Do you have enough retirement savings? The facts are:
- A single person of 65 or above needs SGD1,379 per month to pay up basic living expenses
- A senior couple should pay a monthly cost of SGD2,351 for their basic needs
- And younger Singles between 55 and 64 require a higher sum of SGD1,721 monthly to maintain a primary living standard.
A research team, led by assistant professor Ng Kok Hoe from the school of Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, concludes that it is about access to education, employment, work-life balance, healthcare, housing, food, and clothing.
Despite the forecast that the median incomes for 2022 and 2023 are SGD4,850 and SGD5,000 by the Ministry of Manpower, the research team discovers that only the top 25% of households can spend the minimum income standard of SGD2,351 monthly expenses. The remaining 75% live below the bar!
Do you think you have saved enough to retire comfortably? The following may give you some hints.
Retirement Age in Singapore
Singapore’s official retirement age is 63, according to the Ministry of Manpower.
How Much Savings is Enough for Retirement Singapore?
The answer depends on who you ask. Like others, we have unique lifestyles and require special retirement planning when saving for a second life. The following are common questions you should ask yourself.
1. Life expectancy
Singapore is one of the countries with the highest life expectancy in the world. The Department of Statistics finds that the average life expectancy in Singapore is 83.5. The average lifespans for men and women are 81.1 and 85.9. You should get a retirement nest egg ready for 20 or more years ahead by the time you retire.
Moreover, you should expect to live longer in the future because advanced technology prolongs human life every decade. You may have to prepare more than the retirement funds required for extended retirement living.
2. Your retirement lifestyle
Your aspirations for life after retirement may determine how much you should save for a new journey. You long to spend more time traveling in your retirement than you cannot do in your regular work life. Or you may want to start a business after having been tired of working for others.
Your retirement lifestyle can be essential to future living and have more implications for your retirement targets. If round-the-world travel is your dream after retirement, you should prepare a significant sum besides your retirement reserve. But a business may provide you with a regular income after retirement and offset your other retirement expenses.
3. Health history
Your health may determine how much you save. If you have a family history of chronic diseases like high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart problems, you are more likely than others to incur such a disease. Heath expenses may be one of your concerns in your senior years.
Besides more exercises to keep your body in the best shape, you may have to save more for regular body checkups and put funds aside for possible urgent health problems. Health or critical illness insurance may be another option to solve the cash needs during a health crisis.
4. Your family members or siblings
Most retirees can concentrate on other pursuits in retirement, not be bound and tied up with the costs of raising children. However, Luck does not fall on everyone. Retirees with late-born or disabled children or siblings may have to shoulder responsibility for the cost of caring for their loved ones over a long time or even a lifetime.
A retiree in Singapore may have to put aside more funds than others because of the cost required for care. He may have to talk with a financial advisor about the best ways to plan a financial retirement with special needs.
5. Support from your children
Many Singapore retirees have financial support from their family members when they grow up. But unfortunately, many do not have the blessing. More and more people choose to be single, not to have children, or cannot obtain financial support from their children due to other reasons.
Retirees should not be overdependent on their source of income as their family members’ financial situation may change. They should look for more financial sources instead of relying on one for a main retirement income stream.
6. Retirement age
The time to retire affects your calculations towards retirement savings. To retire earlier, you may need a more considerable retirement sum to support a longer living. Therefore, your retirement account requires a higher portion of your monthly salary to reach the goal. If you defer your retirement for several years, you have more time to accumulate funds for retirement consumption.
A Simple Formula to Calculate How much You Need for Retirement
To browse your retirement needs initially, you can use the following rule of thumb to browse your primary retirement needs before digging more with a financial advisor.
“Monthly retirement needs x 12 months x estimated years of retirement.”
The formula is a simplified version excluding inflation and other factors; You should talk to a retirement advisor for more details.
Considerations When Preparing for a Retirement
You may have been expecting your dream retirement since. But making it a reality requires a head-scratching effort to do so.
Following are some factors you should take in planning for a viable retirement fund.
Inflation is the primary threat you will face in the future. Since the beginning of 2022, Singapore’s inflation has had an annualized inflation of close to 5.5% up till now. Economists predict it will increase further in the next year or later.
