Opinion

3 Retirement Fears Plaguing Singaporeans and What You Should Be Doing About Them

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Joanne Poh

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A news report published last year revealed that Singaporeans’ retirement fears revolve around basic necessities rather than being able to play golf every day or have assets to pass on to their offspring. To be precise, the top 3 fears were not having enough money to pay for medical bills, not being able to look after themselves and suffering from decreased physical mobility.

When you think about it, it’s pretty sad that in a society as prosperous as Singapore’s, people are living in fear of, well, becoming destitute vegetables. While nobody can say for sure what hand of cards life will deal you, instead of passively stressing out, here are some things every Singaporean can do to safeguard themselves against a miserable future.

 

1. Not having enough money to pay for medical bills

The high costs of medical care in Singapore and the inadequacies of our current MediShield system mean that medical bankruptcy is a very real possibility for those unlucky enough to get struck down by a serious illness. That’s why getting adequate medical insurance is non-negotiable in Singapore.

Most polls conducted in recent years have revealed that more than half of Singaporeans are inadequately insured. Given the fact conditions like diabetes and kidney failure are on the rise, a lot of people in our generation could find themselves in very big trouble in a few decades’ time.

So clearly, each and every Singaporean needs to educate themselves on the ins and outs of health insurance, make sure they understand what they’re getting out of MediShield and arrive at a level of protection that they’re comfortable with. Seriously guys, it’s not the most exciting way to spend the next weekend or two, but it has to be done.

 

2. Not being able to look after yourself

In Singapore, where there is great social pressure for children to look after their parents in old age, an adult’s ultimate nightmare is being consigned to an old folks’ home in JB, where they will live out the rest of their days in misery.

Now, we are not saying you should get married to the nearest person and pop out a few kids for social security. But it’s time to realise that you need to be self-sufficient. If you haven’t started building up a nest egg, thinking that you can simply rely on your offspring to upkeep you, you might be in for a rude shock, or have the tables turned if anything unfortunate should happen.

Save and invest with a view to making yourself self-sufficient, so that come what may, you’ll be able to get yourself the assistance you need. It doesn’t have to involve a huge sum of money, and the earlier you start, the less capital you’ll need to grow into a sizeable sum later on. Don’t know where to start? Head on over to our Learning Centre for some pointers.

In addition, when you think about growing old alone, you start to realise just how important it is to be part of a community of people you can trust. Too many Singaporeans give up everything in pursuit of money, only to find that themselves emotionally disconnected from their own family and friends. This is a surefire way to find yourself spending your last years alienated from anyone who could otherwise help you.

 

3. Losing physical mobility

Not being able to dress yourself or climb stairs without another person’s assistance is terrifying, especially when you have to pay for that assistance. But it’s also preventable in many cases—if you take steps to preserve your mobility at an early age.

It doesn’t mean you need to commit to running 10 miles a day for the rest of your life. But if you’ve managed to get through life without major injuries and without being obese, you can definitely slow down mobility decline if you engage in some regular practice or form of exercise that preserves your mobility. It doesn’t have to be hard. Taking a swim a few times a week, doing some basic yoga asanas or having a game of badminton can all help—if done regularly.

The main barrier is that Singaporeans are too busy working and trying to make money to care about their health. The irony is that it is this very oversight that can end up costing them in the long run.

Are you haunted by any of the above fears and what have you done to alleviate them? Tell us in the comments!

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Joanne Poh

In my previous life, I was a property lawyer who spent most of my time struggling to get out of bed or stuck in peak hour traffic. These days, as a freelance commercial writer, I work in bed, on the beach, in parks and at cafes, all while being really frugal. I like helping other people save money so they can stop living lives they don't like.