a dash of
SPICE |April 2016|
Growing Up Strong
issue 8 april 2016
Interests and Hobbies
Fashion & Beauty
Food & Drink
4 7 8 9 12 15 20 24
Feature: Growing Up Strong The Coach
Health & Fitness Travel
Seeds of Inspiration
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Approaching my 50s has me toggling between confusion and trepidation; confusion because I really don’t understand what the big deal is and trepidation of being old and having to work till the day I die. Other than a it takes a little longer to lose weight, a little aches in the joints and some greying hair, I feel and think the same way I did when I was in my 30s, or so I would like to think. S o I don’t see why anything should be different when I’m 50. But when I think about being 70 or worse, 85, my h eart starts pounding. What will be my life like? Will I still be active? Will my memory start fading? Will I still be healthy? Will I have enough money to live a good life? So many questions but so few answers. As I speak to other women, I realise that I’m not alone. So many of you have the same concerns but because you have such busy lives, these issues get pushed back and you say “I’ll deal with them some d ay”. Because that some day is so vague, it gets pushed further and further to a point that it is forgotten and next thing you know, you’re 65, out of owork and n ot sure what to do with your life. This issue is dedicated to every woman who has to plan for her retirement-‐ and that’s you. Retirement should not be delegated to someone else, be it a family member or a financial advisor. You need to plan as it’s your life! I know many women get stumped by the facts and especially the figures, but that’s because everyone who speaks about financial planning speaks in a language that only an “elite” few can understand. I prefer to have to have things spoken in plain language, the simplest of terms so my brain knows what to do and what to plan for. And that’s just what I’ve d one as I put the April issue together – no fancy jargons; just p ure common sense approach to retirement. If you have a story you’d like to share and inspire women, we’d like to hear from you. Drop us an email at email@example.com and b e part of the spicy family. Begin again; Live again; Love again.
Editor, A Dash of Spice
As an 18-‐year-‐old, I could say that there was no opportunity. As a 28-‐year-‐old, 38-‐year-‐old or a 48-‐year-‐ old, I can only blame m yself if I don’t take responsibility for my own happiness.
Hi, my name is Ai Nee, wife to a wonderful man for 16 years and a mother to a 15 year old son and a 13 year old daughter and three fuzzy cats. I was born and raised in Malaysia, and have been calling Singapore home for more than half my life-‐time now. In case you are wondering how long that is, I am 48 this year. I gave up my work to be a stay at home mum, until both my kids started to spend a good half of their days in school. Since then I have dived into my areas of interests, and am a certified ACTA trainer, Master NLP ( Neuro-‐Linguistic Programming ) Practitioner, M aster Chios Practitioner, Time Line Therapy Practitioner, Hypnotherapy Practitioner and EFT ( emotion freedom technique ) Practitioner. Two years ago, I finally fulfilled my “secret dream” to pursue a degree. I am now second year into my Business Management Degree with a local university, and thoroughly loving it except for assignments and exams. Having the privilege of working with people at a very intimate level as their life coach, I believe in empowering people with tools that they can use to make the change they want. Seeing people transform motivates me and keep my passion going as the engineer of change. I am passionate about issues involving women, children and family. By sharing my story, I hope to connect with the women out there, who are struggling to stay afloat. You are not alone. Connect with me at https://www.facebook.com/integralspacesg/
growing up strong:
by Ang Ai Nee
was a social butterfly and was not going to be tied down by a child. Besides working, she had a busy social life. I was very lucky to have a pair my of very doting grandparents. Looking back, grandparents were really awesome, for them to accept and love me, even though I was the result of an affair with a married man. M y grandparents’ love compensated for the parental love that was missing in my childhood. This lasted until I was 7-‐years-‐old, when both my grandparents passed away within 6 months said of each other. I remembered that everyone Have you ever been told that you were picked up from still the rubbish bin as a baby? I was told that for as long as I was too young to understand death. I can remember clearly the loss and the immense I can remember and growing up, I actually believed that. There was no father figure, just a mother who was grief I felt because my grandparents were my such a beauty that as a young child, I truly believed that whole world. However, no one thought t hat it was important to help a 7-‐year-‐old grief. I was picked up from the rubbish bin as I looked nothing like her. I was not a studious child growing up; I did the Years later, I realised that many Chinese families in Malaysia said that to their young children, for whatever reason, or simply for n o reason at all. What the adults didn’t realise was the detrimental effect on the child’s psyche. Strangely generations of Chinese parents would say that to their children, and this pattern perpetuated from one generation to another. When I was selected to be a flight stewardess after three stringent rounds of interviews b y Singapore Airlines, I was painfully insecure and lacked self-‐ confidence as it was known that the interview process was very tough and probably that only 10% of the applicants made it through all three stages of the selection process. When a compliment was given to me, I always thought that I was being made fun of; and for the longest time, I could n ever accept a compliment graciously. Growing up in a single parent family without any siblings, I was desperate for company. M y mother was never home. She worked to support us, not like all my friends’ mothers, who were always home. My mother
minimum that was required, as my mother never supervised my study nor took any interest in it. I did relatively well and was in a top girl school. Whenever I got good results in the major national examinations, my mother would brush it off by saying that I probably cheated to get such good results. Again, it was one o f those Chinese ways of not praising your child in case you or your child come across as show offs.
