Sunday Finance, The Sunday Observer
The saying goes, ‘If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”.
“We at the Caribbean Community of Retired Persons celebrate our partnership with Jamaica National and NEM because they are making our mission of empowering a reality,” said CCRP founder and CEO Jean Lowrie-Chin at the event themed “Real Retirement Opportunities” on Thursday at the Knutsford Court Hotel in Kingston.
“We at the CCRP will never fail to plan for the future of this organisation and its members,” said Lowrie-Chin.
Membership now stands at 520 persons at the one-year-old CCRP, a non-profit organization for persons 50 years and older, retired or preparing for retirement.
NEM Insurance Company general manager Christopher Hind noted that asset protection is integral to persons seeking to maintain financially secure in retirement.
“Taking care of the assets that you have spent a lifetime acquiring clearly needs to be at the top of your priority list,” said Hind.
“For many the purchase of a piece of property or motor vehicle represents the largest single investment they will ever make and some attention must be paid to protecting such valuable and difficult to replace assets against loss or damage… NEM can help to secure you in the event of loss or damage to these assets,” he explained.
Hind said all parties will benefit from a plan by the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (OPDEM) to shift its primary focus from preparedness to risk reduction in order to build disaster resiliency in communities.
“We believe this enhance focus on disaster risk reduction will save both lives and money,” said Hind, reasoning that “up until now the country has traditionally focused on disaster preparedness to ensure the optimal availability of resources, relief and rehabilitation during and after a disaster, and we have become quite good at it… But we have some losses where even the highest level of preparedness could not compensate for the inherently high risk attached to certain locations.”
Key in retirement, on the other hand, is making the right investments that will guarantee a continued income stream. To this end, JN Fund Managers sales and business development manager Delores Jones said it is important that retirees have a diversified investment portfolio.
“There are investments in government paper and outside; in the stock market, with the junior market now doing very well, etc… We ensure that you have a diversified income stream,” she said.
Jones also urged professionals who are not part of a pension plan to open an individual retirement account (IRA).
“There is no two ways about it, the IRA along with a well structured investment portfolio must be a part of your strategy,” Jones advised.
Contributions to an IRA — officially known as an Approved Retirement Scheme by the Financial Services Commission in Jamaica — are taken from your salary before it is taxed; returns on investment are tax exempt; and tax is deferred until retirement, which means an individual owes no tax until earnings are withdrawn.
At the seminar, CCRP members had the opportunity to have one on one talks with representatives from Jamaica National Building Society, NEM Insurance and the Jamaica Automobile Association.