Proud to still be working at 77? It largely depends on ‘why’

Seeing an Facebook status about a 77-year-old Singaporean man, still healthy and working a repetitive job for eight hours daily was rather interesting. But one does wonder if he is working for the money or to keep himself active and busy.

This is one of the reasons why it is important to invest in property and preferably own three properties by the time you retire.

A small unit of our own to stay in, a bigger one to sell and use the proceeds, and one located in a popular area for you to collect rental.

You could even sell all three and park the money in a bank in a fixed-deposit account to earn interest on a monthly basis.

These days instead of daily, weekly or monthly salaries, economists say we should look at “living wage” instead.

In other words, your salary should be enough for you to spend on something beneficial in your life like socialising, and not be just enough to cover the expenses for basic food and shelter.

This same principle should apply to the elderly as they have contributed positively to society.

It is important to understand that there is a real difference in doing a job you have an active interest in versus doing a repetitive job you don’t really like.

Wouldn’t you hate it if your parents had to continue doing a repetitive job daily when they should be doing what they like to do?

This is why it is important for all stakeholders, including the government to ensure that the elderly have a good quality of life after they retire.

This is also why it’s important for everyone to have the financial awareness that savings alone is no longer enough to ensure a good quality of life.

In fact, whether it’s the Employees’ Provident Fun in Malaysia or the Central Provident Fund Board in Singapore, it will not be enough to sustain your lifestyle once you stop working – the main reason being that people today are living longer lives.

By 2040, Singaporeans will be living to over the age of 85. In 1999, the life expectancy rate was just 77.6 years. Malaysians’ median life expectancy is 74 years for men and 78 for women.

If a man retires at 56, he needs to have enough money to last another 18 years (216 months) and women, another 22 years (264 months).

Even if you require just RM3,000 per month, that’s an extra RM650,000 for men and RM800,000 for women.

Of course, you can reduce certain expenses as a couple. Therefore, you should stop just thinking about this and start doing something about it as regretting when retirement arrives may be too late.

Investing on a monthly basis helps too.

This article first appeared in

Charles Tan blogs at property investment site kopiandproperty. He dislikes property speculators and disagrees that renting is better than buying. He thinks it’s either property or poverty. He is presently the CEO of an auction house auctioning assets beyond just properties.