Inflation is price increases in goods or services, so you have to use more units of money to buy the same ones as before. The pain of inflation is your buying power reduces compared with prices previously. The following table of information provided by the CPF board shows how inflation changes our buying power.
|Prices in SGD(20 years ago)
|Prices in SGD(Today)
Inflation eats your wallet and purchasing power. You should factor inflation into the projection of future savings plans for a decent living standard.
2. Medical expenses
Besides inflation, medical expenses can consume your savings faster than any other expenses if, unfortunately, you encounter a serious illness or accident.
The situation can worsen if you have one or more chronic diseases like diabetes or heart problems requiring long-term medical treatment. Apart from spending more on medical bills, your situation may hinder your efforts to fulfilling other goals like traveling and opening a shop.
Regular check-ups and exercises can be a precaution to prevent unexpected in the future. You should prepare for the worst financially to avoid your retirement life. Health insurance is a viable option to protect your financial future.
3. Your living style
The way you want to live determines the retirement quality and plays a crucial part in your second life journey. Any deficiency in your funds and unexpected health problems may defer or stop you from realizing dreams planned for a long time.
On the other hand, an extravagant retirement lifestyle may deplete your savings faster without any control. Later retirement living will become very hard as it is more difficult to re-establish a new reserve fund past your career peak. A regular and critical review of your view on your retirement living style may help you plan a pragmatic and realizable personal goal.
4. Investment returns
Your investment strategy affects your retirement fund’s return. Successful investing reduces costs, and you can divert valuable resources into other areas to uplift your and your family’s living standards.
Improper investing strategies may bring heavy losses to your funds and increase your retirement costs as you need to contribute more to restore the losses.
For example, an over-conservative investment strategy may slow your investment gains and your savings. You may need more time to save and delay your retirement subsequently.
An aggressive investing tactic may increase the risk of losses and create a deficiency in your retirement reserve, especially in the years approaching your retirement.
You should discuss your investment horizon with your financial advisor and find the best solutions.
Can You Retire with SGD2,000.000 in Singapore?
It is a tricky question and has no universal answer. A fulfilling retirement life comprises numerous personal factors like living styles, post-career aspirations, and some uncontrollable factors like life span and health. Or, you may find a solution suitable for your situation by looking at the illustration below.
A recent publication, “Household Expenditure Survey 2017/18” by the Department of Statistics Singapore, reveals the average monthly household expenditures, including non-working persons aged 65 or above, from 2007/8 to 2017/8.
The average monthly family had spent from SGD1,215 to SGD1,967 over the 10 years: a more than 60% increase.
An average household member expenditure increased from SGD784 to SGD1,154 each month during the same period, a close-to 50% increase.
You may be interested in further information provided by CPF Life. The CPF life is a national longevity insurance annuity scheme offering lifelong monthly payouts at 65 to Singaporeans with their retirement money.
The table below lists 3 options of lifelong monthly payouts offered to retirees:
|Sums in SGD available at 65
|Lifelong Monthly payouts in SGD to retirees
|CPF Basic retirement sum(BRS)
|S$770 – S$830
|CPF Full retirement sum(FRS)
|S$1,430 – S$1,530
|CPF Enhanced retirement sum(ERS)
|S$2,080 – S$2,230
From the table above, a sum of 2 million is more than enough to cover your expenses required of SGD186,000 for a person. If you have a family of 4 with 2 seniors, the CPF retirement sum is SGD1,160,000 = SGD186,000 x 6. You can still retain SGD840,000 = SGD2,000,000 – SGD1,160,000 on your hand to do other things like travel and starting a business.
But what if you have a severe illness or a disabled sibling requiring long-term care? Or, your business requires significant cash flows to operate. You must decide whether your cash on hand is enough to handle the challenges. Besides, you should purchase insurance coverage to protect your retirement income sources from abrupt depletion due to unexpected events.
Personal factors determine the resources needed to fund a fulfilling retirement life. One thing is sure, a sum of SGD2,000,000 is more than enough to finance a comfortable life, excluding all family members and other uncertain factors.
How to Save for Your Retirement
Numerous options are available to Singaporeans to save for retirement. You can choose some funding tools best suitable for your situation. The following are the most popular in Singapore.
- CPF: A compulsory savings scheme sponsored by the government, CPF offers tax benefits to the working population to save for retirement. Participants at 65 can use the funds in their CPF retirement account to buy a CPF Life scheme for lifelong monthly payouts for a stable retirement income stream.
