It is time for Singapore to discuss and formulate a new retirement concept - flexi-retirement ("S'poreans 'prefer to retire at 55'"; last Saturday).
The retirement age was set at 55 in the last century by the British colonial government. At that time, retired civil servants were paid a pension to last till the end of their days. Inflation was negligible and the pension scheme worked.
But this is no longer the case and pensions have been scrapped.
People are living longer because of advances in medical science. They have fewer children to support them and will have to be more self-reliant.
Setting a retirement age is wrong. Each person has different capabilities and attitudes towards work, and should not be forced to retire just because he has reached a certain age.
Also, the concept of retirement is not conducive to longevity and healthy living.
Many people in Okinawa and other farming communities live to more than 100 because the word "retirement" is not in their vocabulary.
Letter from George Wong Seow Choon (Dr)
This article was published on April 9 in The Straits Times.
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