This article is contributed by Jacquelyn Sarah Wong, the co-author of The Secrets to Writing an eBook in Three Easy Steps. If you are a parent yourself, please make sure you check out Jacquelyn’s new blog (Wise Parenting Guide).  There is a lot of parenting tips you don’t want to miss.

Call it fate or bad luck, for some people their retirement money is just not enough to sustain them. Of course bad or no planning could be one of the primary factors as well.

The story of my uncle

I would like to take my uncle as an example. He is currently 63 years old and has been retired for 8 years already. He is getting a monthly pension of about RM800 per month. During his working life, he had to support a wife and 7 children. He was only earning a modest salary at that time working as an administrative staff in a government school. With his meager salary back then, it was barely enough to support the entire family. I doubt it that he would have much money leftover to be saved for retirement.

In a situation like my uncle above, it is hard for me to imagine how a person is supposed to plan for retirement. It is similar to having to swim with your hands tied behind your back. The whole point of this illustration is that certain life decisions that you make now, decisions that you make today will definitely affect your situation at old age or retirement phase.

Going back to my uncle again, he wanted or desired to have a big family. Whether he can afford it financially or whether he can save any extras for retirement is a secondary matter. My uncle thinks he has made the right decision and he was aware of the consequences. My uncle is considered fortunate to have the monthly pension to support himself and his spouse right now. In addition, all his children have grown up, are working and have families of their own now. His children support him by giving him money or by helping him to pay the monthly bills or living expenses.

However for a lot of other people, life would have been very miserable being in the same shoes as my uncle. My uncle knowingly sacrifices a better retirement to have a nice family. Other people just leave it to fate or luck and hope for a good life at old age. They make decisions now without foresight or looking ahead into the future.

Personally, I would put a comfortable retirement ahead of having a large family. My family planning will take into consideration whether my spouse and I can afford it or not. We agreed to stop after having three children as having more would mean we are sacrificing our retirement fund.

Therefore, the decision-making now is important if you do not want to blame fate later in life for a difficult retirement. On the other hand, you can be proud of yourself if you have attained a secure retirement by having made the correct decisions and necessary preparations.

    3 replies to "Decisions You Make Today May Affect Your Retirement"

    • Jeff

      Lets say you have 5 kids, can you afford to give them good uni education ?

    • mtsen

      sorry KC, I was in your shoes many years back. after many more years in financial planning, I have to say in term of finance planning, the larger the family the better it is. most people who do good finance planning always forgot the ‘qualitative’ side of FP. For example, bringing up one kid may cost X. But brining up 2 kids are not 2X but perhaps 1.5X. 3 kids 1.8x, 4 kids 2x, 5 kids 2.1x etc. Not quantitative, but the qualitative return is huge both during bringing up the kids and after the kids grow up. Its one of those life mystery thats hard to explain. so for those who read this post, good finance planning = big family :)

      • KCLau


        That’s economy of scale :)

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