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We Asked 6 S’porean Millennials What They Thought About Retirement

Do we really have the worst retirement prospects? 🙁

In the news recently, there has been a ton of press from The Straits Times and in a recent report by HSBC about retirement and slogging it out in the next 50+ years before we ‘Retire’. In fact another article by MustShareNews described Millennials as a group who were ‘Royally screwed’.

I got curious, and being surrounded by Millennials all around as fresh graduates and recent people who have entered the workforce, and it’s funny because retirement is not something we think about directly, but rather as a form of afterthought. Something that sounds like:

“What’s our purpose of going to work?”

Therefore, we reached out to 6 Millennials aged between 20 to 35 years old and asked them some questions relating to what retirement really means to them and what they intend to do about it.

 

Emily, 25, Human Resources 

 

What’s your definition of retirement and at which age?

To leave the work force (full-time), be able to afford a comfortable lifestyle and be able to buy anything reasonable without looking at the price tag!

Maybe at 55 years old? The age will vary depending on how many kids I have since education is expensive in Singapore.

What have you been doing to plan for retirement and how worried are you about it?

I invest and I break down my investments into low & high risk and short & long term to build a diversified portfolio. Examples of the investments I have are: Investment Linked Policies, Unit Trusts, STI ETF, Singapore Saving Bonds, US and Singapore equities. For Singapore equities, I mainly hold blue chip stocks. My parents will be worried if I am not! But I believe if you live within your means, save and invest adequately, there should not be any big concerns.

 

Jamie, 35, Tech Startup 

 

 

What’s your definition of retirement and at which age?

Retirement to me is about achieving financial freedom where for the rest of my life, I no longer need to earn a living in order to live and I can pursuing other interests outside of working. In my mind, once I achieve financial freedom, I can essential retire if I wanted to.

If I were still employed at my last job, I would say that based on all the investment plans I had in place, I was on track to be able to retire at 65. However, since I left my job, that retirement plan is no longer in play. At this moment, most of my retirement plans are on hold as I work on my startup. 

What have you been doing to plan for retirement and how worried are you about it?

When I was still employed by my last company, I had a financial planner to help me work out a retirement plan so that I could retire by the age 65. The plans included a few investment linked insurance, shares, stocks and bond investments as well as starting on a monthly savings/investment plan that I would contribute to till I was 60 that would then pay out lump sums and a monthly stipend for the rest of life. Since I became self-employed, some of the larger plans have been cancelled/put on hold. 

Being self-employed now and running a startup, I am worried about retirement primarily because most of the money that I had been contributing to my retirement has now gone into my business instead. This means that my retirement at this moment is tied to the success of my business. If things don’t work out with my business, I’ll likely go back to working for a company again and resuming the plans I had made previously to cater for my retirement. If things work out, then I may actually be able to retire earlier than I had expected.

 

Lenard, 27, Oil & Gas Energy

 

What’s your definition of retirement and at which age?

When monthly passive cash flow is more than monthly expenses. Maybe around 60 years old.

What have you been doing to plan for retirement and how worried are you about it?

Invest in dividend paying stocks, reading up on CPF. Not really worried as my *discretionary spending is not high for now.

*Discretionary spending includes money spent on luxury items, vacations, and nonessential goods and services.

 

Ming Ting, 25, SG Statutory Board

 

What’s your definition of retirement and at which age?

Retirement doesn’t mean to stop working but to be able to not worry about living expenses! Maybe around 65 years old.

What have you been doing to plan for retirement and how worried are you about it?

Unfortunately I have not been planning much yet, but I do intend to start topping up my CPF SA (special account)* or consider SRS! (Supplementary Retirement Scheme

*Fun fact: The interest rate is currently up to 3.5%  for OA, and up to 5% for SA, MA and RA

 

C, 25, Military Regular

 

What’s your definition of retirement and at which age?

I reach a state of financial sufficiency without having to work while living my normal life. Maybe around 60?

What have you been doing to plan for retirement and how worried are you about it?

Some savings plan for the long term as well as health insurances to prevent requiring large sum of money for treatment when older. Kind of worried, but I think I should be fine.

Got to read up more on personal finance bloggers and tips when the time comes.

 

Alex, 25, Advisory Services

 

What’s your definition of retirement and at which age?

In my mind, retirement is a stage in somebody’s life where they are financially comfortable enough to live their life the way they please, without having to be employed to fund their chosen lifestyle. 

I’d like to think by the time I’m 50, that I’ll be able to retire. However, I don’t really ever see myself wanting to retire as per say. I think I will always be pursuing a passion in a professional capacity, but ask me again after 25 years of working and I might have a slightly different opinion!

What have you been doing to plan for retirement and how worried are you about it?

To be honest, I haven’t specifically thought about retiring or planned for it intentionally. I do invest in various financial instruments and save money etc, and I guess that is contributing to retirement somewhat. If you have any advice on what I should be doing, I’m all ears!

Not really worried at all. I think it’s important to plan ahead financially for retirement, but at the moment I’m primarily focused on succeeding in my career.

 


Conclusion – Every generation has their own problems and opportunities

After going through the comments above, we find every generation is uniquely different. While there are constant inflationary pressure on the increasing healthcare, property and skyrocketing expenses, we also find that the Millennial generation are also more creative with making money, and with better technology to support this endeavour. 

Financial literacy at a different level, with the internet is more commoditised allowing you to be educated at a click of a button. It is easier to get certified on online courses, start working and side hustle. Together with smarter and better ways to save, power shifting to the people (sharing economy, less waste). 

However true, we agree with the head of wealth management at HSBC, as quoted: “In the past, it may have been enough for Singaporeans to depend on cash savings and property to generate retirement income.

“Now, with the prolonged low-interest-rate environment and the introduction of property cooling measures, it is important to take a more active and diversified approach when it comes to investing.”

Ultimately, it is of our humble opinion that the ‘Idea of Retirement’ will take on a new meaning for this generation and it would be an interesting journey for all of us. 

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