The good news – living to 100 years old is within the reach of many of us in Singapore retiring today. Singaporeans will live longer than many nations in the developed world – a study in 2016 shows that HALE(Healthy Life Expectancy) at birth ranks Singapore #1 in the world. Singapore must have done something right because HALE has improved a whopping 4.9 years from 2000 to 2016 – unmatched in any developed world.
From the individual perspective, living to 100 is a mixed blessing. You will have more time to be with family and friends, and the opportunity to pursue career and dreams that comes with a less hurried life. But one cannot assume that living to 100 is all a bed of roses. The objective is not only to live longer, but make living longer a positive and meaningful experience.
The study focus on 4 areas that you will need to pay attention to to make it a positive experience.
- RELATIONSHIP: As a typical Asian community, Singapore is a very family oriented society. Family is the backbone of our society and with longevity, this dynamics will change. Living longer can place additional financial and emotional stress on the family structure. What do you need to do continue to take care and nurture family bonds so that growing old is a meaningful family experience?
- HEALTH: More precious than gold in living to 100 is your health. As your body and mind ages, you will need to work harder to push back on negative effects by cultivating healthy habits as you grow old like eating carefully, regular medical exams and exercising. You will need to fight against heart disease, dementia and diabetes (an increasingly obesity) that can cause many future problems. Your #1 asset will need your 100% dedication and will power in taking care of your own health.
- FINANCE: The great news is most of us know how to save as it is built into our DNA. The bad news is that our traditional savings plans may not work as well for us in this scenario. Traditional retirement planning typically fails to build in an expectation for you to live to 100 — and to make it work for you, you will need to rethink your investment and spending strategy — or even consider semi-retirement versus a full-retirement to bolster your income stream. The Singapore government is actively planning for this through policy changes in CPF but this is an area you need to pay close attention to because there will be lots of changes.
- WORK: Retirement age in Singapore will certainly move up as we see similar trends in most of the developed world. While the government can change our laws to mandate certain behaviors by employers with regards to retirement age, you should note that this is happening in a world where the nature of work is being turned upside down by technology. Even if you want to work past your retirement, industries that you worked in may not even be there anymore. Whether you need to, want to or can work past your expected retirement age is a big question to answer.
“Ready for 100? Preparing for longevity in Singapore” is an Economist Intelligence Unit research commissioned by Prudential Singapore. The report is based on a survey of 1,214 Singapore residents in March 2018.