Retirement not an entitlement

The spirit of elderly workers in Japan is to be commended ("More in Japan not retiring; one worked up to age 101"; Wednesday).

It is their "if I could, I would like to continue working beyond my retirement age" mindset that we in Singapore should try to nurture and embrace, if we wish to address our labour crunch issue.

We need to adjust our mindset on retirement and get it more in line with reality.

Retirement is a privilege, not an entitlement. Everywhere in the developed world, retirement is becoming harder to achieve.

It is not a government-created problem but a mathematical one: We are living longer but not necessarily working longer.

Just because we have reached retirement age and fail to receive a monthly retirement income enough to sustain our lifestyle does not mean we should start asking for financial aid and support.

Assistance may be given, but ultimately, the root cause is insufficient savings accumulated.

Instead of lamenting that we cannot retire comfortably after working for about 40 years, maybe we should reflect on what we should have done when we were younger.

What can we do now (invest or save more) so that we can retire comfortably? Or better yet, decide that we want to work until the day we can no longer do so.

Ng Chee Siang

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 03, 2016, with the headline 'Retirement not an entitlement'. Print Edition | Subscribe