Forty-six civil servants in Thimphu who would be retiring after 10 years attended a two days workshop on Retirement Planning Services conducted by the Royal Civil Service Commission (RCSC) in Thimphu.

The workshop was held to prepare these civil servants for retirement, both mentally and financially. The retirement planning service is one of the activities under the RCSC wellbeing programme, one of the five reforms taken by the commission to help plan a better future after superannuation.

Senior Human Resources officer with the Commission’s Well Being Services Division,  Tshering Choden, said the workshop is the start of preparing civil servants for life after retirement. “It is to help them set their retirement goals or objectives and stimulating a positive attitude towards retirement.”

Similar workshops will now be conducted for all the civil servants who have a year to five years and 10 years to superannuate.

A press release stated that the Commission has often observed that civil servants are caught unaware and unprepared for life after retirement. “Many are ill prepared to deal with financial, psychological, and emotional challenges after the separation from the civil service,” it stated. “Unfortunately, it is also too late to take remedial action to solve financial challenges.”

RCSC Chairman, Dasho Karma Tshiteem, said civil servants are busy serving the TsaWa Sum and suddenly they face a total change in their life when they realise about superannuation.

“You realise you don’t have an office, colleagues are no more people you can meet and you suffer from various problems like financial, psychological and social problems,” he said. “You realise you have invested less in families and friends and more into work.”

Dasho Karma Tshiteem said the commission felt something should be done to make civil servants realise and think about retirement day, which is certain to come  and thus, the workshop was conducted.

“This would help them prepare themselves financially because they still have 10 years to do corrective measures,” he said. “When a civil servant superannuates, their salary would drop by 40 percent; you should prepare so that you don’t feel defenseless.”

He said there was very little effort put in to look at the wellbeing of civil servants. The Commission instead has only looked at achieving national goals but not focused on creating an environment that is conducive to civil servants.

The participants were briefed on the emotional and psychological impact of superannuation, to prepare in terms of health, taxation rules and policies, calculating retirement benefits, calculating pension, and financial planning.

Sharing the experiences of retired civil servants, former finance secretary, Lam Dorji said that the first thing that one realises after retirement, is you don’t have your own house because you lived in government quarters, you lose your identity and you don’t have your home address. “Please plan for your house now and do it immediately before 10 years,” he said.

He also advised to always consider emotional attachment, health and finance as important in life.

Former cabinet secretary, Dasho Penden Wangchuk said saving is important for  security and to understand about the retirement. “What is over, is over. You shouldn’t think about it after retirement.”

The two-day workshop ended yesterday.

Yangchen C Rinzin