By S M Ong
HAVE a friend who used to be an insurance salesman, then a 'financial planner', then a 'wealth manager'.
Next week, I expect his job title to be simply 'money god'.
He was trying to sell me some long-term financial product and said that while it was good that I already had a life insurance policy (which he had sold me), he added sombrely: 'The bad news is that you're likely to live for a long, long time.'
That was bad news? Since when was living for 'a long, long time' bad news? What was good news then? My death?
I was deeply creeped out by his morbid sales pitch.
Now I realise he was right. You know why?
Growing old sucks.
Your eyesight leaves you. Your grown-up children will leave you. And eventually, your employer will ask you to leave - except it's called 'retirement'.
As if to add insult to creaking bones, with the collapsing world economy, nowadays your life savings could be leaving you as well, thanks to some long-term financial product you bought from the likes of my friend.
But even if your life savings aren't saying bye-bye, how many of us will ever feel financially secure enough to retire anyway?
Which is why we make such easy prey for the likes of my friend.
In a recent Government survey, about half of Singaporeans aged between 43 and 60 said they want to work for as long as they can. Only half?
Right on cue, the Marina Bay Sands integrated resort started its massive recruitment drive on Monday with retirees as one of its main targets.
So if you want to spend your remaining golden years as a security guard, waiter, butler, bellman, doorman or restroom attendant, you're in luck. The website is careers.marinabaysands.com
If only there were openings for wealth managers.
So, did I buy that long-term financial product from my friend?
How could I not?
What if - the horror - I do live to a ripe old age? How do I afford it?
Is it too late for me to start smoking now? I could stop exercising and eat all the oyster omelette I want.
Last week, Health Minister Khaw Boon Wan wondered aloud if the Government should legalise euthanasia.
I can take a hint.
This story was first published in The New Paper on Oct 24, 2008.