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Most Singaporeans reliant on CPF to fund retirement, medical expenses: Aviva

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Most Singaporeans are reliant on the Central Provident Fund (CPF) for their retirement and medical expenses, Aviva's Consumer Attitudes Survey released on Monday showed - PHOTO: SPH

MOST Singaporeans are reliant on the Central Provident Fund (CPF) for their retirement and medical expenses, Aviva's Consumer Attitudes Survey released on Monday showed.

According to it, CPF remains the main source of retirement savings for 64 per cent of consumers who have begun saving or investing for retirement.

Among this group (who have started saving for retirement), 54 per cent supplement retirement funds with endowment or investment-linked plans, while 45 per cent have direct investments such as shares, bonds or unit trusts.

When it comes to medical expenses incurred in old age, CPF - specifically, Medisave and MediShield - is the most common tool Singaporeans rely on.

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At least seven in 10 plan to use Medisave and MediShield to pay for medical expenses. One-third (34 per cent) plan to make use of their Integrated Shield plan, with 32 per cent listing cash as part of their plan.

Daniel Lum, director of product and marketing at Aviva Singapore, said that while CPF offers one of the highest guaranteed returns here, many Singaporeans have their savings tied up in property and they need to consider unlocking returns from such assets to supplement their retirement fund.

"The challenge remains for Singaporeans to build a diversified retirement portfolio that earns returns high enough to beat inflation, as well as to ensure they will have sufficient cash in their later years, rather than being asset-rich but cash-poor," he noted.

Overall, 44 per cent of Singaporeans have not begun saving for retirement. Worryingly, 31 per cent of those over age 55 have also yet to begin to do so.

Mr Lum said the inertia could come from not knowing how much will be needed in retirement: an underestimation justifies their taking their time to start saving, while an overestimation may intimidate them into not making a decision.

The survey interviewed 1,000 respondents online in Singapore from May 28 to June 16, 2014. The survey is a nationally representative one of adults aged 18 and above, Aviva said.

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