Friday, April 20, 2012


From Straits Times 19 April

The International Monetary Fund )IMF) has just released its Global Financial Stability report 2012. The report carries a warning of the rising healthcare costs of ageing. An underestimation of the average life span by a mere three years can translate into additional trillions of dollars in pension and healthcare costs for the global economy.

Graphics from Straits Times April 7.

How Singapore is preparing for ageing
The top three countries with the fastest growing ageing populations in the world are Japan, Germany and Singapore. In Singapore, the number of residents aged 65 and above increased from 7.2 per cent in 2000 to 9.3 per cent last year. By 2030, this will rise to 19 per cent.

Malaysia may not be on the list of world's fastest ageing populations, but it certainly holds the record for having the world's biggest civil service - 1.4 million Malaysians work in the public sector. Just imagine how much this will cost the government (and the tax-payers) in pension payments when these civil servants retire.

For other issues related to the "longevity bonus", do listen to this roundtable discussion held at Standford University. It's 90 minutes long, but worth spending the time if you have the interest. Some of the issues raised include:

~ social / financial security
~ job opportunities
~ medicare / healthcare / care-giving
~ nursing / retirement homes
~ transportation
~ lifelong learning
~ women's role / dominance in ageing
~ discrimination
~ inter-generational divide
~ social media (the 65+ are the largest growing cohort on Facebook)

The solution lies primarily in education. We all want to enter our golden years physically fit, mentally sharp, and financially secure, don't we? This awareness should be instilled as early as possible, and as part of the school curriculum.

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