When I was in primary school, I remembered a stinging incident when some of my classmates called me a “bastard”. Somehow, someone that, found out that I didn’t have a father. After I learnt to put up pretence: that I had a h appy family. I put up a happy front, I always pretended to be cheerful, always went o ut of my way to p lease others, hoping that I would be accepted and loved. Being an only child, with a mother who was hardly at home, I was a lso desperately lonely. I was never truly h appy.
After I finished high school, I was offered a job as a flight stewardess by Singapore Airlines. Moving to Singapore with no relatives and friends, and just a grand total of RM500 to my n ame, I started the next p hase of my life. On the overnight bus from Penang to Singapore, I was overwhelmed with fear, as well as a sense of release. Fear of the unknown future in a country where I knew no one; a sense of release as I finally broke free from the stress of having to deal with my mother’s debtors.
One of my aunts, very wisely told me this when I was still a teenager and struggled with all the drama at home, “Taste the bitter first, then the sweetness will come.” I h eld on to her advice to this very day. If things are bad, they can’t be bad forever. It can’t rain forever. It can’t be downhill forever. We just have to start taking responsibility of the outcomes we want, instead of letting the circumstances or people lead us, or blame the circumstances or people.
By then, my mother was addicted to gambling, and she was deep in debts owing money to relatives, friends and to loan sharks. She would often go “missing” for a few days, and I h ad to handle whoever turned up at our doorstep demanding money. We moved from house to h ouse. M y only memory of a home, was a little single storey terrace house where I stayed with my grandparents until they passed away.
I realised that I can only blame my circumstances or feel sorry for the situation I am in up to a certain point. After that, I have myself to blame if I were to allow the circumstances to continue to drag me down or to affect me. Then I am just as responsible for my own “misery”. As an 18-‐year-‐old, I could say that there was no opportunity. As a 28-‐year-‐old, 38-‐year-‐old or a 48-‐year-‐ old, I can only blame myself if I don’t take responsibility for my own happiness.
I went through many rough patches in life, from a loveless childhood, to not having money to pay bills or h ave decent meals, to relationships that were simply b ad choices because of my desperate need for love. I was saving every penny I earned to try to fill the bottomless hole created by my mother’s gambling addiction. I was looking for love at all the wrong places as I hungered for a fatherly love that I never had.
At my darkest hour, I had contemplated suicide. The stress of getting phone calls at odd hours demanding money, threats to harm my mother, as well as the emotional blackmail I faced from my mother were driving me to depression. The overwhelming sense of hopelessness that I would never be able to pay off the endless gambling debts almost drove me over the edge.
My meditation teacher once told me that if I always depended on others for my own happiness, I would never truly be happy. When I was young, I had put up a happy front, and pretended to be happy. That helped me cope with what I was facing at home. Today I am truly happy, as I have decided to take charge of my own happiness. I chose to leave the past behind me and move on. Sure, I can continue to wallow in self-‐pity, b ut then again, I have found that it feels much better to be able to walk away from self-‐pity and choose to be happy. So I chose to be happy.
