Late bloombers

PHOTO: Late bloombers

In the last instalment of a six-part series brought to you by Manulife Singapore, we explore the issue of retirement planning at different life stages

MR FRANCIS LEE & MRS JOANNE LEE, BOTH 56; MARRIED WITH CHILDREN

Mr and Mrs Lee have been married for 31 years, and are blessed with two grown-up children.

A maintenance, repair and operations director of a company in the aerospace industry, Mr Lee's job scope entails managing an overhaul facility for airline-component repair, and he has 25 employees under his charge.

Mrs Lee is a housewife who serves as a pastor at her church. She also volunteers actively.

Mr Lee enjoys playing sports such as soccer and golf, while Mrs Lee is involved with the church and prays for the sick. She swims occasionally to keep fit.

The couple live in a three-bedroom private apartment with their son Samuel, 28, and daughter Sarah, 23.

What are your financial goals?

We hope to be financially self-sufficient after retirement.

How far are you from your goals?

Mrs Lee: I started planning for retirement very late, at the age of 47, so I had a bit of catching up to do. I've always had insurance, but realised that they were insufficient for comprehensive financial coverage.

When we were introduced to Manulife, our financial adviser tweaked our insurance plans so that they cater more specifically for retirement. We have also bought more plans to prepare ourselves better for retirement.

We have some policies with Manulife, including a medical plan for critical-illness protection, a plan that generates an income stream for life, and investment policies as part of our portfolio, as well as CPF Life.

Francis plans to continue working to earn a stable, consistent income up to the age of 65, to build up on our savings.

We are not ambitious people, so we do not invest. But Francis dreams to own a stall selling beef noodles, as he loves to cook.

And your primary concerns now?

Seeing that our children are independent and established in their careers. But we need not worry much about this as Samuel holds a stable job as a design engineer; he will also be tying the knot next year.

Sarah has just graduated from Australia's Deakin University with an arts degree, and will be looking for a job soon.

What have you done as part of your retirement planning?

We have a basic medical plan and a regular savings plan under the lifetime-income scheme; we have also invested our Central Provident Fund monies.

But due to Francis' hypertension, we are unable to upgrade the medical plan to a more comprehensive one. So we must take good care of our health, and have more buffers in savings to ensure that medical costs do not eat into the retirement fund.

Also, some of our plans would have matured, and we would be able to get the payouts by the time we retire, to furnish us with a consistent flow of allowance.

How would you like to live your life after retirement?

We hope to live comfortably, without having to worry about our financial needs. I hope to continue serving society through volunteer work, while Francis hopes to continue playing golf to keep fit.

WHAT THE EXPERT SAYS

Those in their 50s should have a comprehensive plan for health care and retirement, as well as drawn up a will and done estate planning to ensure a smooth transfer of their legacy to their loved ones.

One must plan to ensure that he does not outlive his savings - a steady stream of income is needed for at least 20 years after retirement.

Senior manager Chow Voon Shin of Manulife Singapore offers her advice to the Lees on retirement planning.

HEALTHY BALANCE BETWEEN SAVINGS AND SPENDING

Although the couple began planning for retirement relatively late, they have been disciplined in catching up on saving for retirement.

The next 10 years will be very important for the Lees to build up their retirement nest egg.

To achieve their goals, they will need to keep track of and strike a balance between their living expenses and savings monthly. They will also need to monitor their spending habits and plan wisely for big-ticket items.

My advice would be to have two separate bank accounts: one for personal expenses and Giro deductions, for normal monthly expenditure, and the other purely for savings accumulation.

They could also leverage the current low interest rate by investing in various instruments - based on their risk appetite - after setting aside an emergency fund.

GET COMPREHENSIVE MEDICAL COVERAGE

As Mr Lee has hypertension, he would need extra savings for his personal medical fund, in case he requires medical attention.

It is vital that one has comprehensive medical protection when in good health. Mrs Lee should also ensure that she has sufficient medical coverage.

REINVEST MATURITY PROCEEDS

It is good that Mr and Mrs Lee have existing financial plans which provide a constant stream of income to cover their basic living expenses during retirement.

In the next 10 years, the Lees could consider reinvesting some of the maturity proceeds from their insurance policies to enhance their retirement fund.

They could consider ManuRetire Secure, which would allow them to benefit from the potentially inflation-beating performance of equities while providing them with guaranteed income for retirement.

ManuRetire Secure would enable them to grow their assets, while providing 80 per cent downside protection against investment fluctuations.

Mr and Mrs Lee could choose to receive a lump sum or regular stream of income for their retirement, over a payout period of 10, 15 or 20 years.

ESTABLISH A BUSINESS PLAN

To fulfil his dream of setting up a beef-noodle stall, Mr Lee could consider using part of his potential maturity returns from his investment plan as start-up capital.

My advice would be to ensure that he has a business plan with an accurate projection of cost and profit-and-loss analysis, in order to be financially prepared. He should also be in good health, in order to handle the business effectively.

DRAFT A WILL

As their children have grown up, Mr and Mrs Lee should have a will to ensure that their wishes are clearly documented and to facilitate a smooth transfer of their legacy to their loved ones.

If there is no will, how one's assets should be distributed upon death will be determined by state law. This could spell heartache for your loved ones when they are most vulnerable.

The Lees could consider taking up Manulife Heirloom to amplify their current net worth as a legacy plan for their next generation.

For more information on retirement solutions, visit www.manulife.com.sg or call 6833-8188.


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