Are Singaporeans not doing enough to prepare for retirement?

Singapore citizens are increasingly becoming aware of the dangers of not saving for retirement as revealed by a BlackRock study.

Picture for representation
Office workers head for lunch at central business district in Singapore. Reuters

It seems like Singaporeans are increasingly becoming aware of the dangers of unprepared retirement if the latest BlackRock's Global Investor Pulse Survey is to be considered.

According to the study, 64 percent of Singaporeans fear running out of money in retirement, the highest proportion in Asia Pacific, with nearly nine out of 10 Singaporeans reckon they are responsible for their own retirement income.

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"It is promising to find that Singaporeans are acutely aware of the need to save for retirement and worry about not saving enough. This mindset is essential when seeking to reduce the retirement savings gap, which is caused partly by today's low-yield environment," BlackRock's Country Head of Singapore Kevin Hardy said in a statement.

However, this concern has not yet to spark any concrete action amongst these Singaporeans, as only 68 percent have started saving despite the fact they save an average 15 percent of monthly income, the highest rate worldwide.

More so, some 84 percent are saving beyond the mandatory requirement of the Central Provident Fund (CPF), or in other forms of savings plan.

The study noted that their investment leans heavily on cash, higher than in other parts of the region but lower than the rest of the world. This means they may not be able to achieve enough income from their existing portfolios.

Meanwhile, the survey noted that millennials in Singapore demonstrate high-awareness on the need to save for retirement, with around two-thirds already commenced saving.

Looking at how technology plays in this, the study revealed that 64 percent of Singaporeans are willing to buy an investment online. Of this group, around 46% said they would like to obtain professional advice before doing such transactions.

"Technology provides ease of access to information and can be a useful tool in enhancing financial knowledge – but the human component should not be ignored. Ability to harness the potential value of both technology and face-to-face financial advice will generate greater confidence in long-term investing, as Singaporeans build their desired retirement income," Hardy added.

He added that the key is for them to become smarter investors who need to periodically track and evaluate their progress against targeted savings goals.

"We find income-related products such as dividend-growing equities or high-quality debt to be popular among Singaporean investors. This can be a great means of delivering higher income than cash within diversified portfolios, without sacrificing asset growth," he added.