I’ll be turning 47 years old this July, just 3 years away from the big 50. I cannot believe it, as I don’t feel like an almost 50-‐year old! How does a 50-‐ year old think and behave that is different or is it just a perception that we have created in our youth? So what’s the big deal of turning 50? I suppose it gets closer to the second half of our live that is usually termed as “twilight years”, where we’re supposed to slow down, whether it’s at work or in life. I must add that I’ve been thinking hard of my twilight years and I’d be lying if I didn’t say I worry about what lies ahead for me. My biggest worry is whether I will still have the same opportunities at work and if I will still be “employable” as I was when I was in my 30s?
pla n fo r your retirement My fears are not unfounded. In my work, I meet men and women in their 50s who tell me that they are finding it hard to be re-‐employed once they are made redundant or that they have to settle for a far lower salary for almost the same amount of workload. Governments in many countries have campaigns preventing the discrimination of the older worker and even legislations to protect the older worker from discrimination at the workplace. So why do so many people have anxieties as they approach their 50s? From many years of speaking to employees, there key reason is lack of planning. Many assume that their employers or the government has worked out a plan for them. I get responses like “They can’t fire me” or “They have no grounds to fire me” or “the government has some retirement plans worked out”.
Reality check – they can fire you and governments can revise their retirement and pension plans. Rather than be afraid of what will happen as you approach your 50s and 60s and get closer to the retirement years, start planning for your retirement. The earlier you p lan the better for you
as you still are at the peak of your employment, have more time to get yields from your investment and even if you were to buy insurance-‐linked retirement plans, your premiums will be lower and your payments will end before you’re in your 50s. Start planning when you want to retire and what kind of lifestyle you want. Am I less afraid now that I have started p lanning for my retirement? No. If anything, the last few days have heightened my anxiety, as I face the reality that I only have 13 years left to my work towards desire to have enough money for my retirement. So I am going to take a chill pill for a week and calling my financial planner next week to know where my finances stand today and start developing my action plan for the next 13 years. Phew! Think I deserve a glass of wine now.
Rachpal has designed an online coaching programme for women in transition. For a FREE CONSULTATION, write to her at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her website at www.oneasiacoach.com
spice up your life
The Agile Mind That’s right! With all the reports coming out on how as we age we start forgetting where we placed the keys, names of people or what we wanted to d o when we left the bedroom to go to the kitchen, let’s plan for our mental health in our retirement age. Some leading neuroscientists say that the reason that our memory start failing rapidly as we age is that we don’t use our brain as actively as we used to and as the neurons are not constantly fired, they become weaker as we age. So how then do we make sure we have all our marbles? Well, for starters, you can start playing marbles again! Yes I’m talking about all those games we used to play as kids. Absolutely love board games and card games as you need to plan, strategise and outsmart your opponent. What are some good games to choose from to keep an agile mind?
Chess and Checkers: both need lots of manoeuvring
and trapping your opponents while making sure your seeds are safe. This is good if you like a little challenge and some conversation over a cup of tea.
Card games – Gin Rummy, Dead Rummy, 21 are some of the more common card games which, not only require p lanning and smart manoeuvring but also having to keep an eye on the cards played, the cards played by your opponents as the play is very dynamic and your fate can change at any time. Great with a group of friends over some beers or wine.
Monopoly Deal: That’s my family’s latest craze! From the 9-‐year old to the 50-‐year old, once we start, there is no stopping us. A little luck, a little sly and a whole bunch of evil. A fun game where you get to steal your opponent cards and it’s not how much money you have that determines the winner! A real twist from the classic Monopoly board game where one game can take hours whereas Monopoly Deal is all about speed. Great to play with younger kids who like quick games and lots of yelling and scheming.
fashion and beauty:
glitter and glam
DeliriousLife Review: Feria Smoky Pastels Multifaceted Shimmering Color in Smoky Blue
By Cassi Grey
Should you try the silver hair look at a bargain? I did, and now I have red hair. I love the lush, silver hair that was all the rage last season, and had my own natural salt-‐and-‐pepper shade dyed a smoky gray until recently. It looked great, but it was a b urden to keep up because changing from whatever color you are now to silver-‐gray, even if you already h ave some natural gray in your hair like I did, requires several steps. First, you must do a total bleach-‐out of your current color to achieve a white "blank slate" h ead of hair to deposit the silver on to. This process can take several hours, depending on how dark your current color is, and must be done by a trained stylist. Attempting to “do it yourself” from a box or other at-‐ home treatment could ruin your scalp and cause your h air to break off. (See “bad-‐at-‐home bleaching jobs” courtesy of the Internet.) When you have gotten this far, the silver gray tone is added, which is lovely but tends to fade quickly, so it needs a salon refreshing every few weeks. Then you need to maintain the upkeep of your roots, which, even if you start off with mostly gray as your natural color, tend to look way d arker when compared to the b leached parts. So, while it is a very chic look, it can also be expensive and time-‐consuming.
