Singaporeans anxious about retirement income: Survey

The office crowd at Raffles Place.
The office crowd at Raffles Place. ST PHOTO: JAMIE KOH

SINGAPORE - Singaporean workers are anxious about their retirement prospects, and concerned that their existing planned retirement income can replace only a small share of their pre-retirement income, according to a study on retirement attitudes and expectations in East Asia.

The study, which was conducted by the Global Aging Institute (GAI) and insurer Prudential Corporation Asia, found that 28 per cent of workers in Sngapore expect to have a lot less income in retirement than they earn now. This is more than anywhere else surveyed except Hong Kong, South Korea, and Taiwan.

While a larger number of Singaporean workers expect to receive benefits from the Central Provident Fund than is the case of today's retirees, the benefits that most of them receive will be quite modest, the survey found.

Nevertheless, most Singaporeans surveyed favour individual or government responsibility for retirement income and do not expect their family to be the main financial source of support in their old age.

In South Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan, a majority or plurality of respondents (between 40 and 61 per cent) feel that retirees themselves should be responsible for their own retirement income.

In Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, China, the Philippines, and Thailand, a majority or plurality of respondents (between 43 and 66 per cent) feel that government should assume the primary role in retirement security.

"The findings show that retirees in East Asia find themselves at a difficult juncture," said Mr Richard Jackson, founder and president of GAI. 

"Traditional family support networks have been weakening, yet adequate government and market substitutes have not yet been put in place. The result is growing economic vulnerability," he said.

On the brighter side, across East Asia, workers very eager to improve their retirement prospects, he said.

In every market, the share of today's workers who expect to receive income in retirement from insurance and annuity products and/or stocks, bonds or mutual funds is rising, the survey found.

In Singapore, 74 per cent of today's workers expect to receive income from these financial assets when they retire.