Voices

Costs of growing old in S’pore daunting

From

Chang May Lian

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Published: 4:02 AM, July 31, 2013

Do our senior citizens work because they want to or because they have to? Those who have enough savings for retirement choose to retire, or work for leisure. Those who live from hand-to-mouth continue to work because there are bills to be paid and mouths to feed.

I fall into the latter group — I am from the working middle class, I started my family late, I have elderly parents to support and a 30-year Housing and Development Board loan to pay.

I worry about my children and their future. I worry about my health and the rising medical costs and whether my income can keep up.

My employability has a shelf life of another 10 years at best. When I get older, can I still find a job, with the increasing automation of labour and cheaper foreign labour? By one’s 50th birthday, if you lose your job, it will be hard to find a job of equal pay.

Yes, I will grow old here as I have no other home, but what does growing old in Singapore mean for me? Can I enjoy quality of life? It remains to be seen.