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Fiji Sun

Opinion, Opinion

Educate Yourself And Safeguard Your Retirement Fund

Educate Yourself And Safeguard Your Retirement Fund
March 01
11:00 2017


Financial literacy amongst members of the Fiji National Provident Fund or rather lack of it is astounding.

This was apparent when 200,000 had flocked to withdraw money from their accounts after Tropical Cyclone Winston.

FNPF board chairperson, Ajith Kodagoda was recently on FBC’s 4 The Record programme where he spoke about how many members still felt that taking money from the fund meant taking someone else’s money.

They failed to realise that it was their own money- their retirement kitty they were taking money out from.

Lack of financial literacy is also alarming that Mr Kodagoda himself has taken charge of raising awareness on this front.

But, this problem of not knowing how FNPF operates goes beyond withdrawing funds after TC Winston.

It is the fundamental problem of letting politics cloud our judgement.  FijiFirst Government increased employer’s contribution to 10 per cent. This means more money today goes into our retirement fund than ever before.

Many people today still have not updated their nomination, thinking that once they retire, having a nominee would not matter.

This has left many families in a dilemma after the member dies. This is how lightly we take this money.

A few years ago, a report was tabled which revealed that the FNPF would go bellyup by 2032. That is worrying. What is more worrying is that those who previously sat on the fund’s board knew about it but refused to make any hard decisions.

Why? In Mr Kodagoda’s words – it was political suicide. And, not forgetting the fact that those who sat on the board thought about their own benefits rather than that of the fund’s.

But, while the fund does raise awareness about various things such as actuarial and reserves, the onus falls on individual members to take the initiative to know as much about the fund and its functions as possible.

This is the money that many of us would turn to when we retire. Taking a politician’s word for it about how  the fund has become Government’s piggy bank is plain foolish.

We have more FNPF offices around the country today than five years ago. Educate yourself about the money the Fund invests on your behalf and plan for your retirement today.

It was a worrying sign that more nightclubs and watering holes were running on full house and running out of alcohol in days after many got their hands on money from FNPF after
TC Winston. If people were aware of the role that money would play post-retirement, it would not have been washed away in beer and alcohol.

Thankfully, majority spent the money for the right reasons and our economy did very well.

But, there is still a need for people to educate themselves. Start today.




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