Should our parents continue working after 60?

This article is aimed at people who has forgotten to look after their parents because they are too busy working or said it’s just too expensive to look after their parents. Sorry guys. You have gotten your priorities wrong no matter how successful you may be today.

I was at a supermarket called Fair Price in Singapore yesterday evening. When I was paying for my stuffs, I could not help but noticed that the three cashiers on duty were all elderly people. Still looking very fit but definitely over 60. Perhaps these elderly person are working because they just want to fill up their time. Perhaps the mandatory retirement was not yet reached; 65 years old. Perhaps it is for some extra pocket money. Perhaps they did not want to waste time chit-chatting while drinking kopi-O. No matter what the real reason or how valid they may be, I would never allow my parents who are both over 60 years old to work unless they insist on it with valid reasons. Yes, you can say that I am a ‘dictator’ where this is concerned.

The typical activity for my parents, daily would be for a breakfast at a nearby café in Ipoh. They walk there. After that, maybe a trip to the market with my aunty. My mother would then cook a simple lunch while my father watches television or reads newspaper in the wet kitchen. They communicate a lot and talk about every topic under the sky including their children which includes me and these days, perhaps a lot more about their grand-daughter. That’s my baby girl. After lunch, both would watch television together. Their favourite? World news or Taiwanese serials which never ends even after hundreds of episodes! In the evening, my mum would cook a simple dinner and then they would join my aunty for a stroll at one of the few hypermarkets around. They would buy groceries or fish for my brother, my sister and me if we are going home during the weekends. Her total normal expenditure per month is easily covered by the pension and she still saves monthly.

Personally, we should do things we love when we retire. It needs not be something fancy like travelling the world every week but I think a life like my parent’s is much better than 8 hours of standing at the cashier counter, working. To me, it is not the right way to pass time. Their children should take care of their parents and if possible, stay with them. My parents have cared for me from the time when I was a baby and even today my mum cooks my favourite dishes everytime I am home. Please do not say that if these elderly person can still contribute, they are ‘allowed’ to. If the contribution is in the form of mentoring and coaching the younger generation, sure! However, standing 8 hours per day at the cashier counter or even some working in food courts? They have contributed 75% of their life when they retire. How much longer do you want them to continue to contribute?

written on 23 July 2014

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4 thoughts on “Should our parents continue working after 60?

  1. In Singapore airport, there are even more elderly working as janitors and toilet attendants. This is the other side of prospering Singapore. Many just couldn’t afford to retire comfortably. In Malaysia it is also the same I guess. But there are still a lot of fit labour supply for cashier, cleaner or other manual works.

    • Many of the older generation in Singapore sold off their flats when it went up double the price. However, after selling it, they found out that they could no longer buy a new unit and are forced to rent. Meanwhile, rental has also more than doubled compared to just over 5 years ago.

  2. Some elderly don’t have kids and they are poor. So need to continue working. However, my rich relatives still working because he said that once stop, means feel like waiting to step into another world already. At least working will keep their brain and body fresh.

    • I have no objection if you are doing what you love. Lecturer continuing to mentor students. Farmer continuing to tend to their farms. However, I do not think jobs as janitors, cleaners or cashiers are dream jobs for those over 60. I think financial planning is extremely important for everyone.

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