Think About Your Future Pension

Whenever I meet with senior citizens whiling away the time at the public plaza, the talk always turns to old age survival. A greater majority of the folks are supported by family members, usually sons and/or daughters, a few supported by brothers and/or sisters and a handful by relatives outside of the immediate family. We live in a society that look favorably at this, caring for the old when they can no longer earn their living. But how long will this tradition last? Throughout the world, old time values are being overtaken by pragmatism plus the growing sense of detachment from parents once an individual has his or her own family.

A few lucky old timers in our group of park goers are pensioners from their government service or private work. There are more beneficiaries from Social Security System (SSS) than from the Government Social Insurance System (GSIS), because the private sector is the bigger employer. Our discussions regarding pensions are a wealth of good information that the “not so old” must fully understand. My pensioners friends are of varied personalities and some are examples of how lucky a person can be.

Our first pensioner is the typical hardworking man who despite being born poor, survived this world. He is very industrious, honest and friendly, the qualities an employer will treasure most. The only setback was his educational background, he only finished high school. But being able to read and write was enough for him and his contented employer. He worked as Janitor, Messenger, Office Help and Driver for one company for four decades. And when he retired he was very happy because he got four times the minimum pension from SSS. He thinks he is lucky because his employer was diligent in paying all his SSS contributions for forty years while many paid only ten years, the minimum requirement for an old age pension.

Our second pensioner has almost the same background, born poor, worked hard and enjoyed a simple life. He suddenly stopped working because he had to go home to the province to take care of the family farm. He had lived and worked several years in the city before he resigned and became a farmer by choice. And the changed of environment was so good to him that he started his own family. When he felt he is getting older, he took a vacation back to the city. He asked his friends about the old age pension he keeps hearing on the radio he listens to at night. His friends understood and accompanied him to the SSS office. The good staff searched for his employment record and smiled at him, then said “you will be eligible to a monthly pension”. He was contented with the minimum pension but his good friends discussed it with him and convinced him to go back and seek more information. The friendly people at the desk referred them to a senior staff, who evaluated his case and suggested in continuing his contributions more and to increase the contribution rate every month until he reached the maximum limit. He wisely followed this advice. His old age pension is a bigger amount, more than that of the first pensioner, thus he thinks he is luckier. Yes, he is luckier because of the decision to increase his contributions, thus assuring himself of an increased pension.

Now the third pensioner, is the luckiest, he claims. He worked until he saved enough and retired early enough to start his own business. It was a very good venture that provided enough for him and his family. And when he was required to pay the SSS contributions of his employees, he included himself and all of his family. That was a wise decision because now that he is already a pensioner, his wife also has her own pension. He said his pension is all to himself, so he thinks he is the luckiest and I agree. It is good to have an old age pension, and better if you have a bigger pension, but as they all say, it is best if your pension is all yours, I can only smile at this.

Let me cite this exceptional story. The person was a young soldier who was part of the contingent sent to the Vietnam War, survived it, got promoted and served several years, assured of a pension from the Veterans Office for his military service. He was taken by a Congressman as member of the security staff, serving for several years and earning for himself GSIS pension for years of government service. He also became part of a security agency set up by his retired military and police friends and he contributed to the SSS for ten years, thus also entitled to the pension. Now he is enjoying three pensions. But this case is considered as one in a million, and it can not happen to so many.

Maybe you can think of a better way to achieve your own future pension which can be bigger, more than one and all of the pension for yourself only. Good luck.

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Retirement With Lifetime Pension

When I was young, it was all work. More work and hard work until old age caught up with me. Luckily or to be exact about it legally, I was entitled to a lifetime pension. If you are working in the private sector, the law gives you the Social Security System (SSS) and if you are in the public sector, the law gives you the GSIS (Government Service Insurance System). These laws were enacted to give the workers protection and security in the twilight years of their life, when the worker can no longer work and earn a living. I was very happy when my pension started. I just have to go to the ATM every month and thereafter, to get it.

Most of us would find the transition, from working very hard to earn a living then suddenly doing nothing but receiving a monthly income, a welcome relief. The first year would be very satisfying, as you very well know that you are going to receive a certain amount monthly and you would do your very best to live within that budget. Most would reason that, there is no longer any room for extra expenses or out-of-budget spending. But after getting adjusted to the situation for a while, the pensioner can well balance his expenses to include saving for the unexpected emergencies. You would always be thankful of the lifetime pension.

After retirement, I have lots of free time, and I have more time to go in the malls and out in the parks. I befriended a lot of people, mostly old folks who just wanted someone to talk to. You would be surprised that not all retirees have pension, and this made me ask why. It seems that not all people prepare for their old age. Many had work experiences but were not informed well or had thought that they will not live long or simply ignored the obvious fact that we will get old and can no longer work someday. Some of these people consider me as lucky. I think to myself that yes, luck was very good to me but that is another story because I have two (GSIS and SSS) pensions to enjoy, which we would discuss later.

Having no pension would not be a problem if you are already rich when you grow old or just when a son or daughter has become very successful and decide to take care of you. But these are very few and seldom in our country. This made me think, and I resolved that information about retirement and pension must be available for everybody. I have since tried my best to impart my experiences and observations about retirement and pensions to all who cares to listen. The government is doing its part, with the concerned agencies GSIS and SSS have doors open for people who want to get information, while radio and television programs are widespread reaching all parts of the country. The young generation is better informed with access to the Internet, where all questions can be researched and answered.

Pension would make you enjoy your retirement better, no questions about it. Better pensions would make it best. How then could we have better pensions? How come that some pensioners have two, three or more pensions? Why do some people enjoy their pension in dollars or foreign currencies? I would like to answer these questions next time.

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