Singaporeans find it hardest to save for retirement compared to their ASEAN neighbours: AIA survey

Building up their nest egg is the most difficult life goal for Singaporeans, who also fear that they will not have enough to retire comfortably with.-- PHOTO: ST FILE
Building up their nest egg is the most difficult life goal for Singaporeans, who also fear that they will not have enough to retire comfortably with.-- PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE- Building up their nest egg is the most difficult life goal for Singaporeans, who also fear that they will not have enough to retire comfortably with.

A new AIA report that surveyed 3,000 middle-class respondents across the ASEAN region revealed on Monday that 55 per cent of Singaporeans felt that saving for retirement was a challenge - the highest in all markets. This was also above the regional average of 44 per cent. The countries surveyed were Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam and Singapore.

Saving for retirement also topped the list when Singaporeans were asked about the life goals that were most difficult to achieve. Starting their own businesses was next, followed by traveling the world.

They also needed the most amount of money for retirement at US$898,330, compared to the other markets.

Malaysians came in next at US$583,380 while the Vietnamese said they would need US$493,100.

Of the Singaporeans surveyed, 67 per cent cited healthcare costs as their top concern - the highest level among all the countries surveyed.

However, Singapore also had the highest average monthly household income at US$6,492, according to an index compiled by AIA. Thailand was next at US$2,128 and Malaysia was third at US$2,011.

Despite their concerns on savings, Singaporeans have invested in a wide variety of instruments to plan for their retirement. Most had their assets in cash savings at 55 per cent, while 53 per cent were invested in equities, bonds and funds.

AIA said 51 per cent had a retirement plan while 47 per cent of Singaporeans said they had holdings in property.

"From the survey, we see that Singapore's middle class desires to be financially stable and healthy enough to be able to celebrate and experience life with their families, but they are also pragmatic about how much wealth is actually enough for a comfortable retirement," said Mr Tan Hak Leh, chief executive of AIA Singapore.

But Singaporeans were mostly happy with their lives, with 74 per cent of those surveyed saying that they were "satisfied" and another 12 per cent who were "very satisfied".

Across the six markets, respondents agreed that health was the most important goal, while "happiness in marriage" and a "better life for their children" were next - all above the accumulation of wealth as a primary life motivation, the survey showed.