By Dionisia Tabureguci
“Plan your retirement,” said Fiji National Provident Fund (FNPF) CEO Jaoji Koroi during the fund’s meeting with the media in Suva today.
Statistics it released on the state of the country’s pension scheme revealed a worrying state of affairs – that out of the 429,936 members that it had at the end of its 2018 financial year, 71 percent had balances of less than F$10,000.
Of that, 57,000 are over 50 years old and will exercise their retirement option in the next five years.
Retirement age for FNPF members is 55 years old, upon which members can either withdraw all their money or opt for one of the pension plans under either single or joint pension.
“This is where our advisory and advocacy team is doing a lot of work in. We’re visiting a lot of our work areas to give them general advice on how they can top up their funds or make additional contribution to grow their balances. I think my point here is: all of us will retire one day. That’s the certainty in life. So what we do when we reach 55 is not determined by what we do at that time, it’s determined by what we do now,” Koroi said.
Awareness work in this area stresses the need for members to have a retirement plan, he said.
“We do our awareness work with all the members to make sure they have a retirement plan. Members should know how much balance they need to retire comfortably when they reach 55 years old . So what happened was in 2012, we preserved 70% of the account. That was the first thing that we needed to do. But what happened was for those who have reached the retirement age, there was very little we could do. But what we encourage those who are still working to do is to have a retirement plan in place before they retire,” Koroi added.
He said more retirement planning and awareness sessions are planned for this year.
FNPF’s continuing challenge is to strike a balance between helping members achieve a better quality of life and to save for their retirement.