My grandparents have been in retirement for about fifteen years and they are struggling. They’re on a government pension with support from their four kids but they still have a car they can’t afford to fix and even though both have had hip replacements, they can only afford an apartment at the top of a four story building with no lift. This year, my Grandma’s birthday present from the family wasn’t some nice toiletries or jewellery but money to pay for an eye operation so she doesn’t go blind. It’s not exactly the relaxing retirement they imagined.
When you look at their history they really shouldn’t be in this situation. In fact they should be living very comfortably and taking long relaxing holidays. My grandfather was a very successful geologist as a working man. He and his business partner made good money discovering mines just before the mining boom. He discovered a large diamond mine at one point, of which the finder’s fee made him a very wealthy man.
As a young family, they had all the latest gizmos. My Dad loves to remind Mum that her rich family could afford a colour TV when his couldn’t afford a TV at all (although he told me once that as a kid he lived in a shoe box). They had a huge house and some investment properties. They were doing very well for themselves and neither of them were concerned about their future.
Unfortunately, Granddad was a bit of a gambler and liked to make high risk investments. He’d done very well on them in the past but he had no back up plan if these investments didn’t work out. After his retirement, that is exactly what happened. A string of his investments went pear shaped and my grandparents found themselves with their house as their only asset and not much money at all.
In a last ditch effort to make his money back, Granddad mortgaged his house and invested the money in a friends business venture. It wasn’t too long until the friends business went under and my grandparents found themselves with nothing. The bank took their house and sold it at auction (it was then renovated and sold a year later for three times the mortgage). They now live in a small rental apartment, on a tiny pension, in a situation they could easily have avoided.
Even if retirement seems a long way away, if you don’t plan for it you could follow in my grandparents footsteps. What they did might sound foolish but a lot of it was just plain bad luck without a back up plan. Seeing a financial planner about creating a plan can make retirement a no-brainer. And I would recommend seeing one sooner rather than later. We can help you choose a super plan when you enter the workforce, guide you through investments and help you to protect your wealth as you travel through life. You will be thanking your younger self down the line, I guarantee it.
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