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Plan to retire at 45 now clearly impossible

Kwanele Ndlovu Singles Lane
Being stuck in employment for a life time is a fearful thought for many professionals./123RF
Being stuck in employment for a life time is a fearful thought for many professionals./123RF

I am on my fifth job as an adult and just last week I had one of those mornings where the first words out of my mouth were foul and pretty much everything went down hill from there.

Such days are few and far between, but when they do hit me - I always wonder what exactly went wrong with my grand plan of retiring at 45!

Forty five was supposed to be that golden year when I hang my gloves and enjoy the rest of my life and my money.

I had it all figured out.

All I had to do was work hard and save the bulk of my earnings. Hell, I even thought I would own a good time piece by then and pass it on as a family heirloom. All this while my first Mercedes is still a gem and I am able to move around with it while living comfortably.

The idea of retiring at 45 looked doable when I first heard it as an ambitious teenager, from an old white man who told us it would be the best thing we gift ourselves.

I guess for the past generations, 45 was a different stage of life all together. They would have all of four children by the time they were 30, having married at 20 and anticipating to celebrate 50 years together before they rest in peace.

Those are probably the culprits who started the whole fantasy of retiring before even living for half a century.

As for this generation, some are still club DJs at 45 and owe about three year's instalments on their BMW M4s.

Some are fluent in baby-talk because they drop off toddlers at créche daily and know very well that they will probably have to work till 65 before all their kids are independent.

I can't see how it would ever be possible for us to retire that early. Even the folks who are brave enough to leave employment do not go into retirement. They slave in entrepreneurship and worry about how they will build enough wealth to sustain them through old age.

In fact, the prospects of not having a retirement fund at 60 is the very reason I see myself stuck in employment for the next three decades.

I work hard. Always have. Then the more I earn the more black tax I pay. So in the end, I can only manage to save a little bit for a rainy day.

But as fate would have it, it rains on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday and Friday.

So, I will still be climbing the corporate ladder at 45 and may have to skip some evening events to fetch my child from school, take her to ballet and then help her with grade three English spelling.

My son may even have reproduced by then, and I will be buying twin clothing for his child and mine.

But I will not be ready, either financially or mentally, for lawn bowling while my hairline is still popping and I can run a marathon every weekend!

At the least, I hope I will be a corporate executive at age 50 and retire from actual employment at 60, and do work here and there till I am 70... like most successful people!

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