3 Things to Do in Your 30s That Will Make Your Later Years Much Better

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Hearing popular songs from the 2000s now playing on Gold 90.5, and seeing all your friends getting hitched or popping out babies.

If you’ve experienced this, welcome to your 30s. Congrats on surviving 3 decades of your life, going through school, graduating and getting your career off the ground.

From getting married and planning to buy a new HDB BTO flat to making big strides in your career or perhaps even starting a business, there are lots of new and exciting milestones in life that we are just about to hit or have just achieved. 

One constant, however, is that we are approaching our later years — it’s time to sit up and take notice of things like our health and plan for our financial future. But the benefit of being in our 30s is that we still have time on our side to pave the way for a more comfortable life when we get older. The key thing is to start now.

Here are 3 things to do in your 30s to make your later years much better: 

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Kick bad habits and lead a healthy lifestyle

Trust us, your body will thank you later.

Once you reach your 30s, your metabolism starts to slow down. If you are the type who used to be able to eat everything and still not gain weight, it may be time to re-evaluate your diet and lifestyle choices so that you reduce the risk of heart problems or chronic diseases such as diabetes or high cholesterol as you age.

Simple things like cooking more and swapping out unhealthier ingredients for healthier alternatives, introducing more vegetables to your diet, and overindulging less are easy enough to ease into.

You may also wish to get a gym membership to motivate you to exercise regularly or buy an affordable bicycle of your own.

Needless to say, bad habits like smoking and over drinking are not activities that should be part of your life if you want to reduce your risk of health problems in the future.

 

Build up your financial independence

As you’re hitting all these new milestones in life — getting married, renovation for a new house, preparing to have a child — you are spending lots of money and likely accumulating debt.

All these commitments mean that if you encounter any unexpected mishaps, sudden illness or disability, you may suffer a loss of income and incur more expenses especially if you need help in your day-to-day activities.

Long-term care costs incurred due to disability can take out a significant chunk of one’s savings and one way to avoid depleting your savings under such a situation is to insure yourself early with long-term care insurance plans. While the Government’s CareShield Life scheme helps, the starting monthly payout of $600 in 2020 may not be enough. Also, only those who are suffering from a severe disability1 are eligible for this monthly payout.

You’ll want a plan that adequately covers you — even for a mild disability1 — and one where you can utilise your MediSave funds. That’s why private insurers such as Great Eastern offer CareShield Life supplementary plans. 

Under Great Eastern’s GREAT CareShield Advantage plan, those with a mild disability1 — in which they are unable to perform 1 out of the 6 Activities of Daily Living (ADLs): washing, toileting, dressing, feeding, walking or moving around, and transferring — can get a lump sum payout of up to $15,000. Their future premiums will also be waived for as long as the insured person remains disabled (unable to perform at least 1 ADL)3

Should the insured person’s disability worsen from mild to moderate1, the plan offers up to $5,000/month in payouts. In the event of severe disability1, the payout of up to $5,000/month continues and they will also be eligible to receive payouts from the Government’s CareShield Life scheme, starting from $600/month in 2020.

TL;DR: Great Eastern’s plan offers another layer of coverage in addition to the government’s CareShield Life plan, which by default, only kicks in during severe disability (unable to perform at least 3 out of 6 ADLs).

 

Here’s a look at the available CareShield Life supplement plans offered by Great Eastern: 

GREAT CareShield plans  Enhanced  Advantage
Policy term  Lifetime
Premium payment  Up to $600 from MediSave + cash for the rest Up to $600 from MediSave + cash for the rest
Premium payment term  Up to and including the Policy Anniversary when the Life Assured is 65 or 80 (age last birthday)5
Option for monthly benefit  $300 to $5,000 (maximum)
Initial Benefit for mild disability (1 ADL) None  One lump sum of 3 times the Monthly Benefit payable upon inability to perform at least 1 ADL
Monthly benefit6  50% of Monthly Benefit payable upon inability to perform 2 ADLs

100% of Monthly Benefit payable upon inability to perform at least 3 ADLs

100% of Monthly Benefit payable upon inability to perform at least 2 ADLs
Premium Waiver3  Premiums are waived upon inability to perform at least 1 ADL

 

Here’s how it works: 

Source: Great Eastern 

 

Take 30-year-old James, who signs up for the GREAT CareShield Advantage plan, with a premium payment term of up to age 80. He pays an annual premium of S$1,017, for a monthly benefit of S$2,500.

