Malaysia: 42 percent senior citizens have zero savings

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A sobering fact was reported in a local daily. 42 percent of senior citizens had zero savings. 85 percent of these said that the reason they never saved was because they did not have enough to save when they were young. Let’s take whatever they said at face value. Now, let’s look at the current generation of today. Well, majority are still saying that they do not have enough to save. Yet, what is amazing is that sales of iPhones and Samsung Edge are still amazingly high here in Malaysia. Perhaps these buyers are different. They happen to have lots of extra money, thus they were just using their extra money to buy these gadgets, at the EXPENSE of a good debt. Hmm…..

One in five Malaysians over 60 are also working and nearly 70 percent said they had to keep working to support themselves. 21 percent over retirement age are still working. I have to admit that I intend to work even past retirement age but it must be something I love. For example, becoming a full time editor to However, I hope that I am working because I love to work and not because I have to work past my retirement age. Yes, this puts me into the 11.6 percent who are working past retirement age because they wanted to keep themselves occupied.

What this tells us is that Malaysia is definitely not the only country where the ageing population will find it hard to cope after retirement age. Hong Kong faces the same problem. Read here:  Prepare today, tomorrow is too late  Singapore too. Read here: working beyond the age of 65?  The few major causes? Insufficient savings contributed also by the lower levels of education and thus lower levels of jobs paying lesser salaries. Last but not least, low financial literacy. Truth is, even if we have bought just one home which appreciates slowly in tandem with the inflation rate, by the time we retire, that home would give us enough money to live more comfortably, even if we have little EPF savings. Just look at Singapore’s HDB flats. Even with control from the government, prices still continue to rise and this gives the elderly something to defend against the rising cost of living.

Think and act. A friend just told me that she would keep her property so that when she could no longer work, she would sell the property for money to sustain her life. ‘What about your son?’ I asked. She said, ‘It’s best we plan for ourselves too. If they take care of me, that’s great. If they did not or could not, at least I could.’ I think she is right. Happy planning ahead.

written on 4 Aug 2015

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