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Less than 50 percent of Zambians have good saving culture

MAXWELL Phiri.

Analysis: MAXWELL PHIRI
WELCOME to 2019. You will retire with nothing if you do nothing with your savings. If you are not saving, you are not safe. Show me your retirement life, I will show you your past saving culture.
After a stint of being on break to research and reflect, I am back with a series of articles on savings.
I say so because less than 50 percent of Zambians have a saving culture for their retirement and such statistics are alarming. It goes without doubt that many retirees will end up being destitute, hence my passion not to see senior Zambian citizens wallowing in poverty after 55 years of hard work.
The future you buy now is cheaper than the future you buy later. Create a future you want now.
If you eat tomorrow’s food today, you will suffer hunger tomorrow, and if you wear tomorrow’s clothes today, you will walk naked tomorrow. You should always bear in mind that there is time in life when the chip goes down and you stop receiving that salary or rather your income. It is during the same period that you need six to eight months of your savings to sustain you for survival as you look for another job or penetrate into another possible business, otherwise you risk going into depression.
It has become clear through several interactions I have had with many retirees that in order for people not to end up in destitution after retirement, there is need for a savings culture to be a priority in one’s working life for the following reasons.
1. Fools do not save – It is wise to save and it is foolishness to the contrary. According to the Holy Bible in Proverbs 21vs20.
The Bible does not specifically mention saving for retirement, per se, and it does not mention NAPSA, Kwacha Pension Scheme, Saturnia, MINET, financial institutions, etc.
However, it does speak of saving money and it gives us clear principles to guide us on how we should save for retirement.
2. Workers should save money for perceived future needs, such as when they are no longer generating income.
The Bible speaks positively about providing for oneself financially through work. In 2 Thessalonians 3, Paul gives a warning against idleness. He reminds the Thessalonians of how he and his companions worked to provide for themselves while serving the church, despite the fact that they had a right to receive monetary support from the church.
In verse 10 Paul says the rule is that “the one who is unwilling to work shall not eat. ’’It seems, then, that we are responsible to provide financially for ourselves when possible.
The question becomes whether we should save money during our working life in order to provide for ourselves during our retirement years, when we are unable to generate income.
The book of Proverbs has many admonitions that promote saving money and other resources. According to Proverbs 21:20 “The wise store up choice food and olive oil, but fools gulp theirs down.”
Proverbs 6:6–8 uses an insect as an illustration about the need to save: “Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest.”
Recognising a future need and making provisions for it today is a biblically wise thing to do. Financial stewardship now, including saving for retirement, can enable us to better serve others later in life when one’s normal income stops flowing due to retirement.
We see Joseph exemplify the wisdom of saving in Genesis 41 when he stored provisions for the prophesied famine to come. We could even say that God’s command to the Israelites to gather enough manna on the sixth day to provide for both Friday and the Sabbath is a form of saving for a future need (Read Exodus 16). Of course, “Some of the people went out on the seventh day to gather it, but they found none” (verse 27). In their failure to plan ahead and save, they went hungry. My hope is that you will not start saving after 55 years of age and save nothing.
People should be wise to examine their current spending patterns and their perceived future financial needs. When considering how to save for retirement, it is good to pray over the matter, search the scriptures on the appropriate use of money, and meet with a financial advisor in any of the financial institutions for expert advice.
Saving is wise and trusting God is wise. As we save for retirement, we recognise that the goal is not a selfish enjoyment of a lavish life after years of work.
The goal is not even self-sufficiency, since our dependence is always on God, but it should be to prepare for our lives in the future after retirement. Make sure you involve the principle of triple P in life when planning for financial liberty. The principle stipulates that “Prayer without Plan is a Play.”
Have you planned and prayed for your retirement savings to avoid playing? Real retirees are known by their story of their culture of savings.
“If you are not saving, you are not safe”.
The author is human resource and administration director at the Rural Electricity Authority.

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