Before Feria So imagine my surprise when I saw Feria Smoky Pastels M ultifaceted Shimmering Color in Smoky Blue at my local drug store for less than ten dollars, claiming similar results. "OMG,” I thought, “A boxed silver hair color without all the salon bleaching and expense! What a great
product! I mean, just LOOK at that model's shimmering hair on the box!" Well...before you snatch it off the shelf and shell out US$8.95 for it...wait. I tried it for you so you know what to expect if you have hair like mine. And, b ased on my experience, especially if you have aging hair, you might want to think carefully before you do. Number one, unless your hair is already almost platinum-‐white, it will not come out looking like that model's hair on the box. Number two, if your mature hair is dry to begin with, it will likely feel brittle and dry as a bone afterward. Mine did even though it was in pretty good shape to begin with. Before Feria: Light brown with light blond highlights and
Which, three, might cost you a trip to the salon after some salt and pepper natural roots. all. It did for me, and after my salon rescue, my hair is now professionally re-‐dyed cinnamon-‐red and several inches shorter.
Nevertheless, in devotion to my readers, I bought the b ox. I took it h ome and applied it according to the package directions. Here is how my hair looked before applying the color (see picture above) Immediately After Feria After leaving it on for 25 minutes, rinsing and using the enclosed conditioner, here is how my hair looked immediately after. Nice, right? But what you cannot see is that it colored only the highlighted parts of my hair. The brownish parts, as well as my roots, were only lifted to a slightly lighter brown. And my hair felt like straw, even after using the conditioner that was included.
Post-‐Feria Here I am less than two weeks after I applied the color. Still silvery, b ut greatly faded and frizzy-‐ looking. This was what I looked like when I finally went to the salon for a fix. When I got to the salon, my ever-‐tactful colorist, Dawn, took one look at me, my empty box of Feria in hand and asking for new highlights, left and promptly returned with another stylist, both of whom started touching and feeling my h air as if it were a science experiment. After a few moments examining my strands and talking between themselves, Dawn gently explained to me that, because of the damage done b y the boxed color to my aging and porous hair, she couldn't safely bleach or highlight my hair again for at least another 6 months!!! Together we opted for an all-‐over, rich cinnamon shade to condition and give my hair a “rest”. However, before she could apply it, Dawn had to use something else to "fill in" the holes left from the chemicals of the boxed hair color (you heard that right), so the n ew color could properly take.
Red is the new Grey So, having to kiss good-‐bye to my beloved highlights for a while, a new red me was born, which I love. But in the end, that $8.99 box of Feria ended up costing me an extra $120.00. How many stars would I give Feria Smoky Pastels Multifaceted Shimmering Color in Smoky Blue? For mature women with dry and/or porous hair, that answer is none. But for ultimately introducing me to this new shade, which is super fun, I would give it a high five.
Now a proud salon redhead! Red hair colouring by Dawn Stuurop, Roots Salon, St. Paul Minnesota, USA
For fashion and styling tips, follow Cassi at: Web: www.DeliriousLife.net Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DeliriousLifeFashion/
food and drink:
spice, dice and splash
The Retiree’s Survival Kit When you’re working, breakfast is possibly a quick toast with coffee, tea or a cup of juice, which you grab from the coffee-‐shop near office. Then lunch is a probably from the café or food-‐court near the office and then by the time you get home for dinner, you’re probably too tired to cook anything fancy so it’s a quick stir-‐fry or a take-‐away. The games changes when you retire. Once you retire, you’ll be starting to have most of your meals at home and if you’re not used to cooking and meal planning, there will be utter chaos with meal-‐times happening at odd hours. My h usband is on a short pre-‐retirement sabbatical for 6 months where he agreed to take charge of the housework and cooking. Well the first week was “orientation” where I introduced him to the kitchen, the pots and pans, the herbs and household budget. Week 2 was when the excitement set in when he forgot to buy the groceries on Sunday and the market was closed on Monday and Tuesday! Then another day he got carried away chatting with his friends after his morning walk and by the time he got home it was almost noon and I had to have cereal for lunch! Now he is better with meal-‐times but h e cooks for four, forgetting that there’s just two of us at home! To spare you the daily histrionics of my household and almost starvation on two occasions, I’ve put together some tips on how to p lan for three meals at home. Good news if you’ve never set foot in the kitchen – these tips are for the novice chef-‐in-‐the-‐making.