At 42, James suffers a stroke and loses the ability to walk (1 ADL). The plan’s Initial Benefit feature pays him $7,500 upfront — 3 months’ worth of his S$2,500 monthly benefit — to supplement his medical costs. His future premiums are also waived, during the duration of his disability.

At 48, his condition deteriorates and he is unable to walk on his own and feed himself (2 ADLs). The plan ensures he will receive a monthly payout of S$2,500ǁ during the period of disability.

If at age 55, he is unable to perform 3 ADLs or more, the government’s CareShield Life payout starting from S$600/month, in 2020, will also kick in. So he will receive at least a total of S$3,100/month from then onwards, as long as he suffers from at least 3 ADLs.

GREAT CareShield can be paid for using MediSave (up to S$600 per calendar year per insured person), so James only needs to pay S$417/year in cash, minimising his cash outlay — great news for those of us with growing financial commitments.

 

Buy early to lock-in cheaper premiums

As with all insurance plans, it’s best to lock-in the premiums early. What this means is, when James purchases GREAT CareShield Advantage, he can: 

  • Go for a higher payout at a lower premium
  • He can be paying the same premium year on year as the premium amount does not increase with his age8. This means that James locks in the S$1,017 annual premium now for a monthly benefit of S$2,500.
Promotion: Sign up for GREAT CareShield now to get 20% off premiums for your first year!9

 

Set your sights afar and prepare yourself for the unexpected

How many of us in our 30s think about diseases that may hit us when we’re older? Not often I bet, but the unpredictability of life hits us when we see parents or relatives grappling with diseases or medical conditions.

According to a local study done in 2019, the proportion of older adults with 3 or more chronic diseases nearly doubled from 2009 to 2017, and stroke/high blood pressure and diabetes are among the most common chronic health conditions in Singapore.

Stroke/high blood pressure 

According to the Singapore Stroke Registry Annual Report 2018 by the National Registry of Diseases Office, the number of stroke episodes has increased over the years (5,760 episodes in 2009 to 8,326 episodes in 2018; incidence rate also increased significantly from 187.9 per 100,000 population in 2009 to 244.7 per 100,000 population in 2018). The report also found that over the past decade, there was also a significant rise in incidence rates for the 15-29 years, 40-49 years, and 50-59 years age groups. 

Though the statistics from the Ministry of Health show that deaths from stroke have decreased over the years, this possibly means that there are more stroke survivors, with some suffering from some forms of disability and needing long-term care. Also, it is good to know that one of the common risk factors for stroke is hypertension (high blood pressure), which affects almost a quarter of Singapore residents aged 30 to 69 years. 

Diabetes 

Oh, bubble tea, Instagram-worthy dessert shops and ice-cream parlours with all sorts of delectable flavours… With so much sugar in our system, it’s no wonder that an estimated 19,000 people are diagnosed with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes each year. According to the Ministry of Health statistics, the prevalence of diabetes among those aged 18 to 69 years increased from 7.3% in 1992 to 8.6% in 2017. 

Diabetes is more than just high blood sugar. If left uncontrolled, diabetes can damage blood vessels and affect multiple organs in the body and increase the risk of developing gangrene which may lead to loss of limbs.

In a 2016 report by the National Healthcare Group, it said that Singapore has one of the highest rates of lower extremity amputation in the world. Diabetes can also affect vision and may lead to blindness. 

