Our Readers' Opinions
August 9, 2016
We need to secure ourselves for life after retirement

Editor: There is a saying that life begins at 40, but that opinion isn’t shared by me, because from my experience, that’s when one has to begin preparing for retirement. Old age brings with it the song “things I used to do, I do no more,” for those of us who were born in the 60s the next 15 years will bring us to our golden years where life and its challenges begin. Eating habits change, lack of energy, getting ill regularly and visiting the doctor become habits. All these changes go hand-in-hand with the aging process.{{more}}

It appears that Vincentians are living longer. The question we have to ask ourselves, are we prepared for life after retirement? Most Vincentians would say yes, because they have some sort of financial benefit from the NIS or central government, but can our finance from these agencies provide for our needs? We, as Vincentians, need to secure ourselves for life after retirement before it’s too late; time is something we cannot afford to waste.

Sometime ago, the Prime Minister Dr Gonsalves made a suggestion to increase the age of retirement and Vincentians just sat aside and allowed that thought by Dr Gonsalves to become policy. Could you imagine it will take one 15 years to qualify for the financial benefits from the NIS, after all those years of paying, one could perhaps only live five years after he/she has retired. Ridiculous, isn’t it! The suggestion made by Dr Gonsalves was one to strengthen the financial capacity of the NIS; while the NIS should find ways to strengthen their financial capacity, it shouldn’t be at my expense.

Another agency that Vincentians should pay close attention to is Bunpan. Since I was a boy, my parents enrolled me and all I’m doing is paying and paying. It is time for the Financial Services Authority (FSA) to do something to make sure that these institutions provide quality services for all Vincentians before it’s too late. It’s time for Vincentians who are enrolled with Bunpan, when they reach the age of 80, they should automatically stop paying their monthly contribution and still be qualified to receive their benefits. I have a friend who is 100 years of age and is still paying her monthly contribution; I think that is very unfair. My opinion is when a Vincentian reaches the age of 100, the state should accept complete financial responsibility when the person passes away.

A few years ago I experienced a death in my family. I went to a financial agency to receive the deceased’s benefits, but because he was unable to maintain his payment, I was told he isn’t entitled to any benefits because he didn’t finish all his payments. In my opinion, that was extremely unfair and unjust. It’s time for Vincentians who reach the age of 80 to be treated fairly by these financial agencies; something needs to be done.

Bunpan, NIS and credit unions need to fully understand that their strength is with membership and their members should be treated properly. I’m hoping those agencies realize that life after retirement is very challenging and they need to do much more to support us as members, because membership is what drives these organizations.

Some suggestions for organizations like NIS, Bunpan, credit unions: find ways to strengthen their financial stability: go on a membership drive, make diligent financial investments, ensure that the Government pays their contribution to the NIS, make sure members feel safe and secure, make sure members feel appreciated and find quality persons who understand the function of the board of directors to lead. These are a few suggestions that I think will strengthen the stability of these financial agencies. I am hoping that my advice will be taken under consideration, and I’m also hoping to see a change in how members of these organizations are treated. “Remember without membership you will have no business”! I’m hoping they keep that in mind; I gone!

Kingsley De Freitas