Retirement planning is now more than just creating a golden nest egg for a growing number of Singaporeans. Instead, experts say retirees are now placing a premium on the social and health aspects of post- working life.
Mr Gerard Ee, chairman of the Council for Third Age, said: "More put a high value on their families and social networks for emotional support, and many are also looking for new activities that challenge them." Attending retirement planning courses, volunteering and participating in wellness programmes are just some of the ways that retirees choose to stay active mentally, emotionally and socially. Retirement planning coach Goh Ai Yat, 57, conducts an average of 50 workshops a year, almost five times as many as she did five years ago.
"Retirees usually have three choices," she said. "They can enter the workforce through re-employment, become self-employed, or choose to remain unemployed."
For those who choose not to work, Ms Goh recommends the "three Rs" to ward off dementia and depression - new routines, roles and relationships.
"Without work, your routine collapses. You need a new role, such as that of a volunteer, to occupy your time," said Ms Goh. "This will also help you build new relationships and networks." In last year's Individual Giving Survey, the National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre reported that volunteering among retirees went up from 16 per cent in 2010 to 19 per cent last year. Membership is also "growing slowly" at RSVP Singapore, an organisation of senior volunteers. First vice-president Ngiam Tong Yuen said it recruits about 250 a year.
They take on roles such as befriending the sick or working as guides in hospitals.
"Since I'm physically and mentally fit, I decided to volunteer," said former nurse Patricia Tan, 75, a volunteer receptionist at the RSVP office. "I get to meet many new people so life is less boring."