployed and pensionless.
I have spent a significant amount of time thinking about this recently. How can you plan for a future you don’t know, and for one you’re not even sure you’ll see?
For instance, I love travelling now, but with my increasing dislike for commuting and sitting in vehicles, maybe I will no longer enjoy it in the future. So perhaps I sacrifice travelling now to save money for future travels, only to find out I no longer want to travel!
Another example is property. If I was to make a decision today, I’d buy an apartment in the city. But perhaps, in my old days, I’ll have a spiritual epiphany and decide that I want to live in nature and live like our ancestors. In that case, the rigid and stressful experience of paying a mortgage would seem a waste of precious lifetime!
On the other hand, what if I decide to take up a ridiculously expensive hobby, such as golfing, and find out that 29-year-old-me did not foresee this and save up for it, so that as an old lady I can’t actually practise my newfound passion.
So how do I know?
Will I be the jam-making old lady, hosting the family and her 12 grandchildren every Sunday, and enjoy their support?
Will I be the judgemental lady in a small village who spends her days looking out of the window observing others, and then telling the neighbours all the gossip?
Will I be a jet-setting cougar who’ll need a lot of cash for her toy boys, botox and travels?
Will I be a lonely, grumpy cat lady living in a smelly apartment, with no family or purpose?
Will I have a romantic future, perhaps living on a vineyard with my husband of 40 years and writing stories about my life?
And how much do each of these scenarios cost?
Rather than saving an arbitrary amount for an unforeseeable future, wouldn’t it be much more helpful to be presented with such retirement packages and a corresponding price tag? Rather than spending years gambling with money and time, one could just focus on choosing one’s future, and save in a more goal-oriented manner.
But of course, that’s not how life works.
And perhaps, at the end of the day, I realise what I really want is not in any package, because perhaps I want to be a jam-making old lady who lives on a vineyard with her four cats and grumpily plays golf while gossiping about cougars.