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So, what exactly is retirement?

7 months ago / ntuc / working girl / worklifesg

Some midlife crisis-ish thoughts about my future haha.

Getting all Eat, Pray, Love-ish and contemplating about life in Ubud, Bali

No, I'm not going to throw some confetti in the air and announce I'm retiring haha but on a more serious note, I recently started having some midlife crisis sorta thoughts about retirement... (but people are living much longer these days - Singapore's life expectancy is the 4th highest in the world at 82 - so erm, I think it's more like a delayed quarter-life crisis?) and what I want to do with my life when I stop working.

To be honest, I don't know if i can ever stop working. I was talking to Smith the other day when he asked me what are my hobbies / what do I do on weekends and my reply was, work? And more work?

Technically it's work because it's an income generating aspect of my life but... sometimes I don't see it as work per se but if I am getting fulfillment and I feel that it is making my life more meaningful, then is it work exactly? (See - getting all Artistotle again. Confirmed quarter-life crisis alr I tell you)

Sooooo.... in the recent Budget Debate 2016, it was announced that Re-employment age will be raised from 65 to 67. Alongside with the law letting firms cut pay of 60-year-olds to be scrapped.

And we see all these comments all over Facebook about how this means we will have to "work till we die"... but I think it's a common misconception really about what reemployment exactly means.

Just to confirm, we took it to the streets of Singapore one day (so fun! I felt like I was the producer of 星期二特写 / Tuesday Report HAHA) when we asked a couple of people what do they think/ know about this topic:

You'll be surprised to see that most of the older folks we spoke to are actually quite happy about this... cause erm,

1) Under the Retirement and Re-employment Act (RRA), the minimum retirement age is 62 years.

2) Employers are required to offer re-employment to eligible employees who turn 62, up to age 65 (67 from 1 Jul '17), to continue their employment in the organisation.

In layperson speak, this basically means that you CAN retire at 62, or anytime you want actually. (If tomorrow you strike Toto and want to stop working forever, nobody can force you to get a job what!) But for those who CAN and WANT to continue working, this upward adjustment is to ensure that people who want to work get a chance to work!

At the end of the day, it is YOUR choice.

To be honest, people are living longer now... the life expectancy of the average Singaporean woman is 85 so even if we stop working at 67, it means a good 18 years of retirement. 18 YEARSSSS :scream: If I have a son, he will learn how to walk, go to primary school, secondary and into NS already lah.

If we don't adjust the retirement and reemployment age, then people who need or want to continue working may not be able to do so.

In fact, if you ask me - the Tripartite Guidelines on the Re-employment of Older Employees actually protects the rights of our people, for e.g. if employers have made reasonable efforts but are unable to find suitable jobs within the company for eligible mature employees, they are to provide outplacement assistance in the form of payment. - Bet you never knew that!

This Employment Assistance Payment (EAP) is meant to help you tide over a period of time while you seek alternative employment, equivalent to 3 months' salary, subject to a minimum of $4,500 and maximum of $10,000.

Also, while we do not leave mature workers out in manpower planning for our future economy, we should make our work environments as ageless or age-neutral as possible.

Like you know, for people like me who are 31 going on 13 lol - I KID! Or maybe not?

Basically, in the wise words of DSG Heng Chee How, employers must not neglect the continued training and development of their mature employees. Because such employees are more likely to want to stay with the company compared to younger cohorts and this effectively means that their runway is actually not shorter than that of young employees. If their skills are kept up-to-date and sharpened, they will be an asset. After all, 姜还是老的辣 - old ginger is more spicy? Lol it basically means experience (that often comes with age) counts.

So for workplaces to appreciate and fully tap contributions of mature workers, efforts must be stepped up - such as refining funding schemes like WorkPro by WDA (we have implemented this in my own workplace and seriously the grants of up to $300,000 are super attractive!), and also redesigning HR policies, jobs and work processes, use of technology etc so that mature workers can be enabled to contribute as much as possible, for as long as possible.

Also, by keeping us Singaporeans in the workplace for as long as we can and want, this ultimately goes back to what we hope for a stronger Singaporean core - but this is another long message, for another time :P