From The Straits Times    |

Image: Kjersti Jorgensen / 123rf

The cost of living makes Singapore one of the toughest countries to retire in, according to a new report.

It found that about two in three workers here who are 45 or older would like to retire in the next five years but 48 per cent of them say they would not be able to. The global average is 38 per cent.

Moreover, 30 per cent of pre-retirees predict that they will never be able to retire fully, compared with the global average of 18 per cent.

Respondents here said the main impediment is a lack of savings or the burden of having dependants to look after.

Having a lot of debt was raised by 26 per cent of respondents here, compared with the global average of 22 per cent.

HSBC surveyed 1,008 respondents – people aged 25 and above as well as retirees – here as part of a survey spanning 17 countries.

Mr Matthew Colebrook, head of retail banking and wealth management at HSBC Singapore, said: “The HSBC Future of Retirement survey shows that the financial realities of retirement make it an elusive goal for many Singaporeans.

“This can be rectified with early financial planning and by seeking help from professionals who can provide advice on how to protect and grow your wealth.”

Pre-retirees surveyed said they were anxious that events such as bad health and the need to care for elderly parents could interfere with saving for retirement.

In spite of these concerns, retired life still offers much promise for some.

The poll found that 62 per cent of Singapore respondents aged 45 and above who would like to retire in the next five years want to travel or pursue other interests.

Also, 42 per cent of them would like to spend more time with family once they retire.

Pre-retirees also expect relationships with friends, their partner and their children to improve.

Mr Ian Martin, chief executive of HSBC Insurance (Singapore), said: “People should consider their personal aspirations when planning for retirement and ensure they are making sufficient financial provisions for this new chapter in life.

“Even small amounts saved by starting today can lay the groundwork for a comfortable retirement tomorrow, placing retirement dreams squarely within reach.”

HSBC also noted that about 56 per cent of pre-retirees here do not know how to predict how much they will spend on healthcare in retirement, even though 74 per cent believe that poor health will make saving for their golden years more difficult.

To help individuals assess financial preparedness in realising their retirement aspirations, HSBC has launched the Retirement Profiler, an online tool to help individuals assess financial preparedness in realising their retirement aspirations.


A version of this story was originally published in The Straits Times on March 20, 2016. For more stories like this, head to