Gauge nowhere near “F” & Golden City on the event horizon


[ Note fron Noel : As long as I’m already worrying about my immigration status and continued viability for NZ work, I might as well fret about how well I’m set up for late middle age, how I can cope when work is no longer an option and the alkansya’s run out, not a pleasant prospect I know.  Ironic given the depressing content but the blog is longer than the usual, pls bear with your accidental migrant kabayan, belated happy birtday to Teacher Aissa Apostol – Sta Maria,  belated happy birthday and congrats on passing her preliminary Australia CPA board exams, Ineng Montenegro Agustin and welcome to Wellington Atty Ronald “Samboy” Concepcion and Atty Nino Juan !  Lastly, the YouTube clip above symbolizes how fast time flies by, at least in this blogger’s life.  Take care everyone! ]

SOMEONE SMART, right now I forget who (almost everyone I know is smarter than me), once said that, depending on my lifestyle, tastes and tendency to get in and out of tight fixes, I need anywhere between 15 to 25 times my annual income for my proverbial nest egg, which as if you didn’t know is the fund on which I will depend in the years I’m put out to pasture.

So many caveats though : the nest egg itself is supposedly tax-free, but all the income you’ve earned or potentially earned to build it up ISN’T, so I can’t project reasonably if I’ll be sitting on my fat behind counting all the grain I’ve stored in my silos (figuratively of course, recalling Luke 12:13-21) or strumming on a banjo assisted by a dancing chimp (not unlike Dr Parnassus, after his Imaginarium was destroyed) and begging for my bread; it all depends on how much P-Noy (or his successors) has extracted from my pay envelope after all those years of hard labor 😦

Going back to the 15 to 25 rule, not only is it unrealistic, it also doesn’t take into account inflation and the dwindling purchasing power of the peso or whatever coin of the realm you happen to be toiling in.  Unless you are a super entrepreneur (like S.Jobs, God bless his soul) or an ahead-of-your-time visionary who can create markets for newfangled goods where none previously existed (also like S.Jobs), you are probably several zeroes short of your ideal pension goal.

To be brutally self-effacingly honest about it, I wouldn’t be in such an destitute state if I had listened to mi padres and pursued a respectable profession (like a bro), avoided marrying early and prioritized career advancement instead (like another bro), or hadn’t wasted time chasing windmills and grown a stable business (again, like yet another bro 🙂 )

It gets worse.  Pair the 15-25 mentality with the rule of 72, which tells you (roughly) in how many years, in peso or dollar terms, the cost of certain goods or services will double.  For example, if the current inflation rate is 8%, divide 72 by 8 (giving you a 9, last time I checked), and this means in 9 years or so, if you need P30,000 a month to survive, that amount, to buy the same basket of goods and services needs to be P60,000.  Pardon the simplistic thinking, but whatever figure you need to survive on, don’t forget to adjust it for inflation and reckoning how many years away you are from retirement.  We can start crying now.

For someone like me, whose worldly wealth consists of the coins jingling in my pocket, my sense of catastrophe is on a fundamental disconnect with cold reality, so that it seems almost comical at this late stage to start planting seeds.  But I’ve got to start somewhere.  I don’t even want to think of asking for an assist from Crazy Good Son, Ganda or Bunso in the near future, as they are just starting out and don’t deserve to reap the harvest of my indolence and lack of foresight.

Clearly, the only alternative is to work till the day I die, if health and a future free from accidents is my fate.  Whether my kabayan and co-travellers in life share my sentiments,  I don’t know for sure.

***         ***         ***         ***         ***

The photo that launched a thousand discussions. Kudos to the mom for her resilience !

What I do know for sure is that not all Pinoys think we shouldn’t involve our kids post-retirement.  A picture appearing on the local paper’s World section, published a month ago, earned me some pogi points among my co-workers. ( I don’t have the pic right now, but if it appears above then I found it in time. )  Evidently a Tondo couple produced all of 22 kids in their happy reunion  (17 of which survived childbirth) and were all living in the same one-bedroom dwelling, not counting spouses and kids of married children.  Quite a few of my colleagues couldn’t believe it, and a kind-hearted fellow even wanted to take in one or two of the children.

I told them that large families were often the norm back home although this brood was large even for our elastic standards.  Later in the day at home I told Kuya Flatmate how sympathetic the natives were to the kabayan family of about 30 living cheek-to-cheek in what was most likely a 25 to 30 square meter shanty.

Unexpectedly he turned the issue on its head.  Diba dapat hangaaan ang swerte ng magasawang yan he opined, leaving me with a dumbfounded huh?

Syang tunay.  Kung kahit kalahati lang jan sa magkakapatid ay magiging propesyonal , diba tiba-tiba naman ang mga magulang sa tulong at suporta?

Oo nga naman I conceded.

And so that returns us to the option I initially eschewed, soliciting help and support from my soon-to-be income generating progeny, not for the entirety of my needs mind you, but only little things like Mini Coopers, junkets overseas, Nike Shox or Kindles.

I don’t know if, creature comforts aside, my senior citizen ego can handle that.  Sunrise, sunset…

Thanks for reading !

Noel

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