4 Tips & Cheats to Meal Planning 1
Set fixed meal-‐times.
This will help you plan the preparation and cooking time. Keep the meal times consistent so that you can plan your other activities around it and it ensures you don’t b inge on snacks .
08.00 a.m. Breakfast 12.30 p.m. Lunch 07.30 p.m. Dinner
• • • •
Calculate preparation time (single simple dish)
2 cups of rice usually takes about 45 minutes to cook in a rice cooker or about 20 minutes on a stove. I usually get this started first. Dried vermicelli (Bee Hoon) needs to be soaked in lukewarm water for about 20 minutes. It takes about 10 minutes to peel and chop/dice chilli, garlic, ginger and onions. You’ll n eed another 10 minutes to wash and chop 2 vegetables Add in another 10 minutes to wash and dice meat, chicken or fish A quick vegetarian stir-‐fry will take 10 minutes and if you add seafood or meat it could take an additional 15 minutes
So what this means is that you will probably need to start about 1 hour before a meal-‐time for a simple dish and if you are making two dishes, you might need an additional half hour.
Make bigger portions
It can be very draining after sometime to have to spend almost 2 hours everyday in the kitchen. One trick is to cook bigger portion sizes. •
You can eat the same d ish for lunch and dinner. Curries, soups, stir-‐fry, fried noodles and pasta can be made in bigger portions for two meals. Make bigger portions of sauces and curries that you can freeze in smaller portions for that lazy day when you don’t know what to cook or you’re just tired.
Dried Food Refrigerator and Pantry Essentials
These are the basic things you can stock up for emergencies to spice up the food or when you forgot to d o groceries so you still have something you can cook. Herbs and Spices • • • • •
Chilli flakes Garlic powder Ginger powder Dried Spices like oregano, basil, parsley, curry leaves Curry Powder
Canned/packed food/drinks • • • •
Tuna (choose the ones in water so that you can vary the taste with spices) Sardines in tomato sauce Baked beans Tomato paste (I buy the small tins but if it’s a big tin, I use what I want and I freeze the rest in smaller portions) UHT milk Milo
• • • • • •
Rice Pasta Noodles Biscuits Rice crackers Lentils (for making Dhall & soups)
Items for the refrigerator (recommended items can last for a week or two) • • • • • • • • • • •
Fruits (apples, oranges, grapes) Carrots Tomatoes Celery Eggs Butter Cheese Yoghurt Frozen peas or frozen mixed vegetables (this can last for about 2 months) Bread and wraps (Keep in refrigerator so that they last longer) Chicken and fish fillet (wash and dry with paper towel and cut into smaller parts and freeze in separate portions)
Common Sense Retirement Plan?
First, let’s be clear that I’m no financial expert and not a financial planner nor do I have any qualifications related to finance. However, there are two areas related to finance that I’m extremely familiar with and I’m sure many of you reading this article are experts in at least one or both of these areas – spending and saving. But many of us cringe at the sound of the word retirement. In the past few months, several newspaper reports h ave suggested that many women do not have the know-‐how to plan for retirement compared to men. Is that really true? The reports suggested that women did not invest their money that would give them exponential growth and tend to rely on savings in the bank where the growth is slow. Alright, I’m going to make a confession. Guilty as charged. I worry if I have enough money for my retirement and I don’t know what I need to do to get there. A chat with a financial adviser some years back has left with more fear and hence less confident in investing my money when he told me that my investments have d ecreased in value and h e admitted not being able to monitor the trends correctly. Then there are complicated financial jargons and charts that they use that completely baffle me. So I had a chat with a few laypeople just like me and asked what would be reasonable when planning for retirement. I also read several books and articles and finally, this is a simple guide I use to plan for my retirement: cost of lifestyle based on current standard and then add 4%. So what does that look like?
Getting Started………. (Retirement plan for 2 people) First, list d own what age you p lan to stop working. Let’s say I’ve decided that I’ll stop at 60. (That doesn’t mean I completely not work at all but rather that any work I do after that is just to keep me from going insane and out of mischief). So if I live till 85 years old, I will have to p lan for 25 years. Secondly, list out all the expenditure you have n ow that you will continue to have when you retire. Split them into fixed costs (those that you must incur) and variable costs (these are optional). You must also calculate if this is for a single person or for two people. In the example given below, it is based on the following and you will need to adjust if your circumstances vary: • • •
plan is for 2 people couple have medical insurances home is paid for in full
(A) Monthly fixed costs refer to those costs you will incur every month; regardless of changes in your life circumstances. So even if you went away on a holiday or were hospitalised, most of these charges will still have to be paid. The minimal control you have is if you spend less on utilities (if you don’t run the air conditioning for example) or if you don’t travel on taxis and only use buses or walk.
