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Children still seen as ‘great investments’ for retirement in Singapore: Manulife survey

Khairani Afifi Noordin
Khairani Afifi Noordin • 2 min read
Children still seen as ‘great investments’ for retirement in Singapore: Manulife survey
The majority of those surveyed also see the responsibility of supporting dependent parents as a financial burden. Photo: Bloomberg
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Children are still predominantly seen as “great investments” for retirement among Singapore residents, according to the Manulife Asia Care Survey 2024.

The survey — which engaged 1,038 Singapore residents aged 25 to 60 — found that 60% of respondents intending to have children view them as “great investments”. 

Similarly, 60% of those who already have children share the same perception, suggesting a traditional financial expectation from family members. In contrast, only 45% of married couples without children share the same sentiment. 

The survey also found that the average desired number of children indicated by respondents is 1.5, with over half (57%) of married respondents without children expressing hesitation or uncertainty about starting a family.

Notably, while respondents expect financial support from their children, they see the responsibility of supporting dependent parents as a financial burden, with 55% of respondents expressing this sentiment.

This finding suggests that Singapore respondents are trapped in a cycle of financial obligations to parents and subsequently the financial dependency of their children. 

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Additionally, the expectation of financial support from elderly parents may result in additional financial strain on the younger generation, the study notes. 

The survey also revealed significant gaps in wellbeing goals and financial confidence among Singapore consumers, highlighting deep-rooted concerns over economic and healthcare uncertainties across all age groups.

This year's findings indicate a pronounced 14-point gap in the Manulife MyFuture Readiness Index, with the average well being score at 69 compared to a higher aspirational level of 83 over the next decade. 

See also: Remedying the symptoms of ‘money dysmorphia’

Despite having these future aspirations, fewer than two-thirds (61%) of Singapore respondents report confidence in achieving their top financial goals. Primary concerns driving this uncertainty include increasing healthcare costs, inflation and rising cost of living, each affecting 81% of the population, with economic slowdown affecting 77%. 

These insights shed light on the need for discussions around financial independence and proactive retirement planning, says Manulife Singapore CMO Mark Czajkowski. "As societal norms and expectations evolve, it's important that individuals plan for their retirement independently, reducing traditional reliance on children for financial support,” he adds.

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