Transforming generations through entrepreneurial retirement strategy

Being long term in nature, the high futuristic risk associated with retirement planning makes it seem tedious and most deem it an uncomfortable and complex topic.

AS the year comes to an end, we gear on through solidifying dots as a proactive stance towards closing some discovered entrepreneurial strategic gaps.

Entrepreneurs do not rest like other members of our societies since they should write stories of a lived or fulfilled dream. Happy festive holidays as we engage into retirement matters.

Since most of us do not plan or appreciate that one day we are to meet our own medical bills by ourselves, not as administered by organisations we are working for, let’s reflect with our families and friends as we get into the New Year 2024.  

‘Get in, get on and get out’ – these are three phrases that best describe the process we call life including all sub-processes making up life.

Indeed, we got into this world, we are getting on and eventually we will indeed get out.

Although obvious, when we get in or when we are getting on, we rarely think about what is after getting out.

This is especially conspicuous among those who get into formal employment (slowly being replaced by entrepreneurs) – retirement is usually brushed aside as the perception that there is still time to plan and this gives employees a sense of comfort that leads to postponing actively engaging in retirement plans.

However, life is indeed a story that is different as we are its authors and the happily-ever-after depends on our planning strategies.

Being long term in nature, the high futuristic risk associated with retirement planning makes it seem tedious and most deem it an uncomfortable and complex topic.

The turbulent 21st century, which has popularised the synonym VUCA standing for four adjectives (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous), has had its toll on planning as the Covid-19 epidemic, Russia-Ukraine war, global warming as well as rapid technological changes have increased financial uncertainty and risk.

Nationally, inflation as well as the multi-currency system have disturbed economic stability rendering traditional financial planning tools and strategies useless.

Changes in social trends have also had their impact on retirement planning as the popular ‘diaspora’ economic solution has resulted in most elderly losing their children to greener pastures, weakening the extended family embedded in the traditional culture’s ubuntu where the young look after their elders.

Social media influences have changed individuals’ life expectations as globalisation breaks cultural as well as political borders.

 It is within this context that most employees are getting on and are having to plan their get-out strategies.

In Zimbabwe, most employees are currently making monthly pension contributions worth less than a dollar.

 Having learnt from observing retirees as well as simple calculation of the future value of their pension contributions, most have realised the danger of relying on these to sustain a post-retirement lifestyle where they can access basics such as shelter, food, medicine as well as healthy living conditions.

This has resulted in most formally employed turning to entrepreneurship as a pension plan option.

Entrepreneurship has become a retirement strategy more than before.

  Indeed, starting a business has become an attractive retirement option, which unlike the pension fund, has the potential to grow and is under one’s direct control.

Besides being a retirement option, entrepreneurship has been seen to fulfil an inert human desire to ‘leave a legacy’ – a name, a brand that outlives an individual; leaving a trail for future generations to know you by.

 A typical example is the well-known Meikles group in Zimbabwe; despite being long gone, the name as well as the brand lives on.

Furthermore, most people retire at 65, when physically and mentally they are still able though slowing down.

 Through entrepreneurship, one is able to retire early and work on the much needed future comfort when still having the energy to do so.

So start now. Post-retirement entrepreneurship seems to rejuvenate individuals as a new burst of energy and enthusiasm linked with running  their own business becomes a major drive towards seeing the business succeed.

 Thus, it not only provides income but gives individuals something to wake up and dress up for; a new purpose in life and this is also helps with the individual’s mental health.

However, post – retirement entrepreneurship is not without its own set of challenges.

One of the key questions has been when to start financially preparing for retirement.

Experts advise that financial retirement planning should start at school age such that when deciding on a career path and starting to make major financial decisions one already has their financial retirement requirements in mind.

However, with most concentrating on a career decision, settling down as well as discovering ourselves financial retirement planning becomes an emergency as the dawn of employment life kicks in.

At the third hour, individuals start projects and small businesses – some which phase out in the planning stage.

 Others do succeed but are usually faced with succession planning challenges.

Several brilliant brands have been nurtured and have bloomed but have withered and eventually buried with their founders.

Surviving spouses, children, grandchildren as well as family members have been left without skills to ensure sustainability of established brands.

Continuity is key in any business; thus one of the characteristics of a company is perpetuity. 

To establish that desired legacy, entrepreneurs should groom family members and seamlessly integrate the family with the business.

Engage family members in business conversations, rousing their interest, appreciating their contributions and fitting them into the main plan.

As much as children are taught at school and influenced by their peers, parents take key responsibility on how their children are socialized.

Research has shown that most early adults’ financial behaviors are influenced by how they were socialized by their parents.

The Indian community in Zimbabwe reflects this – when one enters a shop owned by an Indian, some of the family members (usually male) are either near the door or moving around the shop while others (usually ladies) are seated at the till.

The younger family members are usually with the workers, observing and assisting where necessary.

The whole family is visibly involved in the entrepreneurship venture; none is too young or too old.

This tends to bond the family, enable parents to practically impart their business values onto their children, exposes children to life skills that can never be taught in class, makes children appreciate the effort their parents are putting into ensuring there is bread on the table, enriches family time and lastly ensures entrepreneurship venture longevity.

For the baby boomers (those between 57 and 75 years of age) and Gen X (aged between 43 and 56), it is time to implement retirement plans if you have not done so.

The old saying – better late than never holds true.

Those in entrepreneurial families – consider picking up the venture, running with the legacy and by so doing build your own.

For those starting projects, no matter how small, propagate you legacy by engaging family.

 As a generation, let’s play our part as we nurture Gen Y and Gen Alpha.

As we look to entrepreneurship as a retirement pension option, let’s leverage on it and use it to transform generations to come.

  •   Dr Farai Chigora is a businessman and academic. He is the mead of management and entrepreneurship at the Africa University’s College of Business, Peace, Leadership and Governance. His doctoral research focused on business administration (destination marketing and branding major, Ukzn, SA). He is into agribusiness and consults for many companies in Zimbabwe and Africa. He writes in his personal capacity and can be contacted for feedback and business at [email protected],, WhatsApp mobile: +263772886871.
  • Ngonidzashe Elizabeth Chirima is an entrepreneur and a seasoned academic, currently a Doctor of Business Administration candidate (Binary University, Malaysia) whose research focus is financial retirement planning, She is a lecturer in the Accounting and Finance Department at Africa University in the College of Business, Peace, Leadership and Governance. She writes in her personal capacity and can be contacted on [email protected] , +263772811598.


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