(A) Monthly Fixed costs: Utilities (electricity, gas and water)
Town Council charges
Based on this calculation, you will need to put aside at least $2,000 for basic living expenses. That’s about $1000 per person.
NOTE: if you h ave an outstanding housing loan, this figure can be significantly higher.
(B) Monthly Variable costs: Dining Out
Petrol/Parking/Road Tax/Motor Insurance
(B) Monthly variable costs refer to expenditure that you can do without. These could be extra perks that you want to enjoy because you have been used to it. Your current lifestyle will be a rough indicator of how much variable cost you can expect to incur when you retire. So perhaps you might like to have “No Gift” p olicy with your family and friends. Ask yourself if a car is really necessary? Do you really need the gym membership that you cannot afford?
(C) Annual Variable costs:
Clothes and shoes
Medical (more if inadequate insurance)
(C) Annual variable costs are the ones that many people forget to plan for. Holidays, clothes, shoes, medical, dentures, home repairs are just some examples. If you are certain that you will not want annual holidays, then this figure can change your financial planning drastically. However, there are emergencies that you cannot anticipate for example, the stove is broken and you need to replace it. Hence, just like you need an emergency fund when you’re working, you need to set-‐up one when you retire.
(D) Total Annual Expenditure (Ax12 +B x12 +C) (1950x12) + (650x12) + 15,800 (E) 4% adjustment
(F) Estimated monthly expenditure
(E÷12) (G) Grand Total for 25 years
(E x 25) (H) Annual Adjustments (from age 75 years needs will decline and expenditure goes down) Holidays
Total Over 10 years
(I) Adjusted Grand Total for 25 year (G-‐H)
The calculation in (D) works out what the annual expenditure is while (E) adjusts the annual expenditure at a 4% inflation. Most financial planners use 3% but I’m just a little conservative. (F) gives you the estimated monthly expenditure. To sustain the lifestyle in Parts A, B and C, I will need approximately $4000 a year. You will notice an adjustment made which is reflected in part (H). When you’re much older, your needs will adjust again. Perhaps you might not travel as much or might not travel to far away places. So you have about $86,000 savings over 10 years. Are you alarmed by that figure? That you’ll need to have a whopping $1.1 million by age 60 or put aside $87,384 a year for 13 years to get there? How will you get there? Is that even possible? As I’m no financial expert and if you’re like me and many other women out there who have no investments and depend on your current income, you could take the following approach, which I call the “retirement lifesavers”.
3 Retirement Planning Lifesavers
1 Scale down on your lifestyle if you can. Is there anything that you can do without or less of in your retirement years? Looking at the example that I gave, it is rather conservative with the biggest splurge being travel. So what do you do if you cannot scale back any further?
2 Plan for the fixed costs and make sure have enough for that. So in the example given, at $1,950 per month, that’s a total of $585,000 over 25 years. That will mean that for the next 13 years, you will need to put aside $45,000 per year. Now that’s definitely more manageable for a couple, to put aside $22,500 per p erson annually. So you are only putting aside money for Section A in the table above. So what happens to Sections B and C?
3 Sections B and C are variable expenditure – expenses that are optional. For example, if you don’t have enough money, you don’t dine out much or you have cheaper h olidays every alternate year. So when I shared this with my husband, he claimed it was a “death camp” and I sure don’t want the planning or my retirement to be that! So perhaps you could continue to work until age 65? In the example above, the variable expenses amount to $23,600 a year. Perhaps you could have that lifestyle till age 70 or 75 and then you could scale it down by 50% from age 75 onwards. Or you could take on additional work for the next few years and save up that extra $45,000 a year so that you can live it up in your retirement!
Disclaimer: The author is not a registered or qualified financial planner or adviser and this is author’s own common sense approach to make sense of how to p lan for her retirement. The intention of this article is to give women a headstart in planning for their retirement so that they can have more focused discussions with their financial planners or advisers and use basic terms that are easily understood minus those complex jargons and graphs.
health and fitness:
fit and fab
The Fit and Fabulous Retiree 3 Retirement Workout Tips First it was Fit at 40. Then it became Fab at 50 followed by Sexy at 60. Whatever the fad, the desire is the same – to age gracefully and to remain healthy as we age. As you move into your retirement years and possibly no longer have an active income, how then can you keep fit if gym or health clubs membership is a luxury you can no longer afford? So for the month of March, a retiree I became. If I were no longer having an active income, how would I keep fit? Well, I was pleasantly surprised that this was perhaps the easiest part of retirement. There are so many free and convenient locations that I’m already contemplating giving up my gym membership.
