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How to effectively plan for the future now

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I visited a patient in a hospital ward awhile back and in that short duration, I learnt many lessons.

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A middle aged woman next to my patient had been discharged three days earlier but she had not left hospital because the bill was yet to be paid.

Her children had refused to pool resources to ease the burden the bill had brought to the family because they felt one of their brothers should bear their mother's cost. That he was the one who was 'loaded' in the family. He wanted to get a bank loan and sort out the bill issue but his wife hid his documents arguing – quite truly – that with the huge loan her husband was about to take, her children were going to suffer.

She wanted all the siblings to come together and chip in. So there was a stalemate. The healed lady continued being in hospital, incurring more costs but worse, being among the hopelessly sick. If she had her own money, I guess she would have paid her bills, left and embarked on her usual activities.

Next to this lady was another woman who, I was told, spent days without anyone visiting her. That she has children but they were too busy to see her. So she kept asking the minders of the other patients in the general hospital to help her.

There is nothing much you can do to make people visit you when you are unwell but if you have money, you can have quality service in a good hospital. The nurses will be all over you ensuring that you are comfortable.

As you enjoy bonuses and good earnings now, think of that time when you are helpless; either put down by disease or age. Therefore, make it a point to save for that time and do so aggressively.

Here are some ways of helping you to have a more peaceful and fulfilling old age or comfort in sickness.

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Insurance:

Before you dismiss those insurance sales people and brag that you have no time for such guys, pause for a minute and ask why they are in business. It is because they have millions of customers who have trusted them with their savings. Listen to them. You will get a policy that suits you and it will be handy when everything else seem to fail you.

Stock exchange:

Grow your retirement fall-back at the stock market. Invest in shares that you can liquidate when need be to cushion you against the slide towards helplessness. Always monitor the performance of the shares and move in when you feel it is time to sell. When everything is working for you, buy shares in blue chip companies and let them grow over the years.

Medical cover:

Sickness is a reality. Accidents are unpredictable. Therefore, you must always be ready for the unknown in terms of medical issues. When you go to hospital and see how costly the prescription drugs are, you will appreciate the medical cover which allows you to pay a fraction of the money throughout the year. When you pay cash, you realise that proper healthcare is unaffordable for many.

Invest in property:

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Rental premises are a great investment. They are permanent and they assure you of income even for generations after you have exited the world.

Have a retirement plan:

You must have in mind the fact that you will not always be strong. There is a time you will need a helping hand. Which hand are you going to tap? Now is the time to make this 'hand' strong enough to carry you up when you are down. Join a retirement scheme and save. Also, in your other investments, think of how they will serve you at that point in life when sunset rapidly beckons.

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