Good Singapore are beset with more challenges

Good morning Mrs Tian and fellow classmates. As hair fades into grey and wrinkles become increasingly prominent, we transit into yet another phase of life —— old age. A time many perceive to be a prime to enjoy the fruits of our labour. Yet, expectations may not always translate into reality. In actual fact , we live in a world fraught with insurmountable challenges. Indeed, the new age has brought forward a new set of complications we were once stranger to. With all these in mind, has the perceived golden years evolved into a myth with the passage of time or is the future of retirement still one that embodies the pleasure once promised to us?That said, it is no exaggeration to say that the elderly in Singapore are beset with more challenges than ever. One pertinent challenge is the rising costs of living. In this fast-paced, ever changing and seemingly apathetic society, the phrase “Happy Retirement” almost seems like mockery. According to the World Bank, majority of retirees in Singapore have their retirement savings completely spent halfway through retirement. Additionally, a survey by HSBC states that half of the elderly in Singapore feel financially insecure. Indeed, Singapore has been ranked one of the most expensive places to live in, and this reality is particularly hard-hitting for retirees, now that they have a smaller source of income.While it is true that elderly do face problems when retiring in Singapore, one should not blow these challenges out of proportion. This is because much has been done in Singapore, be it by public or private sector to ensure that retirement is not a torturous process, but an easier one. First of all, there is a plentiful supply of financial privileges and safety nets for retirees to ensure that they have sufficient funds to enjoy their retirement without worries. Education by government boards as well as private banks helps asset-rich but cash-poor retirees get sound financial advice. The majority of these retirees end up downgrading their property so as to have a greater cash flow, which is more important than accumulating stagnant assets when one has retired. Furthermore, the government has progressively risen the retirement age so that retirees do not feel pressured by their employers or peers to retire too early, thus allowing them to accumulate a bit more savings from their income so they have a bigger nest-egg to retire comfortably with. Moreover, if retirees are worried about escalating medical bills with old age, measures have been put in place to ensure that the bills will still be manageable even if they do increase after retirement. For example, the Ministry of Social and Family Development of Singapore has the ‘Eldercare Master Plan’ that offers free regular screenings for the elderly for early detection of illnesses. Early diagnosis will help to save medical expenses since illnesses at their early stages are more affordable to treat than those in later stages. In addition, the Central Provident Fund(CPF) of Singapore also has a compulsory savings for all workers with a monthly income of at least $800.These savings are accumulated and can be used by retirees for healthcare expenses. Thus, even if the elderly are beset with more illnesses with age, they need not worry that they cannot afford to give themselves quality treatment as there are plans in place to make healthcare accessible to them even after retirement. In conclusion, it is undeniable that the elderly in Singapore are faced with multiple challenges that prevent them from enjoying worry-free golden years. However, one should not outlook the fact that stakeholders in both the public and private sectors have put in place safeguards to allow the elderly in Singapore to have their needs taken care of be it economically, socially or emotionally. With some planning and good advice, I believe that the ‘golden years’ can be achieved, even in a costly-to-live-in, busy and fast-paced place like Singapore. So are you ready to take a step into the next phase of your life ?