One in six people can’t afford to retire – HSBC Singapore

02 December 2013

One in six people in Singapore believe they will never be able to fully retire from work. According to a recent study carried out by HSBC, nearly three-fifths (57%) of the working adults in Singapore either plan to semi-retire or are already semi-retired (4%).

Semi-retirement involves continuation of some form of paid employment with reduced working hours. Although this is not the norm in the region, out of the 38% of working population that was given the option to semi-retire, 81% took it up.

Of the respondents 57% chose to semi-retire because they want to keep their mind active, 47% said they enjoyed work, and 41% chose semi-retirement because they want to ease into retirement. A further 30% cited their reason for semi-retirement to be lack of retirement income, with 23% of them having to continue work in some form in order to cover the shortfall in their retirement income.

When asked if they were financially prepared for retirement, 88% of the respondents believed they were adequately prepared, while 9% admitted to having failed to prepare for a comfortable retirement.

HSBC Singapore’s head of customer value management, retail banking, and wealth management, Harmander Mahal, attributes retirement worries and the trend of semi-retirement to lack of long-term financial planning. She said, “"Semi-retirement has unfortunately become the prevailing lifestyle for many who cannot afford to fully retire. Inflationary pressures, a rising cost of living and the desire to maintain one's pre-retirement lifestyle are driving people in Singapore to continue working. A lack of long-term financial planning to ensure a good retirement is probably to be blamed."

Other findings

HSBC’s study, titled The Future of Retirement: Life After Work, surveyed 1000 respondents in Singapore from July 2012 to April 2013. Among other findings, the survey also revealed concerns of the retirees, with 31% of them experiencing a drop in income upon entering retirement, and 61% saying their expenses are either the same as before or increased after retirement.

More than 25% of the retirees also mentioned they continued to support their children financially even after retirement. Among the working residents, 38% believed they expect to continue supporting their children financially during retirement down the road.

Although the retirement age is increasing in many parts of the world, majority of the working people in Singapore still expect to retire at 60, much like their working parents did before them.

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