Retiring Back Home?

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6 Facts to Consider When Retiring Back to Nigeria: 

For some people, the thought of retirement is enough to create some panic; goose bumps and shakiness every time they think of it due to the realization of how unprepared they are for the inevitable. For others, the feeling might be different depending on how well prepared they are for this critical and important step.  Retiring back to Nigeria after a long stay in America is indeed a journey HOME. It’s spiritual, decisive, and beyond brave. Settling back home to Nigeria after a decade or more in the United States is not a decision one takes overnight without a careful plan. 

So, here are six important factors to consider before making the move to retire back to Nigeria:

 Have a retirement savings account

The Economic Policy Institute reports that almost half the US population do not have a retirement savings account. CNBC writes that US residents have a median savings of $5,000 and a median family savings of $60,000 for retirement.  

More critical to note is EPI’s report that blacks in the US experienced a steady decline in savings for retirement from 47% to 41%. It indicates further that more blacks actually have little or no savings account for retirement.

Going by these reports alone should be something of grave concern to the average Nigerian leaving in the US. Retirement ordinary shouldn’t be approached without a financial goal or savings in place. More so, retiring across cultures comes with more implication for the individual.

Nigeria’s economy has over the years being unstable and with basic infrastructure and amenities still insufficient to cater for its current population. Retiring home, therefore, should mean the individual has funds in savings enough to cater for living expenses, emergencies and more to span a good number of years.

Prepare for the mind shift

 Relocating from the United States of America to Nigeria will take a lot of catching up and adjustments. Having lived in the US for up to a decade or more and relocating finally to Nigeria it’s a mind shift.

First, Nigeria being a developing country means some of the basic infrastructures like good road network, constant power supply and more might not be readily available. For someone already used to having things well organized, electricity all day and night, this might be a bit unsettling. Issues such as security, power, fuel scarcity, harsh economic environment with the sharp and sudden rise in prices of goods and services, unrest in various parts of Nigeria and more might be just a few of the things to contend with on arrival.

Irrespective of all these facts though, staying in Nigeria could be made a lot easier with well thought decisions. As much as you might not be able to change certain societal issues you can mitigate quite a lot of them by choosing areas with relative security, well-planned housing units and locality, use of alternative means of power supply from power generators, or even solar panels where erratic power supply exists more often.

Another way to make your final relocation back home to Nigeria easier is to make as much visits back home before your final retirement. Spending at least one week to two months on each visit can help make resettlement or the transition back much easier to cope with.

Where to reside on return to Nigeria

Location and housing are two critical factors to think about. For some Nigerians in the diaspora, erecting a property back here in Nigeria helps give them the needed comfort and a place of their own anytime they visit. Considering the rapid increase in the cost of leasing an apartment especially in the urban centers owning a personal house offers a better option before retiring back. Having your own home, you can build your taste, choose the location to build and besides the fact that the property appreciates, taxes for personal homes are not so expensive.

However, whichever the choice to either build, live in a family home or opt for a rented facility you must take into cognizance how safe and peaceful the locality is and how easily accessible it is to central parts of the city. Every state in Nigeria has rural, urban and semi-urban settlements. Some rural settlements a decade and a half ago have become semi-urban or full urban centers with better housing units, road networks, and supply of other basic amenities.

Get a valid will done

Getting a will is a sensitive conversation particularly for Africans. Adding this point to the list here  doesn’t mean that you are moving to Nigeria to die, it simply means you should remember to plan your estate before the inevitable happens. Whatever change you’ve acquired in America, you worked hard for it, so why not add your signature next to what happens to it once you are gone?

Additional streams of income

Retiring back into the Nigerian society should not mark the end of earnings for you. Having a plan on how to keep earning an extra income can help guarantee a more secure future for you, your dependents if any and others. You can choose from different forms of multiple streams of incomes.

Some people opt for buying of government bonds, stock or outright investment in a business venture. Investing a huge chunk of ones retirement savings might not be entirely advisable for a business one is not so familiar with or have no control over. One reason is that the Nigerian economy is a volatile one and requires more understanding and analysis before investing.

But with a clear understanding, partnership and the right amount of funds you can venture into agriculture, real estate particularly in urban centers, transportation, education, etc. All the above-mentioned businesses offer an excellent means to make huge returns on investment.

Dealing with relatives and family members

You should already be familiar with the basic challenge that goes with communal living in Africa. Some of it has to do with the regular interference of relatives, family, and friends in your personal life. Other issues have to do with the high demand for financial assistance. Especially since you have been to the States, you are not naive to know that there is a general assumption that you have made quite a lot of money, thus must be wealthy and in a position to cater to the needs of others. This is one reason a lot of Nigerians overseas almost empty their life savings when coming home to Nigeria just so they can purchase items for almost everyone. They also try to lend a helping hand by giving financial support.

One way some Nigerians deal with the issue of interference from family and friends is by ensuring they reside far away from extended family members and only visit when they wish. Besides that, you might just need to be a bit stern, lead a low profile life or make people understand the true position of things and only assist when you can.

Planning early enough for retirement is very important to surviving the harsh realities and surprises the Nigerian society can spring on anyone. Having first-hand information about the true nature of things in Nigeria and the locality you intend to reside is also crucial. It will save you from a whole lot of hassles and the need to relocate to another city or environment so soon if it all doesn’t turn out right. This, however, does not remove the fact that Nigeria has a lot of attractive and lovely cities and cool environment to stay where you can enjoy relative peace and quiet.  Besides these perennial problems, Nigeria is a beautiful place to stay after retirement. It’s the most populous country in the entire continent, it’s  one great country that is primed for the next wave of great economic development, so retiring and exploring possible investment opportunities out there isn’t a bad idea.

By Vwede Ohworho; Edited by US African Immigrants Gist

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