At what age do you wish to retire? Here in the Philippines, you need to wait until the age of 50 before your retirement pay will not be subjected to taxes.

Otherwise, a significant portion of your retirement pay just gets deducted for taxes. Then again, if your separation from work was not voluntary and it just so happened that you were also already vested, then aside from getting termination or separation pay, you would also be entitled to receive your retirement pay and that would not be subject to tax -- even if you are not yet quite 50.

On the average, a typical employee will have 40 years of productive life in the workplace. This assumes that you start working at about the age of 20 and retire when you are 60. In the Philippines, the average life span or expectancy is 70 years old or thereabouts, so when you retire from work, you should have enough to support yourself for at least 10 years.

What's a good way to prepare for your retirement? You can start by setting aside anywhere from 10-20% of your gross pay each time to save and/or invest. You can also monitor your expenses closely so that you know just how much exactly it is that you need or if you see that you are spending too much, you can adjust accordingly. While still young, active and healthy, try to build other income streams. Do not look to just one source of income. Remember that there is no such thing as a "stable job." What's here today can be gone tomorrow.

So, while capable, discover your talents and see how these can sustain or support you throughout your life -- even beyond the age of 60 or 70. Keep your mind active and never slow down. Look into alternatives when it comes to growing and protecting your wealth -- from real estate to retirement plans to insurance to investments. Don't put your eggs in just one basket.

If you know of financial experts who can help you out and guide you, discuss with them. Network with people -- the person you meet today, can be of help to you tomorrow.

In all these plans, however, do remember that you can only plan your life so much. Life can only be controlled to a limited extent and we must be ready to accept and learn from anything and everything that comes our way.

Give to others. Give back to the world. When that's done, you will truly be able to retire in peace.

[By Angelica Viloria | Monday, April 7, 2008]

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