There are few people who would not love the nicer things in life. “I love nice things.” “I love a good life; I mean, who doesn’t?” At some point, everyone has that point where the heart needs to be at peace, comfortable, and merry with the finer things of life. While having that desire, it is very difficult not to be affected by peer pressure. I mean, in this world of social media, no man is an island. We all want to see what is happening and tend to want to be the first to say that we saw it happen. The way everyone wants to update their respective status once they are either on vacation or afterwards We live in a generation where we want someone to see what we are up to, or at least see what others are up to. It is obvious because even if they are not frequently updating, individuals are viewing what others are up to.

It is about the trends, and sometimes we just cannot run from the trends that are going around. I mean, is it not obvious how sbe marked up?ocial media is now such a powerful tool that poor or out-of-date journalism cannot markup. Who in 2023 does not want to have a mobile phone that has some good internet or an easier way to move from one point to another? I mean, the world has a lot to offer, and we are spoilt for choice. It is not just a matter of wearing clothes; I mean, in one way or another, the brand has to be appealing. Even funerals now will see people wanting to dress up as they mourn their loved ones.

Ideally, with the introduction of free education, you would expect that the private schools would be struggling for business, but that is not the case. Individuals have a status to maintain. Legacies cannot give in to anything below what has been set as the family standard. While it is true that some of our grandparents died not having seen the Mosi oTunya Falls or Kariba Dam, the trend has changed. As a people, we have learned how to take vacations both within and outside of the country. Zambians now go on game drives and bungee jump.

More often than not, the trends have so much influence that what is normal looks off. We have been sucked into the trends without knowing that we have moved away from the average. In retirement, reality hits because there are no subsidies or salaries to help quench the thirst to keep up with trends. The truth of the matter is that some of the people currently driving cannot afford the vehicles they own, nor can their income sustain the maintenance. Some luxury cars are just one of many expenses that tend to empty the retirement pocket. The brand of phones is another example; shockingly, replacing a screen for one could require the purchase of a complete new one. So ideally, instead of just fighting to own what is trendy, what is affordable, convenient, and necessary should take precedence.

Mansions are good investments. However, what is the point of building one that will have most of the rooms deserted with no one to occupy them at the end of the day when the empty nest stage is reached? It is tricky to maintain property that will need a lot of financing just to replace lighting, pipes, or boards. Not to talk about the statutory payments that will have to be made on an annual basis. Retirement needs one to strike a balance between living a good life and making sure that cosmetic arrangements are not allowed.

Retirement as a lifestyle requires you to learn to live within your means. Maintain your expenditure. Developing a good saving culture and good spending habits will see you having a steady enjoyment of life. I mean more often, by the time individuals are retiring, the number of people under their roof would have significantly reduced. The monthly pension and income coming in from well-planned investments will at least let one enjoy life even at an advanced age. There should not be a lot of avenues through which money is being syphoned from the pockets. It is important that all licking points are sealed up and only the important ones are left open. One cannot afford to live beyond their means while in retirement. Make life easy and simple; even the heart of a 55-year-old can survive the shocks of a simple, organised life. Do not be a burden to others because of your careless expenditures at the time you were supposed to save.

The author is a retired officer of the Zambia Airforce and an Advocate. He can be reached via email: [email protected] or Whatsapp: +260 97 9165574