Interesting commentary in the StraitsTimes about some possible reasons why Singaporeans are retiring later. The author is a Professor at the Singapore University of Social Sciences who heads the gerontology graduate programme there.
The 3 main reasons cited in her commentary are:
1. Changing attitudes of people towards retirement as life expectancy increases
Many in Asia are self-employed or have their own businesses, which means that the concept of retiring is quite different from those who hold a regular 9-to-5 employment.
2. Fear of not knowing what to do with their lives when they retire
Some wonder what they will do if they retire and this uncertainty drives them to delay their retirement. But for those who have already have a future envisaged, retirement is usually welcome.
3. Work defines their live or gives them meaning
Many tie their own identities to the work they do. Apart from work, they feel lost and aimless. Still others fear the loss of social interaction when they retire and thus cling on to work to define their lives.
Personally, the reason why various people retire later is not as interesting to me as what it means for each of us. This article, I feel, is another reminder for us to start planning for our retirement phase of life, which is going to come whether we choose it or the choice is imposed on us. Much better to start the thinking process now, than to face the future with uncertainty and fear or worse still, realize that we are completely not prepared for it.
One particularly interesting line in her article struck me:
Voluntary retirement with sufficient financial means is obviously the ideal situation.
And this further emphasizes the need to face up to the realities of life and start working towards having the ideal retirement lifestyle one desires. I’ve yet to meet someone who complains about starting his planning or saving too early.