77% Of Bahamians Don’t Have Pension Plans

Monday 14th, April 2014 / 08:27 Published by

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Seventy-seven percent of Bahamians don’t have money tucked away for retirement.

It’s a “frightening” statistic and one that financial experts at Colonial Pension Services (Bahamas) are hoping will not only lead to the enactment of pension legislation, but lure Bahamians to their upcoming seminar featuring personal finance guru, Suze Orman.

The two-time Emmy Award winning television host, motivational speaker and New York Times bestselling author will be in The Bahamas to discuss retirement financing.

“It doesn’t matter where you are, at some point if you’re working you will retire and when you retire you’re still living, you still need money and if you don’t put that aside while you’re working you’re going to wind up in trouble,” says Chief Operating Officer (COO) (Pensions) of Colonial Group International, Marie Jo Caesar.

“So many people are working when they should be enjoying retirement. You simply cannot wait until you are 45 or 50 and say, ‘Oh my God, I haven’t put a dime aside for my retirement’. So, we’re urging everybody, particularly young people, because they will retire one day, to start putting money aside and earmark those monies just to build a nest egg for retirement.”

Vice President of Colonial Pension Services (Bahamas), Larry Gibson noted that most Bahamians are simply unprepared to retire.

He said most people are not disciplined enough to make savings a priority, let alone invest in their retirement.

“If you look at statistics in The Bahamas, the average savings account has less than $1,000; the average account in The Bahamas has less than a $10 balance. People use their account just to collect their paycheque. The evidence has shown that it’s unlikely that you will save for retirement on your own,” he said.

Mr. Gibson said he believes Orman is the ideal person to teach Bahamians what they need to do to get their fiscal houses in order as she is one of the “most authentic spokespersons out there on the subject of financial and retirement planning” and possesses a style that connects with her audience.

“Suze was able to transition from making $400 a month as a waitress to one of the wealthiest women in North America. That’s a phenomenal journey just to hear how she was able to pull herself up. She didn’t win the lottery, she didn’t inherit money; she did it through discipline and a process and understanding. So, just to learn how you can take control and how you could empower yourself we think that’s a very powerful message indeed and the entire country is going to benefit,” he said.

“I think her message is broad enough, wide enough that it will benefit the professionals, the non-professionals, the everyday person. Even the retirement aspect of it, we have a frightening scenario coming down the road in that only 23 per cent of our population is covered by a pension plan of any kind and that’s going to create problems down the road from a national perspective,” Mr. Gibson said.

Mr. Gibson said Colonial considers this seminar its contribution to the whole process of development.

“The whole concept is that we’re trying to plant a seed; we’re trying to educate, we’re trying to provide a basis from which you can augment what you would get from National Insurance or, if you’re lucky enough, a private pension plan. Remember, 77 per cent of the workforce don’t have a private pension plan. So, we’re hoping this will bring the whole issue of pension legislation back on the table as well.”

Colonial Pension, which expects a full house at next month’s seminar, is hoping to make this event an annual one, not just with Orman, but with other international speakers.

The seminar will be held on May 17, 2014 at the Meliá Nassau Beach Resort on Cable Beach.

Doors open at 1:00 p.m. and the event starts at 2:00 p.m.

Ms. Caesar has assured that Orman will field questions from the audience.

“She’s not the type to shut down because the time is running out. If the questions are coming she will answer them,” she said.

During the seminar, there will also be a one-time drawing.

One audience member will get a $5,000 individual retirement account with Colonial Pension. They will be allowed to make deposits to the account over the course of their lifetime and when they turn 65, the funds, inclusive of the returns, will be available.

Ms. Caesar said Colonial Pension will also invite attendees to do pension projections so that they find out how much they need to invest to retire comfortably.

Tickets cost $35 and are available at Atlantic House (third floor) on Second Terrace Centreville, Collins Avenue.

For more information or to purchase tickets, call 242-502-7526.

Caption L-R: Chief Operating Officer (COO) (Pensions) of Colonial Group International, Marie Jo Caesar and Vice President of Colonial Pension Services (Bahamas) Larry Gibson. (Photo/Zhivago McPhee for The Counsellors Ltd.)

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