- SRS: Another government-sponsored voluntary retirement savings system, “Supplementary Retirement System” allows more investment options to savers besides tax benefits. Investors can increase their investment returns by purchasing more risky assets.
- Annuities: An annuity is a retirement product offered by an insurance company to offer guaranteed monthly income to retirees. Clients can choose how long, e.g., payments for life or a certain period, and they can decide at what age to receive their first payments.
- Endowment insurance policies: A target savings plan offered by insurance companies, an endowment insurance plan provides insurance coverage to savers. If a policyholder dies or becomes disabled, an insurance company pays an insured amount to him or his beneficiaries or continues paying contributions on a client’s behalf.
- Bank accounts: Savers can use their bank accounts to fund their retirement sources. Clients’ assets held in banks in Singapore are safe and secure under the protection scheme of the Singapore Deposit Insurance Corporation. However, clients may expect fewer profits from bank deposits than other institutions.
- Brokerages: Popular financial institutions in Singapore, a brokerage offers popular investment tools like stocks, bonds, funds, options, warrants, and other derivatives to increase your investment returns. The risks offered by investment tools vary from very low to extremely high. Investors should evaluate their risk endurance before choosing one to invest in for retirement.
- Mutual funds/unit trusts: They are collective investment schemes providing investors profiting and reducing risks from diversifying numerous investments across sectors and countries. Mutual funds aim to outperform markets in the long term and are appropriate for long-term savers.
- ETFs/Index funds: Though a collective investment scheme, ETFs or index funds are passively-invested funds that mimic investing from a market index. Therefore they have lower costs than an actively-invested mutual fund or unit trust. Besides, they are suitable for long-term investors preferring hassle-free style.
- Real Estate Income Trusts(REIT): A REIT invests in properties providing a regular and stable rental income to investors. Retirees holding REITs can access a steady income stream for retirement life.
- Post-retirement income: You may learn about CPF Life accounts and annuities providing regular income streams during retirement. It may be a good time to think of new sources of income to supplement your retirement life. As mentioned earlier, you can create a business for additional income to supplement other incomes. It may reduce your financial pressure when the economic situation turns sour.
When Is an Ideal Time to Start Planning for Retirement?
There is no better time ever than now to work for your future retirement dreams. Time is a valuable resource in realizing your plan for a dream retirement, except for capital. The more time you have, the more you can save. The table below illustrates how much you need to save each year.
|Years till retirement age 63
|Retirement sum available
|Annual savings required
Why You Should Save in your 20s
You are in the best position to start planning your retirement journey. People in their 20s have more room to prepare for their future with fewer responsibilities like mortgages and family on their shoulders.
It is not that you should give up others like entertainment or buying a home for retirement purposes. On the contrary, you have more room to correct mistakes made in the course and a higher success probability than other ages if they plan now.
Successful investing takes time. The longer an investment takes, the more return it will bring due to a compound effect.
Why It’s Critical to Save in Your 30s
Reaching 30s, you may have to face more commitments like family, mortgage, career, travel, and entertainment. It is still the right time to save because your retirement nest egg requires time to build up. Thirty-or-more-year is an appropriate period to accumulate your retirement, so you have sufficient funding to support your retirement.
You should put aside around 20% of your income to save for your retirement funds. The amount should be more if you can afford it, so it has more cushion against unexpected shortfalls.
Why Your 40s-50s Is Not Too Late To Save For Retirement
Your career is peaking in middle age, and so is your earning power. You should stick to the 20% savings rule to keep your fund going bigger. Your financial advisor may help you maximize tax benefits through CPF accounts and SRS and create a long-term investment portfolio consisting of stocks, bonds, funds, and insurance plans to increase returns helping you reach a comfortable retirement.
The amount for adequate retirement differs among people. It depends on life expectancy, lifestyle, health, and investment tools. However, according to Singapore’s basic income standard, 2 million is more than enough to support a basic living style, but you should consider unexpected events like accidents and health changes.
Also: Meet your financial needs with ease- whether it’s for your next vacation or that potential property you have been wanting with a personal loan.
- Retirement planning should involve your living style, health, and family.
- Savers should maximize public and private savings conduits to reduce tax and increase investment returns.
- Time horizon and capital are two essential ingredients to success in retirement planning
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