I was once asked in front of the entire audience at a function: What is my greatest fear?
Almost without skipping a beat, I replied: ‘Not having enough money when I retire’.
And surely, that is a sentence that must resonate with most too.
Never mind the fact that we’re currently living in the most expensive Asian city (oh – only for expats, of course – although does that really matter?) not for the first, second or even third year…but the FOURTH YEAR COUNTING. SINGAPORE IS EXPENSIVE. Point made.
Never mind the fact that water prices are set to increase by 30% in tranches from July 1 (2017), meaning that one of the very precious commodities that we depend on to survive will be costing that 30 cents more per dollar in the near future.
But the very scary thought that one day, the little that we save and accumulate throughout our working adult years will run dry at one of the most vulnerable and mature stages of our lives – and we will be forced to downgrade our houses to supplement our retirement income, pay exorbitant medical bills in return for good health and pick up a menial job in our old age to survive (which might be non-existent by then).
While all that does sound a little dark and gloomy, forgive my pessimism about the potential of our future financial states. Having touched on a worst-case scenario of sorts, the realist and more practical side in me wonders:
What then, can we do about it?
Designed by the nation’s social security statutory board herself, the financial tool is certainly an insightful and savvy piece of work.
After spending roughly fifteen minutes keying in my annual income, estimating and calculating a solid breakdown of my annual expenses, projecting the value of my insurance’s future value, accumulated investments and net-worth at retirement (even throwing in a year or two of work leave for a sabbatical or national duty for female Singaporeans aka. raise a child.
By the way – that option even included whether one would return to work with a pay cut!)
Factoring in variables as accurately as I could*, my calculations showed that:
*personal preferences e.g. retirement age and desired monthly retirement income are at the discretion of the author
With a staggering forecast of needing roughly S$3 million by age 60, it seems I am still at the start of a long journey to build a secure retirement nest egg.
Soberingly, a 33 year journey, to be exact.
High time to reassess that investment portfolio of mine again, I reckon.
Who’s with me?
Live long and prosper,
This great article was contributed by Lynn Han.
Lynn Han dreams of a world where everyone retires happily ever after.
She teaches accounting or as her students put it: the art of counting money.