Note to self: Financial Planning!

I did more walking yesterday. This time to the other two districts. One of the housing project affecting some 1,000 houses was delayed due to the contractor not being able to start work and had been asking for extension. We have a choice of either extending him in the interest of helping local contractors at the cost of having 1,000 families not having their houses on time or not helping him and probably get the houses completed slightly faster by someone else (assuming that is this someone else does not also ask for an extension).

One project which I am happy to see was the water project at Labi. This $100 million project will ensure stable water supply for the Belait area for the next 10 years even with the Sungai Liang Park operating fully. Though interestingly enough the two major water tanks (really giant ones) at Andulau were placed at the roadside on the way to Labi. It has something to do with gravity etc.

Another reason I was down in KB was a report that some retirees from a major company were not paying their housing loan instalments. After discussing it, there was indeed a small group who for whatever reason or other has no means of paying their loans. These people retired some 3 to 5 years ago and by now their lump sum pension and provident funds had been used up and were insufficient for them to live on their own for the rest of their lives. Some of them are now on welfare despite having earned some two to three thousand dollars a month before their retirement. Theirs are not isolated cases. Some would jump up and said that the government should bring the pension system back forgetting that not everyone worked for the government.

Financial planning is a phrase which I used to bandy about at MOF and I am glad my friends there still do. Financial planning means we have to plan our income not just for the short duration but over the long haul. People have to wake up and realise that after retirement most of us will continue to live 20 to 30 years beyond that. If you have children who can help you, well and fine. If your children can't or won't, then you are on your own. One of our neighbouring countries has a system called workfare which basically means that old people have to work and look after themselves with a little bit of assistance from the government. That's why in that place, you will see old men and women working at fastfood outlets. Will you want that to happen here as well?


Laila said…
I agree with you Mr BR. The current TAP contributions will not be enough for our livelihood during our retirement years. We should start thinking of other means of financial support (besides 'menerima kebajikan dari Kerajaan' and getting help from our children in future)for our golden years. Maybe it's time to enforce employers to provide insurance for their employees as well, both for workforce compensation and the retirement insurance policy (i.e. the insurance company will only release the compensation after retirement, and depending on the agreement, will release the money in monthly instalments rather than lump sum). Further to this, most people nowadays are only planning of owning their own homes toward the end of their services and relying heavily on government's rental houses. Thus, they will have huge monthly repayments of their housing loans and on top of that, repayments of their personal loans as well. This scenario is typical of current employees, regardless whether in government employment or in private sector. I guess, public awareness on types of financial planning available in the current market will be a good start.
Anonymous said…
Financial planning is one area in which people in Brunei needs to start practising. Other than that, financial institutions (i.e. banks) need to take their part to actively educate the public in taking care of their income during employment and beyond retirement. Having attractive promotions for taking out loans and credit cards would just make matters worse. What we need is a reality check. Keep up the good work Mr BR.
baz said…
there's also the issue where involving death of pensionable and non-pensionable officer. in the event of his death, for a pensionable officer, their wife and children will be taken care of but for those under TAP, tough luck...
baz said…
besides i will be lucky to live up to 60 at the rate i m eating all ths american fastfood heheh

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