2 in 3 Singaporean retirees regret not planning earlier for retirement - Manulife study

| 17 Mar 2021

Infographics by Manulife

Manulife Singapore published results from a retirement study, revealing that only 1 in 4 Singaporeans have invested in a retirement plan, alluding to an average savings gap of S$677,000. The survey on Singaporeans' retirement saving priorities and attitude has revealed 72% of retired respondents regret not saving for retirement sooner and almost half of them wish they had invested in a retirement plan.

The survey polled 1,000 Singaporeans aged 21 to over 60, across a spectrum of working adults, pre-retirees and retirees, the study found that 2 in 3 retirees regret not planning for retirement earlier, with 1 in 4 having adopted lifestyle changes to spend S$1,500 less every month. 

Infographics by Manulife

Key findings include:

  • Only 38% of pre-retirees (aged between 40 to 59) believe they have enough to retire comfortably, with;
  • 2 in 3 pre-retirees expecting to continue working post-retirement
  • Conversely, younger Singaporeans feel more positively about their golden years, with many having started planning at age 33, though;
  • In spite of this, 1 in 4 still have not begun considering when they would retire

Retirees' retirement regrets

Most retirees regret not saving earlier and not saving up more. Retiring around the average age of 59, 1 in 5 respondents find themselves dissatisfied with their retirement savings. The survey showed that the average retirement savings among retired respondents is SGD599,000.  2 in 3 retirees wish they had started planning financially for retirement at least eight years prior to when they began taking active steps, at around age 39.

Today, 1 in 3 retirees continue to work post-retirement to increase their savings, and 1 in 2 indicated the need to supplement their Central Provident Fund (CPF) savings with other sources of income. Based on their current savings, 1 in 4 retirees are not confident in living out the rest of their retirement in comfort. 

Retirement confidence at an all-time low

Infographics by Manulife

While the ideal age for retirement was identified as 57 years old, pre-retirees inching towards their dream retirement age are not confident in their prospects. 

The current average retirement savings among pre-retirees is SGD423,000. When asked about the ideal savings needed to retire comfortably, most respondents indicated SGD1.1million, revealing an average retirement savings gap of SGD677,000.

Close to 1 in 2 respondents aged 40 to 59 said they wish they had started financial planning much earlier, with only 38% in this bracket believing they have enough to retire comfortably. Reasons for having a later-than-desired start to saving include the high cost of living in Singapore (65%), insufficient income (49%) and unexpected expenses and expenditure (44%). 

With a current savings gap of over 60%, 37% of respondents believe that their standard of living will face an inevitable decline post-retirement. Almost 2 in 3 Singaporeans expect to continue working in retirement, though many are still hopeful about pursuing leisure activities in due time. Amongst the top anticipated pursuits for life in jubilee are spending more time with family and friends (58%), picking up a hobby and fulfilling a passion (49%), and volunteering (42%). 

Silver lining

2 in 3 younger Singaporeans are already considering their financial security for the future. Many started planning for retirement at age 33, six years prior to the average retirement planning age of their predecessors, and approximately 80% of their savings today go towards that goal. Other reasons that respondents are saving for include holidays (43%), property (35%), family (20%) and electronics (18%).

Investments are also high on the list of priorities amongst respondents, with many supplementing their CPF savings through standard saving accounts (77%), stocks, shares and funds (49%), insurance savings plan (45%), fixed deposits (45%) and endowments (29%).

Despite the positive growing momentum in retirement planning, inertia continues to stand in the gap between knowledge and action. A worrying 1 in 4 of Singaporeans have not considered when they would retire, identical to the number of respondents who cited that they have not started planning at all. 

Dr Khoo Kah Siang, CEO of Manulife Singapore said, "No matter what life stage you are at, it is never too late to start planning for your retirement. We all want to have a good quality of life in our golden years with the freedom and flexibility to spend on priorities and safeguard against unpredictabilities." 

"The uptick in retirement planning literacy as revealed by our study is heartening, but more still needs to be done to help current and future generations better grasp the cost of their desired retirement, and the corresponding steps that they will need to take to secure that lifestyle," he added. 


More studies around the region:

Asia takes more control of health and retirement amid Covid-19 - Manulife survey

Singapore: Nearly 1 in 2 high net worth women don't feel financially secure - Prudential study

Hong Kong: Study shows insurance agents and advisers in Asia optimistic

Over 80% of Critical Illness patients (and their Caregivers) regret not buying more insurance coverage- Great Eastern consumer survey


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