Budget constraints eat into Singaporeans' retirement goals: HSBC report

Elderly men sit in a row at the foot of a block in Chin Swee estate.
Elderly men sit in a row at the foot of a block in Chin Swee estate.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Providing prolonged financial support to the family is leading Singapore retirees to strike at least one thing off their bucket list, a study has found, as budget constraints eat into their retirement goals.

The HSBC Future of Retirement report, released on Tuesday, also found that the impact of 'giving while living' is creating a chasm between Singaporeans' desire to leave an inheritance for their next of kin and their ability to do so.

"Singaporeans' strong family ties are playing a role in the rise of the 'living inheritance' phenomenon where parents are supporting children into adulthood," said Matthew Colebrook, head of HSBC Singapore's retail banking and wealth management unit.

As financial commitments continue into retirement, Singaporean retirees are unable to achieve their own aspirations, he said.

The report is based on a survey of 1,000 working age and retired people between August and September 2014 in Singapore, which is part of a global survey of 16,000 people in 15 countries and territories.

The survey found that 81 per cent Singaporeans have been unable to achieve at least one of their hopes and dreams since retiring. Respondents highlighted an array of unachieved aspirations with 21 per cent saying they were unable to take frequent holidays and 16 per cent saying they were unable to buy an expensive item.

Fifty-nine per cent of retired Singaporeans are providing ongoing financial support to dependants and a quarter of these retirees regularly give to grown-up children (25 per cent) and grandchildren (5 per cent), the report said.

This adds another dimension to the already complex financial pressures faced by Singapore retirees," Mr Colebrook observed.

At least 66 per cent of working age people hope to leave an inheritance to their children, but only 18 per cent - or one in five - achieve that goal, which is significantly lower than the global (32 per cent) and regional (30 per cent) average.

rupsk@sph.com.sg