3 December 2018

Over Half of Women Here Fear They Can’t Afford Food

Despite living longer than their male partners and being increasingly more financially independent, Singapore women are underrepresented in financial planning at home, with men making most key money decisions, placing them in a vulnerable position as they age.

** 60% of working-age women here worry they won’t be able to afford basic necessities in retirement
** 41% don’t know how much they are saving for later life or haven’t started saving
** 21% of women in relationships pitch their financial knowledge as higher than their partners

Although more women in Singapore are getting an education and entering the workforce1, more than half (60% vs 51% - global) of working-age women here fear they will not be able to afford basics such as food and daily essentials during their retirement. At the root of these concerns is that women here are less likely to be saving for their future, a new global report from HSBC reveals.

HSBC’s The Future of Retirement: Bridging the Gap report is the 15th in the series and represents the views of 17,405 people in 16 countries and territories. The Singapore report represents the views of 1,018 people here. The findings in the Women in RetirementSingapore Factsheet are part of this research.

The study finds that although women tend to live longer than men2, they are far less prepared financially for their later years. In particular:

  • 74% of Singapore working-age women are worried about being unable to pay for their own care or medical bills in retirement, compared to 60% of their global peers.
  • More than half (54%) believe they will struggle to cope financially if their partner dies, compared to 47% of their global peers.
  • 41% of Singapore’s working-age women (vs 46% - global) either do not know how much they are putting aside for retirement or have not started making any contributions at all. This is in stark contrast to Singapore men, of whom just 31% (vs 37% - global) are in the same position.
  • Slightly over a third (34% vs 29% - global) of women in Singapore believe they are saving more than their partner.
  • While only one in five (21% vs 27% - global) women pitch their financial knowledge as higher than their male partners.

Mr Carlos Vazquez, CEO, HSBC Insurance (Singapore) said: “With greater income potential than ever before, Singapore women should feel more financially secure than their global peers. Yet, many still worry about their retirement or feel they lack the knowledge to adequately manage their own finances. What this tells us is that more needs to be done to help Singapore women better prepare for their retirement. Key to it – equipping them with the financial know-how which will give them the confidence to take a more active role in investing for their future.”

He added: “There are some easy things every woman can do today to get better informed, take greater control and make a positive, concrete step towards a more worry-free retirement. For example, use free online financial calculators or seek professional financial advice to help you plan and cost out your retirement plans. This will help you decide on the right approach.”

Leveraging easy to understand financial products and solutions for retirement

Gender aside, most novice investors find it daunting to navigate various asset classes ranging from equities to fixed income products to manage their wealth or plan for retirement. The good news is there are now a wide range of financial products and solutions structured with them in mind. A good starting point would be to look at various financial products geared at wealth or retirement planning purposes.

Mr Deepak Khanna, Head of Wealth Development, HSBC Bank (Singapore) added: “With better healthcare and longer life expectancy, for many, retirement planning will need to consist of over 30 years of living and medical expenses. With proper and early planning, retirement can be a long and fulfilling part of a person’s life. However, we need to recognise that our needs at 65 can be very different from our needs at 75 or 85, with very different financial implications.”

He added: “We know it can be hard to make ends meet today and also save for tomorrow. But recognising the costs of ageing, and making plans for them sooner rather than later, is the first step towards a rewarding retirement.”

HSBC Insurance Singapore has been leveraging findings from our global research to build out its product suite with the aim to plug retirement gaps.

Recent launches include:

HSBC Insurance Online: A fully digital platform that offers simple and value for money term-based life insurance products as well as a wide range of financial calculators where individuals can kick-start their wealth / retirement planning.

HSBC Savings Protector: An endowment savings plan offering higher than market minimum protection cover, guaranteed capital and the flexibility to enjoy higher returns and yield at maturity. Given it has a specific maturity time-frame as well as an element of investment via its non-guaranteed returns component as well as protection, this product will not only protect customers’ savings but provide flexibility to potentially earn higher returns.

HSBC Goal Protector: A new investment-linked insurance plan that offers one of the highest protection covers in the market with a simplified and transparent fees structure. It also features bonus payouts and a choice to invest in a globally diversified portfolio across asset classes, geographies and currencies, all within the convenience of one single portfolio via HSBC Insurance World Selection Funds. In addition to the World Selection funds, a wide range of funds choices including Bond Funds, Low Cost Equity Funds, Single Country Funds, and Balanced Funds are available to meet customers’ risk appetites. More importantly, these funds provide opportunities to construct portfolios that better suit their needs and preferences with fund management charge of as low as 0.4% per annum. With unlimited free fund switching, customers can customise or rebalance their portfolios to suit their risk profile, life-stage needs and investment objectives as it evolves.

