Prepare today, tomorrow is too late

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A survey from the Chinese University of Hong Kong Jockey Club Institute of Ageing showed that the elderly population of Hong Kong ranks in the bottom three of the world for poverty. Out of 97 countries, Hong Kong was ranked 60th for income security, 95th on poverty and 91st on welfare. Yet, in terms of gross domestic product (GDP) per capita, Hong Kong was ranked second. Second richest on per capita GDP but 3rd worst for poverty. I could not find a similar survey for Malaysia but I do not think anyone wants to be in the statistics whenever it concerns poverty.

This is not something out of the ordinary. The reason is simple, when the economy grows, it would inevitably leave some of the poorer population behind. In this case, the older population suffers the most. This refers to the older population of today, for which education may not have been accessible then. Of course, it’s easy to ask why their children were not taking care of them but truth is, everyone has their own financial issues. This brings us back to the question of, who should be responsible to ensure these older population who has given so much to the nation a better life. I think the first answer should be the government. For this, there are lots of NGOs who can continue to give pressure to the government. The second answer is us. Yes, you and me. We better be prepared too and not just think everything should be okay.

According to the study, one major reason why the elderly faced such a situation is because their education level is lower. This meant that even when they had a job, their income is relatively lower too. In Malaysia today, generally, a fresh graduate may earn salaries of above RM2,000 which majority said is too low. Well, someone without qualification may only be earning RM800 or lower per month. Most of the time, the position is rather stagnant and when this has gone on for some time, the savings is just not enough. Does it mean however the higher the salary, the less likely that the person would retire in poverty?

To be honest, even if someone were to earn RM10,000 today, it may still not be enough buy the time they retire IF their expenditures also rose in tandem with their salary. To force everyone not to spend is futile. No one would listen. However, what about getting a property? An affordable one, within one’s budget? Surely this should be something which is possible. Everyone should be encouraged to own a property because it should have been fully repaid by the time we retire. By then, when money is needed, the property can be sold off. Yes, it might just be the usual RM350,000 secondary property today but it would easily be RM600,000 – RM700,000 30 years later. By then, sell it. It would be enough to cover majority of the usual living expenses. Be real, the one who should be well prepared should be us. Any other extras, from our children, from the government, from the NGOs would be a great plus. Wishing everyone a comfortable retirement in future.

written on 19 July 2015

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