Aiya, it’s still so long till I retire.
That might be the thought that goes through your head. But, retirement actually requires long-term planning and it won’t happen in a mere few years.
It’s wise to start your retirement plans early and consider all the factors affecting those plans. For example, what sort of lifestyle do you want to lead? When do you want to retire, and for how long? What are your retirement needs?
The answers to these questions will help you estimate the amount you have to save to meet those goals. In this article, we’ll help you calculate your retirement needs and how to save wisely.
Essential Factors That Affect Your Retirement
While Singaporeans will have their own CPF retirement account, it may not be enough to fulfil our lifestyle and counter inflation.
We already delved into some issues that affect your retirement. In this section, you can read a more detailed explanation of these factors so that you can adjust your retirement goals accordingly.
Your Ideal Retirement Lifestyle
What’s your dream retirement? Do you have an idea of your retirement needs?
– Do you want to travel for the better part of the year?
– Do you want to move to Australia and spend your golden years on the beach?
– Do you want to keep living at home and take care of your grandkids?
– Do you want to become a children’s book illustrator or finally start running marathons?
Here are the issues that will affect your dream retirement:
|Main Factor||Questions To Ask Yourself|
|Home||- Where will you live?
- Is that accommodation paid for?
- What maintenance costs are there?
|Health||- What chronic illnesses do you have?
- Do you have any specific medical needs in the long run?
|Hobbies||- What are your hobbies?
- Can you monetise those hobbies?
– You want to renovate your home to fit your needs. You’ll need around $50,000 to $100,000.
– You have high blood pressure, but your condition is under control with the proper medication. This might in turn bring you medical bills.
– Your hobbies are playing the piano and cooking. You can consider teaching music in Singapore or open your own cosy restaurant.
Inflation has a sneaky way of ruining your plans whenever you feel like nothing can stop you.
The most challenging thing about considering inflation in your retirement plans is that nobody knows exactly how much inflation will rise. Expert financial analysts can predict inflation rates for the next year or two, but even those predictions aren’t exact.
Remember the COVID-19 pandemic?
That’s right; that messed with everyone’s predictions.
The best solution to account for inflation is to:
– Save some of your money in a stable currency or asset, such as gold
– Invest some of your money in something that yields a high profit and doesn’t devalue. Shophouses are good examples if you have the funds.
– Think of steady long-term investments for your retirement needs and planning.
Speaking about investments, consider what strategy you want to adopt according to your risk appetence. For example, everyone knows that high-profit investments are hazardous.
– So is it better for you to invest a lot of money in the US stock market?
– Are Singaporean ETFs a better bet?
– Or maybe stick to government bonds.
– What about robo advisors? They are getting popular in Singapore.
These are probably the thoughts running through your head now. And sure, investments aren’t a light matter.
Here’s what you have to do:
Set a precise goal: I want to invest $10,000/ year and obtain a 4% profit each year. Now that you have this exact goal to work for, you can select the best tools for the job.
So instead of thinking about the tools first – aka the investment opportunities – start working from your goal.
Pro tip: Invest more money in your CPF account for better interest rates of up to 5%.
How Far Your Retirement Is & When Do You Want To Stop Working?
The statutory retirement age is 65 now in Singapore. So, if you’re 35, you have 30 more years to go.
Here’s another thing: You may not want to retire at 65.
You may want to double your passive income within ten years and retire at 42. Conversely, you may have a health issue that’s affecting your quality of life. In this case, your doctors can estimate that you’ll be forced to retire at 50.
Or you may love your job so much that you want to keep on working as much as possible.
This factor seems somewhat bleak; who wants to consider their life expectancy and really calculate the years they have left to live?
But remember, you want to make a sound plan. If you don’t think of this matter now, you won’t enjoy the lifestyle you want after retirement. So, consider the average life expectancy in Singapore:
Men: 80 years old
Women: 85 years old
Also, consider your chronic health issues. Do these affect your life expectancy? Is there anything you can do to alleviate those medical problems? Will you face financial issues regarding your health?
