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Malaysia: 42 percent senior citizens have zero savings

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
next suggested article: take note of these retirement issues

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0 Responses

  1. The problems of not saving for retirement are multi fold. From personal attitude and discipline, society judgements and lag to the wants of show off.
    At societal level, our education system with its lack of financial education, exerbate the situation. In reality of life, financial knowledge is very important. How many of us studying all those useless subjects in schools which are irrelevant in life?
    The younger a person is, the greater the ego to show off, from latest gadgets, cars and fashion. There are many write-ups about those who use the branded things are usually the wannabes rather than those who strive and work hard to be millionaires. Those who work hard usually have no time to think of these branded stuff. Those succeeded, will continue to strive for more instead of wasting their wealth away. The wannabes need the branded stuff to inflat their egos to show off to others that they have arrived but in most instances, struggling to pay off debts, many also do it for self-gratifications.
    I strongly believe that any Malaysian with average intelligence, will make it to at least owning in a condo and retire with enough cash if they work hard, save and invest wisely.

    1. extremely true Frederick. ‘those who work hard usually have no time to think of these branded stuff.’ Haha… very real life. As well as ‘struggling to pay debts’ Yes, actually at least one condo…. it’s already one type of forced savings…. when you have to pay for a condo, you wont have enough to buy too many of other useless ego inflating stuffs. Actually, the stuffs are only inflating own ego because when I see a fresh grad driving a Vios, I just smile… is that really that amazing? hahaha….

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Charles Tan The Founder The Writer Kopiandproperty
Charles Tan

Charles is Founder of He writes from his investment experience for the the past 20 years in investments including property, stock, unit trust and more as well as readings and conversations with many property gurus in the industry. is an independent property blog which is not affiliated to any media company, property developer or even real estate agencies.


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