Written: 26 November 2020

When Michael Barobe (pictured) joined the Public Service as a teacher in 2002, he joined more than 60,000 teachers nation-wide as a Nambawan Super member.

Today, as the Chief Executive Officer of the Pacific Institute of Leadership and Governance, he maintains that saving through Nambawan Super’s Voluntary Contribution has always been the best savings option for Papua New Guineans.

Barobe who recently attained a Master of Business Administration is passionate about encouraging more Papua New Guineans to make saving a habit to improve living standards and secure a comfortable retirement.

 I joined the public service as a teacher, which is when I naturally became a Nambawan Super member. This is where most Public Sector employees keep their retirement savings.

Nowadays, it’s for everyone. Anyone from the public service, private or informal sector and expatriates can join and benefit from long term savings.

 As a teacher, my family had the advantage of housing that was provided at the secondary schools I taught at in the Hela and Southern Highlands Provinces. I have taught at schools across these two provinces including Tari High School, Mungol Secondary and Ialibu Secondary.

 After achieving my postgraduate diploma in teaching, I applied and was successfully accepted into my role as a Trainer in Accounting and Business Studies at the Papua New Guinea Institute of Public Administration (IPA).

 Joining the IPA began my next step forward, toward the practice of saving money which prepared me for the next chapter of my life.

I started thinking about how I could make saving a natural habit. Particularly because my family and I had been living in institutional houses during most of my employment.

When assessing my situation in the long term, I knew I would of course have to vacate my residence, when my term of employment ceases.

 I was also thinking about my family, my children and where we would eventually settle down when the time comes when I stop working.

I began looking at my two key options to save for my retirement. Whether to save in a bank or save through Voluntary Contributions with Nambawan Super.

 Interestingly, before joining the teaching profession, I had worked with formerly the PNG Banking Corporation under its Graduate Development Program, shortly after graduating from the University of Technology with a Bachelor of Business Studies. So I was easily able to assess my options, having had some commercial banking knowledge.

I knew Voluntary Contributions with Nambawan Super was the best option for me, and commenced in 2007 with a fortnightly contribution of K50, in addition to my mandatory contributions.

 If I had saved with a commercial bank, I would have easily accessed my savings so I decided to stick with Voluntary Contributions with Nambawan Super, so it is locked away for my retirement.

My family was also a big part of this new journey, so it was a family decision. It is very important for the family to embrace the savings culture and they should know these things. In the end, the benefit goes back to the family.

 It wasn’t until last year – more than 10 years later – that I decided to look at my statement. I was so excited! It was so much more than I expected!

 Apart from the Voluntary Contributions I had made, I realized my contributions had earned a really good amount of compound interest, which no commercial bank could have afforded me. While commercial banks do provide compound interest, I was receiving a healthier return from Nambawan Super than I would have with a commercial bank.

 This is the money I had saved, making more money, which is possible through Voluntary Contributions with Nambawan Super.

 It is a hard decision when you start, especially with our current living conditions and costs. But as they say, you have to buckle up and meet the challenge if you want a good retirement. It is worth it, as we often spend on things that are unnecessary for our daily living.

 My advice to our young people is to not spend recklessly and become a burden to yourself and your family. Start Voluntary Contributions now, and you’ll be happier than me by the age of 50 or when you decide to retire.

 I am now the Chief Executive Officer at Pacific Institute of Leadership and Governance at the Institute of Public Administration. Of course, I am still making Voluntary Contributions, but I am now contributing the ceiling amount 15% of my salary as Voluntary Contributions because I have seen the advantages.

 Read more in our November edition of Nambawan SuperTok newsletter.


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