Sunday 9th September, 2007


Grow up to grow old happily

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The average male in Trinidad and Tobago, according to life expectancy tables, is expected to live for 21 years after he has retired. The average female is expected to live for 26 years after retirement. This assumes that retirement will occur at age 60.

When economists speak about levels of human development they base their assessments on three things: the ability to live a long and healthy life under natural circumstances, the levels of access to education in terms of school enrolment and a decent standard of living.

The standard of living is measured by purchasing power parity, and income.

In the recent Survey of Living Conditions for Trinidad it was found that almost 17 per cent of the population earn less that $670 per month.

The human poverty index measures the number of people who are not expected to survive beyond age 40, as a result of health deprivation; the number of people without an improved access to water; their access to education; and the proportion of children under age five who are underweight.

The probability of not surviving past age 40 in Trinidad and Tobago, based on 2004 statistics from the United Nations is 11.6 per cent. The percentage of people without access to good water is nine per cent and the percentage of underweight children under age five is seven per cent.

The sociologists say poverty is a vicious cyclic, and that poverty breeds poverty. But poverty is no barrier to ambition. Poor children who grow up and out of poverty usually do so, because a parent, a grandmother or caretaker decides to instil in the minds of the children, a different long view.

Since primary school is almost universal, education is the first steppingstone to exit the cycle of poverty. Education leads to better jobs, and better access to goods and services.

But there are also stories of uneducated people who make it big on the basis of an idea.

The fundamental question then, is how do you see yourself and your children in terms of ideas for the future?

The peculiarity of the human mind is such that how you see yourself is exactly how you will become. People, who see themselves a certain way, usually manifest that view of themselves in their speech. A lot can be gleaned from the way an individual answers the question: How are you?

Psychologists say your self-talk, that is, how you refer to yourself in your own speech, predicates what you are and determines what you will become.

So if your answer to the question: How are you? Is: Pressure! Then you subconsciously subject yourself to pressure. If you say it will be a tough day, it becomes one!

They also say people who retire and feel that their useful lives have come to an end, tend to get sick, or more sick, and fall into suffering.

The new thinking is that if you have at least 20 more years to live after retirement, you have a quarter of you life remaining, and you should use them productively.

The bottom line is that you have to provide the money, so you can continue to be productive. It’s all a decision for a future based on two questions.

How do I want to be when I grow up, and how do I want to be when I grow old?

If you can answer these questions in precise terms for your self, and bring your children to answer those questions for themselves, you will have decided how much money you want in your pocket.

©2005-2006 Trinidad Publishing Company Limited

Designed by: Randall Rajkumar-Maharaj · Updated daily by: Nicholas Attai