To find out more, visit any HSBC Bank branches today.

Top tips for a better retirement

Reframe how you think about retirement:
It’s easy to put off planning your retirement so reframing how you view it is important. Think of it as a chance to pursue your passions and have new adventures. Make sure you make the most of it by planning ahead.

Visualise the retirement you want:
Think about the kind of retirement you want. Do you want to go travelling, move home, take up a new hobby or even start a new business? Having a broad idea of how you’d like your life in retirement to look, will allow you to plan for it more effectively.

Ask the experts:
Nobody expects you to be an expert in saving and investments so use free online advice or seek professional financial advice to help you plan and cost out your retirement plans. This will help you decide on the right approach. Don’t be afraid to ask questions – get clarity before making decisions.

From managing to planning:
Managing your finances is not enough – you need to plan where you can save money and how much. Use the online tool such as savings calculators and budgeting apps to help to identify the changes you can make today that will cut costs and then direct the savings to your future.

Start an honest conversation:
If you are anticipating support from your family or children during your retirement, start a conversation with them ahead of time. An upfront discussion on what kind of assistance might be needed and when, can help to manage expectations and ensure your retirement goes smoothly.

Download the Future of Retirement: Bridging the Gap - Women in Retirement & Cost of Ageing – Singapore Factsheets

1 http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/manpower/growing-number-of-women-in-the-workforce

2 According to WHO, global life expectancy at birth in 2016 was 74.2 years for females and 69.8 years for males, ranging from 61.2 years in the WHO African Region to 77.5 years in the WHO European Region. Women live longer than men all around the world.

Note to editors:

About the Future of Retirement: Bridging the Gap
This is the 15th in the series and represents the views of 17,405 people in 16 countries and territories: Australia, Argentina, Canada, China, Malaysia, Mexico, Singapore, Taiwan, France, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Turkey, the UAE, the UK and the USA. Global figures are the average of all countries and territories surveyed unless stated otherwise. Since the Future of Retirement programme began in 2005, more than 194,000 people have been surveyed worldwide.

About HSBC Insurance Singapore
HSBC Insurance (Singapore) Pte. Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary of HSBC Insurance (Asia Pacific) Holdings Limited, which is ultimately owned by HSBC Holdings plc, the London-based holding company of the HSBC Group. HSBC Insurance (Singapore) is a Monetary Authority of Singapore’s (MAS) Tier-1 insurer, managing total assets of more than SGD8.1 billion with a 277% Capital Adequacy Ratio (CAR) as at 31 December 2017. It provides a wide range of solutions that cater to retirement, protection, education, legacy planning, and wealth accumulation needs. It also has a fully digital platform, HSBC Insurance Online, that offers simple and value for money term-based life insurance products online.

About HSBC Singapore
HSBC Group’s history in Singapore dates back to 1877 when its founding member, The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited, opened its first branch on the island. A qualifying full bank, HSBC in Singapore offers a comprehensive range of banking and financial services including retail banking and wealth management; commercial, investment and private banking; insurance; forfaiting and trustee services; securities and capital markets services. One of the earliest banks to establish in Singapore, HSBC today is a prominent player in Singapore's financial services sector serving the banking needs of multi-national corporations, home-grown businesses, private banking clients, institutional and retail customers. In May 2016, HSBC locally incorporated its retail banking and wealth management business in Singapore and established, HSBC Bank (Singapore) Limited. Till this day, HSBC's flagship office remains at the original Collyer Quay site where its first branch was set up. HSBC Singapore has a retail network of 11 branches (of which 9 are dedicated HSBC Premier Centre) and many locations across the island providing self-service terminals.

About The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited
The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited is the founding member of the HSBC Group, which serves our customers through four global businesses: Retail Banking and Wealth Management, Commercial Banking, Global Banking and Markets, and Global Private Banking. The Group serves customers worldwide from approximately 3,800 offices in 66 countries and territories in our geographical regions: Europe, Asia, North America, Latin America, and Middle East and North Africa. With assets of $2,603bn at 30 September 2018, HSBC is one of the world’s largest banking and financial services organisations.

Media enquiries to:

Betty Fong, HSBC Singapore
+65 6658 4103