Are the golden years a myth in Singapore? Good morning Mrs Tian and fellow classmates. As hair fades into grey and wrinkles become increasingly prominent, we transit into yet another phase of life —— old age. A time many perceive to be a prime to enjoy the fruits of our labour. Yet, expectations may not always translate into reality. In actual fact , we live in a world fraught with insurmountable challenges. Indeed, the new age has brought forward a new set of complications we were once stranger to. With all these in mind, has the perceived golden years evolved into a myth with the passage of time or is the future of retirement still one that embodies the pleasure once promised to us?That said, it is no exaggeration to say that the elderly in Singapore are beset with more challenges than ever. One pertinent challenge is the rising costs of living. In this fast-paced, ever changing and seemingly apathetic society, the phrase “Happy Retirement” almost seems like a mockery to all of us. According to the World Bank, majority of retirees in Singapore have their retirement savings completely spent halfway through retirement. Additionally, a survey by HSBC states that half of the elderly in Singapore feel financially insecure. Indeed, Singapore has been ranked one of the most expensive places to live in, and this reality is particularly hard-hitting for retirees especially so when they no longer have a stable source of income. While it is true that elderly do face problems when retiring in Singapore, one should not blow these challenges out of proportion. This is because much has been done in Singapore, to ensure that retirement is not a torturous process,but instead a joyous one. First of all, there is an ample supply of financial privileges and precautions made for retirees to ensure that they have sufficient funds to enjoy their retirement without fret. Financial advices are also given to retirees to educate them on how to manage their money. The majority of the retirees are advised to downgrade their property so as to have a greater cash flow, which is more essential than accumulating stagnant assets when one has retired. Furthermore, the government has progressively risen the retirement age from 65 to 67 so that retirees do not feel pressured by their employers or peers to retire too early, thus allowing them to accumulate a bit more savings from their income so they have a bigger nest-egg to retire comfortably with. Moreover, if retirees are worried about escalating medical bills, measures have been put in place to ensure that the bills will still be affordable for them. For example, the Ministry of Social and Family Development of Singapore has the ‘Eldercare Master Plan’ that offers free regular screenings for the elderly for early detection of illnesses. Early diagnosis will help to save medical expenses since illnesses at their early stages are more affordable to treat than those in later stages. In addition, the Central Provident Fund(CPF) of Singapore also has a compulsory savings for all workers with a monthly income of at least $800. Pioneers will also receive annual Medisave top-ups.These savings can be used by retirees for healthcare expenses. Besides,to honour and thank the Pioneer generation of our country for their dedication and contributions, the government has launched the Pioneer Generation Package which provides lifelong healthcare benefits for all pioneers.Thus, even if the elderly are beset with more illnesses with age, they need not worry that they cannot afford to give themselves quality treatment as there are plans in place to make healthcare accessible to them even after retirement. In conclusion, it is undeniable that the elderly in Singapore are faced with multiple challenges that prevent them from enjoying worry-free golden years. However, one should not outlook the safeguards put in place to allow the elderly in Singapore to have their needs taken care of be it economically, socially or emotionally. With adequate planning and good advice, I strongly believe that the ‘golden years’ can be achieved, even in a costly-to-live-in, busy and fast-paced place like Singapore. So are you ready to overcome the challenges as we approach the next chapters of our lives?

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