Ah, retirement — that one word that draws simultaneous sighs of content and dread amongst the best of us.
Retirement is hard to talk about; in Singapore and many Asian countries, money is still a taboo topic to bring up in everyday conversations. You’d be hard pressed to find someone willing to discuss their financial plans openly with family, much less with friends and acquaintances.
With my friends, we often joke about how our youth is running out, and how we’re growing older by the day — and we’re only in our 20s. But the scary truth is that our jokes do have an undercurrent of truth to them; savings don’t come overnight, and yet, it can often be hard to resist that plane ticket when the novelty of earning a couple thousand dollars a month has not run out.
To make matters worse, many of us still hold beliefs about retirement that probably should have been left behind years ago. This applies not just to our parents’ generations, but also to the arguably more highly-educated youths of today. Beliefs such as “I’m still young!” or “Need to plan?” are not uncommon where retirement is concerned.
This video, though, which was released recently by the CPF Board, might be a sign that things are about to change for the better. In it, four mature individuals speak candidly with their family members on their thoughts regarding retirement. It’s heartening to see younger Singaporeans dishing out advice to their older relatives, especially when we’re so used to the reverse — you’d never expect that a video about retirement could be this sweet.
While brief, the conversations that each of the four pairs of family members have reveals the harsh truth: that many of us are severely underprepared when it comes to planning for our later years. With my own family members quickly approaching retirement age (no matter how much they would like to deny it), it’s an apt and crucial reminder to even youth like myself to start thinking about the big picture.
The fact is that there’s no such thing as too early when it comes to making retirement plans, and if this video is any indication, then broaching the subject is not only important, but insightful too. It’s as if the sappy SG50 videos were not enough to turn our hearts to jelly.
This article was produced in collaboration with the CPF Big R Chat, a campaign that aims to encourage more Singaporeans to begin discussing their retirement plans. It provides Singaporeans with essential tips on retirement, as well as issues they should consider if they haven’t done so as yet.