Make S'pore Savings Bonds more senior-friendly

A group of senior citizens exercising at Bishan Park.
A group of senior citizens exercising at Bishan Park. PHOTO: ST FILE

With their special features, the Singapore Savings Bonds are a suitable form of investment for self-reliant senior citizens with some savings ("S'pore Savings Bonds' appeal"; last Thursday).

These people are most vulnerable to being persuaded to buy structured products with high interest but with high risks attached.

The Singapore Savings Bonds, instead, offer them a risk-free investment with a regular, though small, half-yearly income to contribute to their expenses.

To attract and, in some cases, enable seniors to invest in these bonds, it is advisable to make adjustments for them.

First, do away with the use of a central depository (CDP) account for them. Illiterate seniors who are not investment-savvy do not have CDP accounts and might not be willing to open one.

Instead, the interest they earn could be credited into their bank savings accounts directly.

Second, designate locations, like post offices, for them to apply for the bonds.

Seniors are eager to queue for anything that benefits them, but lining up for hours at ATM machines will only tire them.

Furthermore, those who do not know how to apply through ATMs may prefer to be guided by a staff member.

Finally, offer seniors a slightly higher interest rate and do not impose the $100,000 limit on them.

If seniors can use the interest earned for part of their expenses, they will not need retirement jobs urgently or more handouts from society.

It is not surprising that some illiterate seniors can be richer than educated ones, as they were hard-working and thrifty during their younger days.

However, they are not willing to part with their savings as they are unsure of their lifespan and future health. Let us not forget about them.

Yeo Boon Eng (Ms)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 29, 2015, with the headline 'Make S'pore Savings Bonds more senior-friendly'. Print Edition | Subscribe