Social Policy in an Ageing Society

Social Policy in an Ageing Society

Age and Health in Singapore

David Reisman

Around half the world’s population live in countries where the fertility rate is far below the replacement rate and where life expectancy is increasing dramatically. Using Singapore as a case study, Social Policy in an Ageing Society explores what might happen in a dynamic and prosperous society when falling births, longer life expectancy and rising expectations put disproportionate pressure on scarce resources that have alternative uses.

Chapter 8: Assets: Capital and Property

David Reisman

Subjects: asian studies, asian economics, asian politics and policy, asian social policy, economics and finance, asian economics, health policy and economics, public sector economics, politics and public policy, asian politics, social policy and sociology, ageing, comparative social policy, economics of social policy, health policy and economics


The old and the ill can rely on their mandatory superannuation accounts and their compulsory health care savings. For some it will not be enough. Their lifestyle will exceed their annuity. Their health status will exhaust their prepayments. That is why it is desirable for them to have supplementary sources of revenue when CPF, Medisave, MediShield and the family all let them down. This chapter, together with the two following chapters, suggests that the factors of production will provide the key. Section 1, Savings, says that Singaporeans ought to save and invest. Section 2, Housing, shows that the retired in Singapore are able to monetise their homes into cash. This chapter anticipates the argument in Chapters 9 and 10 on labour. Those chapters reiterate that retirement can mean much-needed income forgone. They argue that sometimes later retirement will be the only game in town. 8.1 SAVINGS The Central Provident Fund Board (CPF) is a strong advocate of supraCPF savings. It recommends that a couple retiring at age 60 and living in their own home should plan to have accumulated savings of S$513,000 in order to see them through an ‘adequate’ old age. For a ‘comfortable’ old age they should aim at S$817,000. The monthly income that they require (not all of it from capital) will be S$2200 and S$3500, respectively. They will need to save more if they are renting: S$747,000 and S$1,190,000 would be required. If they are...

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