Public Parks 5 stars for convenience and cost The public parks and park connectors in Singapore are a haven for fitness buffs b oth young and old. Park connectors link one park to another so you can choose from slow walk, brisk walk, jogging or cycling along the connectors or parks right in your neighbourhood. The tracks along the connectors are all marked so you can keep track of the distance you cover every day. In addition to that, there are exercise stations with equipment to workout your arms, legs, hips and even benches to work out your abs! And because you’re a retiree you can do this workout at off peak hours like weekday mornings or early evenings so you’re not competing with the after work crowd in the evenings or weekends. To add some spice, you can throw in a trip to the nature reserve or the beach. Not only do you get a workout, but you meet people, have a chat and enjoy the flora and fauna and birds and bees. And if you’re lucky to be living near a river, you have the company of kingfishers, turtles and monitor lizards and the occasional migratory birds.
Youtube Exercise and Yoga Workout 4 stars for convenience and cost and 1 star for excitement You know that you can look u p the Youtube for almost anything and this is my go to when I need to add some variety to my workout. The cost is almost free as you only need to have Internet connection to view the videos. While it is convenient as you can do the workout from h ome or anywhere if you have a mobile phone, you might not have the space or all the necessary equipment: for example, you might not have the space at h ome to do the yoga or do not h ave the right weights to do your strength training. As I like vigorous exercise and the different terrain, I find following a routine from video rather dull and u se it on d ays when I cannot go out because of bad weather or when I’m travelling.
Pedometer App 5 stars for convenience, cost and excitement This is my latest love. Ever since I met a woman who told me she lost close to 5 kgs from walking 10,000 steps everyday for six months, I was sold. The best part, like the walk in the park, it is absolutely free! You don’t n eed to b uy one as you can just download the App onto your mobile phone. The App does more than count your steps; it measures the distance you travel, the time you spent on workout, whether you were running or walking, the calories burnt and even your heart rate! Your daily activity is measured and recorded so that you can monitor your own performance, which is based on the workout recommended for you based on the bio-‐data you fill in. For my Samsung phone I d ownloaded the S Health App and you can search for more free apps for your phone type. And what I love most is that it prompts me on my lazy days and on the days I do well, I get cheery messages like “your Best Day Yet” or “Today you reached a n ew highest step count. That’s amazing.” This App is here to stay on my phone for a very long time. I’ve already converted a few women to join me on this amazing journey, it’s literally taking steps for better health!
the spicy route
Top 5 Tips to Travel Smart in Style With so many different options available for travel, it’s h ard to imagine n ot travelling once you retire. Here are my top-‐five tips to travel in style while not breaking the budget.
Buy travel insurance
This is an absolute MUST, n on-‐negotiable. You never know when you can get injured, have an accident or sometimes even die while on a holiday. The medical costs in some countries can be very high and having travel insurance will help off-‐set costs should you need medical attention while travelling. The cost of repatriating a deceased can range from $6,000 to $20,000 as you need to factor is the local costs of a mortuary space, the next flight available and other costs involved. On a trip to Boracay in two years ago, a huge man shoved me and I fell on my luggage, breaking the handle on my luggage and my spectacles and b ecause I had my travel insurance, I was compensated for the damages. This is an area that many people neglect and I really urge you to spend that little bit more and get the insurance as you never know when you might need it as we are more prone to falls and injuries as we grow older. Enough of the sombre bits and n ow to the exciting tips to plan your trips.
Travel Off peak
This makes sense, doesn’t it? Since you are retired, there is no need for you to travel during the peak seasons like school holidays or festive seasons. It’s cheaper if you go during the end of a season as most of the revellers would have had their fill during the peak, paying all the high prices and the business-‐owners would have made their nice profits and will be a little more willing to give you a bargain for being the “last kid on the block.” One trip to Phuket, I went at the end of the rainy season, a good 3 weeks before the h igh season started and I p aid h alf prices for almost everything. Yes, I didn’t get to snorkel much as the waters were still choppy in some areas so we spent less time on the sea and more time getting massages and eating and drinking. You’d be amazed that you can save at least 40% on flights, hotels and sightseeing when you travel off-‐peak.
