Pinoy workers face bleak retirement


Filipino workers face a bleaker future when they retire compared to their counterparts in other Asian nations not only because Filipinos are the least literate financially but because they did not save enough for their retirement.

A retirement survey held in 10 countries in Asia showed that only two-thirds of today’s Filipino workers expect to receive pension benefit when they retire.

The East Asia Retirement Survey (Wave 2) published by Richard Jackson and Tobias Peter, president and research associate of the Global Aging Institute, revealed that retirement insecurity is growing in the Philippines even if almost all retirees can depend on family support.

The survey showed that the retirement prospects in most Asean countries are bright except in the Philippines.

Although 68 percent of workers expect to receive benefits from the Social Security System or the Government Service Insurance System when they retire, one-third of today’s workers expect to get no retirement benefits of any kind.

A paltry eight percent expect income from insurance or annuity products or mutual funds when in retirement.

Also, the survey revealed that Filipinos are anxious about their retirement security.

The main concerns of workers are being poor in retirement, exhausting their savings, being poor in health and having no one to care for them and being a burden to their children.

Yet, despite these fears, Filipino workers are not taking steps to secure their future, the pollster said.

“Among those who expect to receive a state pension benefit, 87 percent worry that the government will reduce it, a larger share than in any other country surveyed. One would hope that the high level of anxiety expressed by today’s workers about their future retirement security would spur them to take steps to improve it. Yet just 12 percent report that they are saving more for retirement now than they were three years ago, fewer than in any other country surveyed,” it added.

The other countries surveyed were China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.

The level of support retirees can expect to get from their families is also waning.

The survey conducted in 2014 revealed that only one out of 10 Filipinos believes that the family should be responsible for providing income to retired people.

Although a great majority of workers expect to live with their grown children when they retire, the traditional concept that the family should take care of a retiree is weakening.

When asked who should give support to retirees, 66 percent of those polled said it should be the government, the highest among all the countries polled.

Despite their not-so rosy retirement prospects, Filipinos remain optimistic about the future, with 55 percent believing that each new generation of workers will have a higher living standard than the previous one.

They also agree that each new generation of retirees will have a more secure future.

“Although this optimism may be understandable in a demographically youthful nation that is beginning to take off economically, it could become an obstacle to needed reforms,” the pollster said.

“Filipinos are right to be anxious about their retirement prospects, and without significant reforms the reason for concern will grow. But their high level of support for a savings mandate, together with their positive attitudes give reason to hope that the low level of retirement preparedness in the Philippines may over time improve,” it added.


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