In less severe cases of amputation and vision loss, one may still be able to perform their day-to-day activities independently. If it is assessed to be mild disability where one cannot perform 1 Activity of Daily Living, he/she will not receive any payout from the Government’s CareShield Life scheme. However, with the GREAT CareShield Advantage plan, one will receive a lump sum payout of up to S$15,000.

If the disability becomes severe (unable to perform at least 3 ADLs), they’d be entitled to both the GREAT CareShield Advantage plan and the Government’s CareShield Life monthly payouts4.

The burden of chronic medical conditions 

Chronic medical conditions require long-term treatment and medication which can be costly. In addition, there may be other costs, such as enrolling yourself into a nursing home, hiring a live-in caregiver, retrofitting the house to make it more disabled-friendly, or even having a family member quit their job to be a full-time caregiver.

Read more: How a 20+-year-old female had to pay $15,000 on chronic illness

In addition, according to the Ministry of Social and Family Development, about 3.4% of Singapore Citizens and permanent residents aged 18 to 49 were disabled in 2018. That’s over 130,000 people. 

There are also limits to how much your MediSave and MediShield Life can cover. Also, if you haven’t bought insurance and you get diagnosed with a chronic disease, you may not be able to get insured for it later.

Another unexpected mishap that could happen regardless of age is disability. In fact, the most common causes of disabilities in Singapore are due to accidents, illness or old age. Being young does not protect you from disabilities.

Statistics from the Ministry of Social and Family Development show that the percentage of persons with disabilities increases nearly four-fold with age.

On top of costs of medical treatment and long-term care, you may still have to continue supporting your family even if you were caught in an accident.

Just remember, it’s good to always be financially prepared for what life throws at us. Being in your 30s, you’ve still got time on your side to ensure your later years go smoother. So go on, get adequately covered, then go out and live it up in your roaring 30s! 

 

 

Footnotes: 

1. Mild disability means your inability to perform one ADL and will require significant assistance from another person when carrying out the activity. Moderate disability means your inability to perform two ADLs and will require significant assistance from another person when carrying out the activities. Severe disability means your inability to perform at least three ADLs and will require significant assistance from another person when carrying out the activities. 

Subject to Deferment Period and for Advantage Plan type only, and “mild disability” is the inability to perform 1 Activity of Daily Living (ADL). The Initial Benefit is a lump sum payment equivalent to 3 times of the Monthly Benefit. In the event the Life Assured fully recovers from the disability, the Initial Benefit may be paid again for subsequent episodes of mild disability. However, it is not payable if such subsequent disabilities arise from or are related to the cause of disability(ies) for which there was a previous claim for Initial Benefit. 

3. / ǁ Subject to Deferment Period, and for as long as he continues to suffer from the disability. 

4. /^ The Monthly Benefit supplements your CareShield Life monthly payouts which start from S$600 in 2020.

5. Entry age 30 to 55 – Up to and including the Policy Anniversary when the Life Assured is 65 or 80 (age last birthday). Entry age 56 to 64 – Up to and including the Policy Anniversary when the Life Assured is 80 (age last birthday) or 10 Years. 

6. All payouts under this row of benefit are subject to the Deferment Period. Payouts are payable for as long as the life assured suffers from the applicable number of disabilities, up to the life assured’s lifetime. 

Premiums are rounded down to the nearest dollar. 

8. Premium rates are not guaranteed and they may be adjusted from time to time based on future experience. 

9. Terms and conditions apply. 

 

Terms and conditions apply. Protected up to specified limits by SDIC. 

This is only product information provided by Great Eastern. You may wish to seek advice from a qualified adviser before buying the product. If you choose not to seek advice from a qualified adviser, you should consider whether the product is suitable for you. Buying health insurance products that are not suitable for you may impact your ability to finance your future healthcare needs. 

If you decide that the policy is not suitable after purchasing the policy, you may terminate the policy in accordance with the free-look provision, if any, and the insurer may recover from you any expense incurred by the insurer in underwriting the policy.