Tactics for living on inadequate pension (1)
There is no doubt that majority of pensioners in Nigeria are not paid adequate monthly pension due to several factors. The low rate of saving for the Defined Contributory scheme (DB) and the very low in-built rate for the Pay-As-You-Go, or Defined Benefit (DB) variety, are the key factors.
Those who defined the rate of pension under the DB system were so narrow in their definition that pensioners under its umbrella mostly get less monthly pay than those in the Contributory Scheme family. This is a serious disparity, although it is not the topic for review here. The issue today is about what pensioners can do to live well regardless of their low monthly pension.
Happily enough, there is much of what they can do to adequately meet their monthly expenditure with little stress. There are countless legitimate ways to earn money to supplement their take-home monthly stipends
Many financial management specialists have suggested hundreds of steps, actions and tactics that can make it possible for pensioners in this country to live in more than the proverbial minimum comfort.
The experts often suggest that where it is possible pensioners should work in the post-retirement years to earn some income that could pay their bills and even save a little. This suggestion could be seen as over flogged by many. However, it is possible for any pensioner in this country to earn more than his last salary if the pensioner engages in carefully chosen activities.
For instance, a retired journalist who has the flair or skills for writing can become a writer for a leading newspaper. By writing wellresearched articles, the management and editors of the publication can reward him or her to supplement the monthly, even if irregular, pension. In fact, there are many sites on the Internet where publishers are looking for freelance writers for different sectors of life.
With the proliferation of FM radio stations in the country and the scarcity of competent, professional and experienced broadcast journalists, a retired broadcast person with sufficient experience and appropriate professional orientation can actually be selective in deciding a broadcast outlet to work for. It can be on full time, or just say, twice-a-week, basis.
In this era of doing business on the Internet, a pensioner can earn huge amount of money by conducting research for clients on the Internet. This is very realistic. The clients can be local or international. All it basically requires is gaining proficiency through appropriate training in the application of the appropriate tools in Information Communication Technology and deploying them to do the job.
The opportunities are replicated in other various fields: administration, branches of engineering, teaching, agricultural extension, livestock herding and for those who have the strength and passion for it, chauffeuring, that is, driving.
Driving implies transportation. A retiree with a good car can commercialise it and select a route to service in any city. I did not intend to make this write up personal, but some of my friends and colleagues in the civil service can recall that I was using my car for commercial rides between Area One and Asokoro on some weekends in Abuja. Three or four return trips invariably yielded more than enough money to cover the cost of ingredients (cefane) for the family and fuelling the car. This was in the tail end of the 1990s.
A retiree with qualifications and experience in plant sciences (Botany) was at a loss on what to do at the end of his salaried life. He was advised to start a plant nursery, become a florist and work with architects and landscapers to see wonders. He heeded the advice. He started one. And the result: he earns in profit more than his last monthly pay in a fortnight.
Determined retirees can be successful like our Botany retiree in their own areas of specialism.