Book 4-‐6 months in advance
Again, since you’re retired and d on’t have work to worry about, you can always plan your holidays way in advance. Flights and hotels are cheaper and sometimes you can get the premium deals for less than the premium price. On a recent multi-‐city trip to India, I booked my airfare 4 months before my trip and was quoted $1000 for a return trip ticket and was told that if I topped up just $400, I could get to the Business class! That was a no-‐ brainer. So Mum and I travelled in comfort, had access to all the airport lounge facilities and also extra 10kg check-‐in luggage allowance which meant I didn’t have to lug a cabin bag around! My 84-‐year old Mum gave this trip a thumbs-‐up as she could stretch her legs and h ave a lie-‐down d uring the flight and best of all, she had a room with a single bed where she had a short nap while we were in transit at Delhi airport. Hotels and especially smaller chains or family run motels are also h appy to accommodate early bookings that are paid upfront and are happy to give you a discount. Sometimes you just need to give them a call to negotiate with the owner.
Travel with another couple
Four is a good number for travelling for p urely mathematical reasons as you save money on sightseeing and food. If you hire a car for sightseeing or hop-‐on to a taxi, the vehicle will always take a maximum of four passengers and you are charged for the use of the vehicle regardless of the number of people. So the cost of the taxi or car is spread across four people. As you grow older, you would also notice that you can no longer eat as much as you could when you’re younger and you want to try the different variety but you’re limited by what you can stomach. As a group of four, you can easily choose a three different meals and share it – not only do you save costs, but you each get to try out three different types of food at every meal.
Book h otels with Wifi & Breakfast (possible Club room)
Last week, my husband’s nephew was in town with his girlfriend and they stayed at one of the most talked about hotel in Singapore. The room was priced at $500 per night and it did NOT come with breakfast!! That was an absolute shocker for all of us and that conversation dominated the discussion at the dinner table. How can a hotel charge you $500 a n ight and not give you breakfast? The two things I always look for when I book a room is: there must be Wifi in the room and there must be breakfast. My husband and have had situations where Wifi was only available at the lobby; very inconvenient. On one trip to the Philippines, the Wifi was only available at the Business Centre, which closes at 6 p.m. daily and I had to sit outside the Business Centre every night to send messages to my husband! On another trip, the hotel we were booked in was far away from any civilisation and we were pretty much stuck on the resort where the meals were $90 per person! Luckily for us, our reservation came with free breakfast so we sat at the breakfast table till 11 a.m., ate till totally satiated and relaxed in the afternoons. That way we only spent on one meal. Sometimes, for an additional $100 or $150 you can get a Club room which I highly recommend if you like to have a drink or more. Club room gives you a quiet place to sit and read while you have a cup of tea in the afternoon and a wine or beer in the early evenings. Most Club room deals come with afternoon tea with a variety of cakes and sandwiches, free flow of alcohol with bites for two to three hours in the evening and free flow of non-‐alcoholic beverages throughout the day. In one hotel we stayed last August, we paid $400 a night for Club room and the food at the afternoon tea and with the evening drinks was equivalent to proper meals, so we didn’t have to spend on food at all. And champagne at breakfast too! I find this to be very, no extremely, practical because when you’re older, you sometimes want to have an early night and having access to the Club Lounge gives you that h oliday feel as you are taken care of in the comfort and more importantly, safety of your own hotel. If you’ve had a little too much to drink (like I did on 2 occasions), you just waddle off to your room for a snooze. This is also a very good choice if you’re a group of women travelling on your own to an unfamiliar place and are not sure if it’s safe to be out at night drinking on your own.
seeds of inspiration:
where women inspire women
As this edition is about retirement and how to retire happily, I want to leave you with the words one of our past contributor, Averil M aher, shared with us in her article; something h er mother told her the very first time she left home to travel overseas. And this couldn’t b e more true as we age – we need to be smart about protecting our finances.
…I specialise in Transitional Transformation Coaching for women in transition; to smoothen the transition period, to give clarity and equip you with skills to move effortlessly to the next phase. My coaching philosophy is to take you from being a blunt tool to the sharpest tool in the shed… Rachpal Kaur Tulsi
Reigniting Personal Belief; Reclaiming Personal Power Rachpal Kaur Tulsi Small Business Consultant www.oneasiacoach.com