Build your own retirement safety net
Sagicor is advising working Trinidad and Tobago nationals to set up personal pension arrangements if they wish to maintain their current standard of living during their retirement years.
According to James Camacho, Vice President, Operations, with Sagicor Life Inc, there are several reasons why an individual should set up their own pension in preparation for retirement. However, the most compelling of these is the fact that the National Insurance System(NIS)provides only a percentage of your current income during retirement and, as currently structured, is already under pressure to deliver these benefits beyond a certain timeframe.
“Life expectancy for citizens continues to rise, while the demographic profile of the population is trending towards older ages. This means that the ratio of individuals contributing to NIS versus those receiving retirement benefits is shifting towards the latter,” he stated. “The result is that as time goes by, more money will be paid from the Fund than injected into it.”
Regardless of their current stage in life, every individual should therefore look seriously at starting their own pension arrangements to guarantee that there would be money there for them to not only survive, but also enjoy their retirement.
Additionally, he made the point that a monthly NIS Retirement Benefit can only be accessed when employees have paid a minimum of 750 contributions to their account through the remittances of their employers. Citizens who have not met the minimum contributions will receive a retirement grant, which is a one-time lumpsum payment.
“For most individuals, their expenses would typically be less by retirement, assuming that mortgages and other loans have been cleared off. When this is combined with other savings or pension benefits from their previous employers, they should be in a relatively good position,” he explained. “The challenge also applies to those individuals earning higher salaries prior to retirement, as the individual would need a larger amount in order to maintain the minimum recommended level of income during retirement, which is 65-80per cent of their pre-retirement income.”
Camacho said every Trinidad and Tobago citizen, regardless of their salary level, should try their utmost to put aside something for their retirement from as early as they can, given that the NIS benefit would, at best, only provide a portion of the income they had become accustomed to