30-Something and Still Without a Retirement Plan? Start Here, Start Now
Think you’re too young for a retirement plan? Think again
Yes, if you are a financially savvy Malaysian, you’ll know that you can start planning for retirement from the moment you start earning.
But in truth, most aren’t even mildly prepared even mid-way into their thirties with any type of retirement plan besides a mandatory EPF account, if employed.
It’s not unsurprising. After all, your retirement seems so far away and you are very likely trying to stretch and conserve the cash you earn to pay for essentials.
There is no right age to start planning for retirement; but you should certainly do so as soon as you are financially able.
Money and the Dirty Thirties
It’s never too soon to start thinking about how you will retire as well as focusing on a plan that is practical in the long run.
But if you are Malaysian, there’s a good chance that you’ve hit thirty (or forty) and are still without a plan.
What should you do? Just get started!
Yes, procrastinating any longer will mean losing precious time for your savings and investments to grow healthily.
So if you’re ready to plan for retirement, here’s how to get started as affordably and easily as possible:
1. Start saving, right now!
Believe it or not, a little goes a long way! Even if you can’t afford to put away large sums of money for your retirement, any amount is better than nothing.
And as basic as it sounds, simply saving for retirement is the safest, easiest way to plan for your golden years.
And there are many ways that you can save.
The least complicated would be to open a separate personal savings account or sub-account, to which you should contribute on a regular basis.
Have too many tasks to handle in a month and worry that you might not remember to make a deposit into this retirement account? Then do set up a standing instruction with your bank to automatically deduct from your primary savings account and make a deposit into your retirement account.
To save faster and earn more in interests, think about signing up for a high-interest savings account or enrolling in a savings program.
A savings program with a bank will typically involve a structured saving schedule.
Here you’ll have to set up a mandatory automated fund transfer and be restricted from withdrawing funds from the account until the end of the savings period.
2. Consider retirement insurance
If you have a lump sum headed your way i.e. perhaps a company bonus, etc., don’t blow it on frivolous buys.
Instead, consider making a single-premium payment toward a retirement annuity insurance plan.
A single premium payment is as it sounds – a one-time payment, but since these tend to be a little expensive; most people don’t often consider it an option.
However, when you do have the money, it’s a highly beneficial insurance plan that you’ll only have to pay for once. After which, you can enjoy the peace of mind that comes with in the years that follow.
A single-premium annuity plan can cost a minimum of RM10,000.
Now while this may appear to be a large sum, keep in mind that it is just one payment – your coverage will remain for years.
The annuity plan will cover you with a guaranteed periodic income stream (monthly or annually, etc.) for a certain number of years.
These types of plans often come with additional benefits too, such as life insurance, critical illness benefits, and some will even pay back the premium (with or without interest).
If you are interested in an annuity retirement plan or other type of retirement insurance, it’s best to sign up as soon as possible; premiums can get higher as you get older.
Also, there’s often a cut-off age for eligibility which varies with plans but is typically within the range of 50 to 60 years.
3. Dedicate a passive income toward retirement
A passion project or hobby that can yield a side income is an incredible and alternative way to prepare for retirement.
Not only are these types of projects a fulfilling experience that can help one grow and develop other skills, it can also be an exciting way to bring in more money.
Passive incomes are a type of income that does not require you to keep producing/working in order to earn.
In other words, you don’t have to be actively involved like you would your day job.
Passive incomes include rental earnings, royalties from art projects like writing an e-book or streaming music, and online marketing, etc. Check out our piece on how to use the internet to make money.
Of course, these projects may not yield a significant earning, but that’s not saying that it won’t.
And furthermore, by dedicating earnings from side projects toward retirement, you can use more of your primary income, especially if it is small, for everyday needs.
To effectively allocate your side income for retirement, do set up a separate savings account for the funds to be channelled into and which you should avoid dipping.
Also, do decide on a level of savings/earnings you should reach before moving it into a hard-to-reach account like a high-interest FD or investment.
This will help you build your fund faster with higher interest rates, while at the same time deter you from taking money from the account. Remember that withdrawing large sums from an FD account isn’t as easy as taking out money from a personal savings account.
Even a savings program, as mentioned above, has withdrawal restrictions in place, but it will not provide interest rates as high as the FD would.
The best way to secure your retirement finances is to combine one or all three (if you can afford it) of these methods to support your EPF savings.