Inside Politics

Pato fights against retirement amid mind-boggling worries

Saturday, December 4th, 2021 04:30 |

For the second time after lunch, Richard Lemate, CEO Ben’s Office Assistant, did not find Pato in his office.

Richard was delivering a confidential letter to him, hidden inside a mail delivery book.

On the third visit, Richard gave Pato the letter asking him to sign for it in the delivery book.

Surrendering to his gut feeling, Pato hesitated to immediately open the
letter. Instead, he opened the bottom drawer of his workstation and dumped it on top of other documents.

As he closed the drawer, he promised himself to read it a few minutes to
the close of business. At Trulogic, employees dreaded receiving personal
letters, especially from Ben, which could contain surprising news.

Before leaving his office after a gruelling day, Pato held his breath while
opening the company-sealed envelope. It contained a letter from Ben
requesting him to immediately begin a two months’ leave pending his retirement date.

Although he all along knew the date, Pato was praying for a miraculous extension of his working life. As Pato drove back to his Karen residence, he was bombarded with mind boggling worries.

He had two children at campus, one in second year and the other in the last year. He had not paid rent for the last two months prompting the landlord’s lawyer to send him a demand note.

Loans from two digital lenders were due in a month’s time. His aging mother was planning to visit him for specialised treatment in one of the high costhospitals in Nairobi.

To compound his growing burdens, the half-complete bungalow in his rural home was yawning for money. On arriving at his residence, he
feigned a serious headache and went straight to bed without joining his family members for supper.

He swore to keep his spouse in total darkness on the forthcoming leave. Tossing and turning at night, Pato hatched a plan to confront Ben the following morning.

“I have come over to thank you for my retirement letter. But I want you to
do me one last favour,” Pato told Ben in his office.

He narrated the many commitments that were bound to choke
his finances, if he left Trulogic as scheduled. Ben discouraged him from
beating around the bush.

With hands folded like he wanted to pray, Pato said: “I want you to extend
my employment beyond the retirement date. A three years’ contract will
completely sort me out.”

Without offering any explanation, Ben refused with a capital NO. Instead,
he advised Pato to attend an open pre-retirement seminar in the second
Pato fights against retirement amid mind-boggling worries scenario of now or never on debt collection.

Harry Katumba, the Finance Manager, calculated Pato’s terminal benefits to deduct remaining balances of company surcharges. No stone was
left unturned for his final clearance purposes.

As expected, HR advised Pato to visit Trulogic’s pensions administrator and apply for his lump sum payment. Pato was among the early participants to report at Prime Sunview Hotel for a pre-retirement training.

Although he had intended to boycott the seminar, a retired former employee cajoled him to attend. During introductions and levelling
of expectations, Pato confidently said:

“My three years employment contract with Trulogic will be renewed at the
eleventh hour. I am here to gather information that I shall use in three
years’ time.”

People leaving employment for various reasons mark time in
denial before accepting the eventuality. Fearing that his indebtedness might
sink him into bankruptcy, Pato asked the seminar facilitator: “How can one
manage the lump sum payment for it to last long?”

Earlier on, the facilitator had narrated stories of fresh retirees whose lump
sums were exhausted before their second anniversary of retirement.

She cautioned the participants: “Deposit your lump sum with a RBA registered pension administrator so that you receive small amounts of the money at the end of every month for an agreed period. This income drawdown will guarantee you regular money to meet some of your living expenses.”

Pato saw light at the end of the tunnel but sought for other options of
guarding the lifetime lump sum payment. One of the participants from an
insurance company retorted: “You can buy an annuity from our company to
be paid to you like a regular salary for an agreed duration.”

The facilitator added: “Request quotations from at least three RBA
registered pension administrators. They will show you a breakdown of
monthly payments from the lump sum excluding administration costs and
taxes due.

Then, select the quotation that would best meet your spending
patterns.” All participants applauded the facilitator except Pato who was distracted by mental arithmetic on his outstanding debts.

Before the end of the retirement money management session, a participant asked: “Is it advisable to use the lump sum to buy shares at the Nairobi
Securities Exchange?”

The facilitator said that unpredictable changes on share prices could
easily “eat” the whole lump sum. She encouraged the retirees to wait and
obtain more information on investing in Treasury infrastructure bonds.

Interest on the bonds is receivable half yearly and at maturity the lump
sum can be reinvested again. The bonds are a safe investment compared
to risky shares.

Before the end of the question and answer session, Pato was seen animatedly talking to the participant from an insurance company.

He later bolted out of the seminar room to the direction of the hotel’s dining hall.

The writer is HRD Consultant and Author of Transition into Retirement,
[email protected]

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