Ready to retire
My story starts at the end, rather than the beginning. Here I am, it’s 2016 and I am finally heading towards ‘retirement’. That means I can start to focus on everything I love the most: art, photography and travel.
I initially set myself an objective to retire at the age of 55. However, at age 45 – 10 years before that determined date – it became obvious that it was not financially achievable. So I readjusted my retirement date and postponed my exit for age 60.
From age 42, I became obsessed with saving and preparing for retirement. Every spare rand was invested and I did whatever I could to consolidate or downscale my life. To simplify it through a range of committed disciplines over the ensuing years.
At around age 22, I met a senior and extremely successful businessman, who was semi-retired at the time. He still enjoyed going to work every day, although financially he didn’t need to. He said to me: “You decide. You can either live like a king now and retire a poor man, or make the necessary financial sacrifices now and retire like a king.”
This stayed with me for the next 19 years. Until finally, the penny dropped and I realised I had neglected this piece of excellent advice. I had been extremely irresponsible and I had some serious catching up to do.
From that day onwards I preached, “save, save and save some more”. I was committed to set an example for everyone to follow. Over the next 17 years the results were nothing short of spectacular. I can vouch for results produced by saving with discipline. Finally I was in the best position financially to retire at age 60.
My challenge to you is this: what are you doing about your retirement? How serious are you about preparing and sacrificing comfort and extravagance for your pension years? Times are getting tougher. Financially everyone is being stretched to their very limits. My best piece of advice for you is the following:
1. If you cannot afford something say “no” immediately. Don’t think about it. Don’t try and justify it. Say “no” and walk away. Or rather run away!
2. Consolidate – get rid of clutter and pay off all debt as soon as possible. Once you have achieved this, never become a slave to the “Lender” again. Stay out of any form of debt as it is unforgivingly expensive.
It’s been nearly 20 years since we started HVZ Financial Consultants. What a journey it has been and continues to be. My son, Grant, and daughter, Joni, have taken over the business interests. They have excelled and, more importantly, have proven to be worthy of the daunting task ahead. I know they will always be committed to your best financial interests – first and foremost. Although I am able to retire at the age of 60, my passion for the industry keeps me at the office. So, for the time being, I am still around to consult.
HERMAN VAN ZYL
Lifestyle financial coach
April 28, 2016
Grant van Zyl