4 Reasons Why People Underestimate Their Retirement Savings Need

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DBS survey of 800 people in 2014 showed that:

  • 73 per cent of the people polled plan to retire between 55 and 65, with an average savings of $571,715.
  • At the same time, more than 85 per cent of those polled expect to live on a retirement income of $3,500 per month for the next 15 to 20 years and more.
  • However, there is a big gap between both sets of numbers as the average retirement savings amount would only last 13 years and not 15 to 20 years.

These statistics are worrying but fret not! The rest of this article explains the 4 reasons people underestimate how much retirement savings they need, which will give you greater clarity in planning for your future.

1. Length of retirement

Two things determine our length of retirement – life expectancy and retirement age. According to Department of Statistics Singapore, our life expectancy is 83 years. This means that if you desire to retire by age 60, your savings will need to last for 23 years. This is a huge 10 years difference with DBS’s survey findings!

However, when you actually retire might vary as many people choose to work part-time even after they stop full employment. For instance, many retirees become private tutors or piano teachers, or work part-time in their professions as consultants.

2. Not adjusting for inflation

It is important to note that the final sum you will actually need depends on when you will retire and the actual figure you will need to save because of inflation. Let’s say you desire to retire 30 years from now and will need to spend $3,500 monthly in today’s dollars, assuming an average inflation rate of 3%, your monthly expenses will grow to $8,500 in 30 years’ time.

On the other hand, if you’re planning to retire tomorrow, you won’t need that much as expenses today are definitely much less than they’ll be in a few decades’ time.

3. Overestimating investment returns

Some people belong to the group of more aggressive investors. Being human, they may tend to have optimism bias in terms of investing. Since your stocks have been performing well on the market over the past few years, you start to expect to enjoy a steady 5% return per year for the rest of your life. And everyone just assumes that property values will accrue over time, never mind that there’s a downtrend in the property market now.

When estimating your investment returns, it is best to project modest gains or you would risk getting a rude shock when you investments do not perform as well as expected and you have to delay your retirement plans.

4. Not accounting realistically for discretionary expenses

We may be able to survive on a few hundred dollars a month by eating bread and drinking water every day. But I’m sure nobody would think of living life like that when calculating how much we need to retire. Other than healthcare expenses and insurances, you might also want to spend on things like travel, stuff for your kids or grandchildren, your hobbies or simply the finer things in life. As much as you want to retire as early as possible, you have to be realistic about your spending.

4 Life Insurance Myths Debunked

Life-Insurance

Do you have a contingency plan that can protect your family just in case something bad happens to you? Assuming you are the main income earner in your family, it will be difficult for your loved ones to pay for school, food and other amenities in the event you pass away. Let’s be honest, it’s a rather scary thought. If you don’t have life insurance ready, you could be leaving your family in serious financial distress. Having life insurance can help support your loved ones.

However, if you’re not familiar with life insurance policies, it can be difficult to distinguish what is true about life insurance and what is a myth. To help clear up confusion, here are some common myths about life insurance.

Life insurance is too expensive

To the uninformed, life insurance can seem costly, but this is one myth that can be debunked. The cost of a life insurance policy varies, as it depends on several factors such as your entry age and medical history. Life insurance costs less than what most people think. Depending on your situation, you can tailor your insurance and lessen your costs drastically. Keep in mind that insurance is cheaper when you’re young, as you get older, premium prices become higher.

If your employer provides coverage, it’s enough

While many companies do provide employees with life and health insurance, this benefit only lasts as long as you are still employed under that company. While you’ll be covered, this coverage is only temporary and the benefit that is put into your insurance policy isn’t much. Furthermore, the policyholder in this case is your employer which means they reserve the right to amend the terms of coverage with their chosen insurer. This leaves you with uncertain coverage.

It’s advisable to separately apply for your personal life insurance plan to ensure that your family will be able to receive additional funding long after you are no longer able to provide for them. Additionally, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that your loved ones have a reliable means of obtaining funds in the future.

Life insurance is only for those who have children

If you’re not married and don’t have any children, it’s still important to seriously consider getting life insurance. Keep in mind that you still have dependents—your parents or siblings, for example, could from life insurance, as it can still cover other costs such as funeral expenses, unpaid bills and debts. If you were to unexpectedly pass away without a life insurance plan, your loved ones will be left to pay for these costs. So, even if you’re single, do consider obtaining life insurance as early as possible.

My health condition can exclude me from getting life insurance

Even if you have health conditions you can still have life insurance, although you may need to purchase a policy with lower coverage limits. Essentially, life insurance isn’t restricted to people of a certain age, health or even salary. You can always adjust your policy based on all these factors. There are plenty of insurance options that can suit your needs and budget.

These are just some of the many myths about life insurance which can make it difficult for people to fully understand and appreciate it. This often leads to confusion for some people on whether they need insurance or not. While the idea of having life insurance seems intimidating, doing so will bring plenty of benefits for your loved ones.