Retirement Strategies: Foreword

When I first came to Perth I was at my prime age. After spending 4 years, I feel my prime years slipping by and with my birthday coming up in a few days time, I already feel like an old fart. This isn't anything to do with being young-at-heart. Being a gamer, there is a good chance I will meet my son in an online game and beat the ass out of him, speak his lingo and piss him off with a victory taunt. Or showing him how a proper full instep shot should be taken outside the penalty box despite the creaking bones. Yeah, being young-at-heart. I know all about it.

However that concept is at best, a delusion. The willingness to think, speak and play younger does not delay, much less reverse aging. The mirror does not lie. When we age enough, we die, regardless whether we hold a pokemon soft toy to bed every night or not. Thus at this age, I find myself thinking about retirement very often. I tried speaking to people I know about this and I felt a similar experience like when I was researching about migration. I was an odd one out and no one around seemed to be interested in it at all, let alone providing me the answers or at least do some theory crafting with me. When I brought up the topic of retirement, the answers I got were usually curt, as if it was an evil thing to contemplate about. Otherwise, the responses would be sarcastic or scornful. The less robust ones would be some of resentment, resignation or self pity. In short, nobody wants to talk about it.

Sorry if you are one of those I pissed off by bringing up this topic. One day when we are all retired, (by choice or not), you can be sure I will start pissing you off again by discussing about death. I never change, I guess. After all these years, I know I will never. Back to the topic of retirement, after starting this blog, I came to appreciate my habit of thinking years into the future when I began to receive emails from Singaporeans asking me how he or she could migrate to Australia. The difficult cases were always those who were "overaged", i.e above 40 years old. That made me realise how close I was to end up in their situations had I not thought about stuff like that in my late 20s. Plans like that take years to unfold. If we factor in procrastination, cock ups and change in circumstances, we will look back and admit it wasn't a bad idea to start planning early because all these take up a great deal of time, holding plans up more than we initially imagined.

Anyway, since it is still early days of retirement strategy crafting, it is still bits and pieces everywhere and my mind is in a mess. I'll rely on a tried and tested solution to clear out my mind - by blogging it. In time to come, I'll iron things out and refine my ideas over time. Hopefully when retirement or death comes (whichever is earlier), nothing surprises me and I will be able to bua long long and take it easy as usual.

The visit to Daniel Tang's huge house on his 1000sqm land got my lazy ass up to continue learning about this. Somewhere along the lines of our conversation was him locking all his "cash" into his property to gain an advantage during the income test of the pension scheme - if I didn't get the gist of it wrong. 

So tonight I spent some time reading about the Australia pension scheme and to my dismay, I found that it was actually as complicated - if not more - than the migration point system. Here we go again. As numbers haven't been my forte all along, this just adds on to the difficulty of grasping the overall picture in order to come up with a strategy to position myself best. A strategy comes with many contingencies. No doubt, I will have one which does not rely on the Australia pension scheme at all. That is not a surprise because many years ago, I have already decided not to rely on the CPF scheme in my retirement plans. So should one of these schemes turn out good by the time I retire, it will make things better. If not, I'll still get by. That is the idea.

The reason why I distrust schemes like that is because they can change the rules all the time. Or worse, scrap it totally. Who fucking knows? Just two days ago, for example, I've read the politicians here trying to make a change in the pension scheme that will affect me directly. It says here,

Under the change, pensioners who have spent less than 35 years of their working life in Australia will find their pensions reduced after six weeks of overseas travel – down from the current time limit of 26 weeks.

The new rule, which is due to start in January 2017, was announced in the last budget and is yet to pass Parliament.

Though there is a possibility that my creaking bones will see that I will not be travelling more than 6 weeks overseas after all thus unaffected by the possible new rule, this kind of shit pisses me off because I hate my freedom being threatened. Just like some assholes who implement MOP rules for HDB. Yeah the travelling rules has yet to be passed and may never be but the fact that some bastard has the audacity to suggest that means that anything can happen within the next 20, 30 years. I've learnt my lessons well from the way the dogs handled the CPF scheme. Never take anything for granted.

It's late. I am drowning from the sea of information about the Australia pension. Too tried for any breakthroughs. It seems that we have to be clever about dealing with our income, properties as well as cash to position ourselves properly. Thus, it confirms that early planning is important. It seems that I may need a foreign bank account someday. I've created a new topic label "Retirement Strategies" and will input these stuff under this tag in future.

Here is a retirement piggy bank for you: