This week, my mother (amama) and mother-in-law (ama) were both home. It was perhaps one of the best times of my lifeÃ¢â‚¬â€seeing the two sitting across the table dining with us. The children climbing on their lap. Watching cartoons as a family. It was just a marvel to watch. These moments we sometimes do take for granted.
The day before my mother-in-law left for Blantyre, I sat chin in hand and asked myself from the blues: What would I do if I was told I only had a year to live? I had the answer; I would stay home and just spend time with my parents, wife, and childrenÃ¢â‚¬â€with any residual time spent with friends, of course.
But a follow-up question came? Would I have the money to just stay home? Would I not need to go out and work? These things troubled me big time. Truthfully, like many Malawians (old and young) I neither have the savings nor the investments to live such a hands-folded life.
So many of us have imagined what we would do with our lives if we had just one year to live. Most of these fantasies involve quitting a job, spending time with loved ones and travelling around the world. You see a number of factors will delay our dream of living like we will die this year (just enjoying life for the last time). What with all the debts, extended family responsibilities, our meagre salaries, and all the other facts you can throw in.Ã‚Â Surely, there are many of us in this boat.
Good newsÃ¢â‚¬â€ itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s possible to live final years of your life like a king, but only if you start saving and investing today. Time will come when you may be unable to work due to old age, not mentioning disability or losing a job; the realities of life. You will need to make as much money and keep as much as you can. Invest in people (charity and just being good to people) and assets. The former will come to your rescue when you find yourself in situations that require support like losing a job or disability. The latter (assets) will help you in your old age. So never play around with chances to make or invest money when they present themselvesÃ¢â‚¬â€work hard like you will not be dying this year and see how comfortable a life you will have in your grey-haired years.
Personally, I made an agreement with myself. In seventeen yearsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ time, I will spend the rest of the years living like I was dying; happily retired and catching fish in a river that goes through my farm while watching my wife jogging around the orchard while plucking apples. The only rules I have in place are that I will always reserve my evenings for those I love and IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll continue to write, because it is a passion that fuels much of my life.
I invite you to sit down and consider what you would do if you only had a year to live. Would you stay at home with your children? Would you travel around the world? Would you sit out on your front porch and re-read Macbeth or Kalenga ndi Mnzake? Would you go fishing and swimming down at the lake every weekend? Then figure what it would actually cost for you to do this.
Assume youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve paid off all your loans and have a good asset base, but that youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll also need a healthy backup for repairs and insurance. How much would your monthly budget be?
Now you have a goal. What can you do to reach this goal? If you saved some of your income each year in an investment with a good return, how long would it take for you to reach the point where that investmentÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s return would produce enough money for you to live like you were dying? All the best with it!