Can We Really Be The Last Sandwich Generation?

Can We Really Be The Last Sandwich Generation?

NTUC income released data gathered from a study commissioned around the Sandwich Generation phenomenon here in Singapore. How will our personal financial habits and retirement plans impact the next generation? On #PrimeTime with Howie Lim and Bernard Lim, we speak to Marcus Chew, Income’s Chief Marketing Officer as he shares more about the findings. 

Bernard Lim: For those who are unaware, what does the ‘Sandwich Generation’ actually refer to? 

Marcus Chew: Sandwich generation actually refers to adults between the age of 35 - 50 and caring for both their parents as well as children. So their parents are usually retired (and) they are not (generating) any income. 

BL: Why did NTUC decide to (narrow down) to this group of people? 

MC: We want to bring attention to them because (even though) they may not be able to do anything about (being sandwiched between their parents and children), they can do something which can impact the future generation positively. So instead of thinking about retirement as something that they do for themselves, it is something that they do for their children. And that may motivate them to do something about it because they’ll do anything for their children. 

BL: According to a recent study by the Ministry of Finance, Singaporeans today are generally better educated and more able to find jobs, earn more and live longer than the past generations. Singaporeans in their 40s are earning more than those in their 60s. So what are your thoughts on this? 

MC: This is good news. We are the generation with access to better financial information which also comes with advanced experiences and gadgets. Once you make more money, you spend more as well because you upgrade your lifestyle. And most people think that this lifestyle can be maintained after retiring. It’s not really about how much you make, it’s about how much you save. With higher earnings, come higher expenditure as well. Even though we are doing better, we need to be conscious about planning our money so that we will not burden the future generation. 

BL: Many people feel that they will all inevitably become ‘sandwiched’ because being filial is an Asian value. What are your thoughts on this?

MC: To me, caring for your parents is a given, we have to do that. But as parents, if you plan for your retirement, you can (lighten the load) for your children. We gained a lot of insights about the youths. Almost 80% of young Singaporeans still believe that they will be the next sandwich generation. And this is because they are not confident that their parents are saving enough. Based on our research, we find that this is a taboo topic to (discuss) with parents. Young Singaporeans tend to form their own impressions which (makes them willing) to avoid having children just so they can (steer clear of) the sandwich generation trap. The key is to be clear about how much you need. And for those who are retired, instead of depending on the money you have saved, think about how you can make passive income. For instance, CPF life. At the same time, plan your investments and insurance so you are secured for life and will never run out of it. 

Listen to the full podcast as Marcus Chew breaks down NTUC's findings.

Download the podcast.

For more, tune in to #PrimeTime with Howie Lim, Bernard Lim and Finance Presenter JP Ong every weekday from 4 pm - 6pm!

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