After answering these questions, you’re probably looking at 20-30 years of retirement.
How Much Do You Need For Retirement?
At this point, you can start calculating how much you need to live the high life when you retire.
The rule of thumb is you’ll need at least two-thirds of your salary during retirement if you continue to live in Singapore without changing your lifestyle at 180ᵒ.
Here’s how to calculate your retirement income needs:
Income Replacement Ratio Method
According to this method, you’ll only need 66-75% of your current income during retirement. Here’s an example:
– Your current income is $50,000/ year.
– You want to retire at 65. That gives you 20-25 years in retirement.
– Annual retirement income: at least 66% x $50,000 = $33,000
– Total retirement income: $660,000 – $825,000
Adjusted Expense Method
The adjusted expense method is arguably more exact because it takes into account your retirement expenses. Those will be very different from your current ones, so you have to write them down meticulously and try to plan for everything.
For example, you currently need a car, which has you spending about $3,000/year for gas plus about $600 for servicing appointments, not to mention road taxes.
That amounts to $300/month.
However, you may decide you won’t want a car when you retire.
You also won’t pay for your kids’ tuitions anymore, you won’t buy so many suits, and you’ll spend less on eating out.
Conversely, you’ll want to spend more time travelling.
Let’s say you did the math, noticing you need about $1,000/year for basic living costs. You also want to travel without sparing any expenses. One month in Europe costs at least $12,000 if you don’t want to go full-economy, but neither full-luxury.
– You’ll need $24,000/year.
– You can look forward to 20-25 years of retirement.
– Total retirement needed: $480,000 – $600,000.
Pro tip: Take inflation into account as much as possible when making these calculations.
How To Save For Retirement In Singapore
Regardless of the method, you’re using to calculate your retirement needs, you may have noticed you need a lot of money. As such, it’s always best to start building your retirement nest egg early.
Here’s how to do that:
CPF savings are practical solutions for retirement because they virtually have no risk and come with some of the most attractive rates on the market.
When you turn 55, your CPF’s interest can reach 5%/year. Plus, you can get a 1% extra interest on the first $30,000 you’ve saved.
Supplementary Retirement Scheme
The SRS is a private pension fund that allows you to increase your retirement savings. You’re not obligated to contribute to this scheme, but it’s worth it because of its massive tax reliefs:
– You get a $1 deduction on your taxable income for each $1 you contribute
– The profit is tax-free
– You’ll pay tax only when you withdraw from your SRS account. You’ll pay for only half the sum if you wait until retirement to withdraw money
Monetise Your Property And Skills
For example, did you know you can rent your HDB flat after a minimum occupation period? That way, you can gain a little extra income.
Here’s an example:
Let’s say you want to follow your dream of travelling and so you’ll be away at least for one month each year.
– You can rent your apartment entirely for that whole month and earn about $2,000. This solution is viable after you retire.
– Alternatively, you can rent a room in your apartment for at least $500/ month during the entire year.
If you don’t want to rent your apartment, you can rent out other valuable objects or things that you’ve kept:
– Your wedding gown or suit
– Tools and machinery
– Car or van
– Expensive jewellery or work of art
– Sound system
Wise investments will increase your retirement income but prepare for some risks.
Here’s a good strategy:
– You can consider a more incisive portfolio when you’re young, primarily based on stocks that yield higher returns.
– When you grow nearer to the age of retirement, consider a more conservative approach. Avoid investments that cause significant capital loss, and instead, focus on products that you can turn into cash quickly.
– After you retire, invest in products that generate a regular monthly income to cover your living expenses. Also, invest in products that provide higher growth to mitigate possible inflation and to keep your lifestyle at a high level.
Determining your retirement needs requires massive planning. You’ll have to consider your lifestyle, expected retirement age, and how many years you’ll spend in retirement.
If you are already facing financial issues and in debt, that makes your retirement planning even tougher. To clear your financial troubles, you can speak with us here.
To this end, you’ll have to start making wise investments and save as much money as possible.