The reason why Singaporeans aren’t saving for retirement might be because they don’t feel old, HSBC says

Over two-thirds of Singaporeans predict they will continue working after hitting the retirement age, while 34 per cent said they hoped to start a business.
The Straits Times
  • A HSBC report on retirement found that 60 per cent of people in Singapore did not see themselves as old, while 35 per cent felt younger than their actual age.

  • The bank is suggesting this could be a reason why people here lack the habit of saving for retirement.

  • Only one-quarter of all working-age Singaporeans are currently saving for retirement.

  • To fund their retirement, most plan to continue working, start a business, or seek government support.

Are you young at heart?

According to a new report by HSBC, the reason behind Singaporeans’ reluctance to save for retirement could be how they feel about their age.

The bank’s Future of Retirement 2018 report surveyed over 17,000 working-age people across 16 countries – including 1,018 participants from Singapore – on how they planned to fund their retirement.

Researchers found that about 60 per cent of participants from Singapore did not see themselves as old, while 35 per cent said they felt “younger than their actual age”.

HSBC suggested this could be the reason behind people’s low retirement savings – with just one quarter of all working-age Singaporeans currently saving for retirement.

Instead, people preferred to spend money to enjoy life in the present (25 per cent of respondents) or save for short-term goals (32 per cent). Nearly 40 per cent admitted they were living on a “day-to-day basis” financially.


It’s also possible that people might not be saving up for retirement as much because they expect to be semi-retired – not fully retired – for the majority of their retirement.

A majority of respondents expected to be “busy” and “independent” for most of their retirement, with 65 per cent of respondents predicting that they would continue working “to some extent”, and 34 per cent saying they planned to start business ventures.

Nearly two-thirds of respondents said they expected a comfortable retirement – mostly paid for by themselves, HSBC said.

However, the latest stages of retirement are often the costliest, because people start to need assistance with daily tasks, the report added.

To fund this stage of retirement, respondents’ top plans were to return to work, rent out a spare room, or seek government support.


Apart from their own means, 54 per cent of respondents also expected their children to support them during retirement – but researchers found that only 36 per cent of retirees were getting financial support from their children.

Furthermore, 11 per cent of retirees were still paying the mortgage on their homes.

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