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First longitudinal study on ageing to cast light on retirement adequacy

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THE elderly are more likely to receive a diagnosis of a new chronic condition that will be a burden on their savings. The poorest are also more likely to be house-rich, cash-poor in retirement.

These are some of the nuggets unearthed by a new, first-of-its-kind longitudinal study by the Centre for Research on the Economics of Ageing (CREA), which was officially launched at a conference on Friday.

The study, which involves monthly surveys of more than 8,000 respondents aged between 50 and 70 years, aims to throw up insights on retirement adequacy in Singapore.

The monthly surveys of respondents - called the Singapore Life Panel (SLP) - consist of detailed questions about a range of variables including employment, income, expectations and subjective well being.

In a keynote address during the conference, Senior Minister of State for Health Amy Khor said: "Even as we empower seniors of today to age successfully and gracefully, we want to plan forward to meet the needs of seniors of tomorrow.

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"Research is key to helping us transform the experience of ageing in Singapore. This should be firmly anchored in a multi-disciplinary approach, to allow us to bring new knowledge across disciplines."

CREA brings together a multi-disciplinary team, including professors Rhema Vaithianathan who specialises in health economics, Denis Leung who is an expert in survey data methodology and Phang Sock Yong, an authority on housing issues internationally and in Singapore.

Bryce Hool, CREA director and dean of the Singapore Management University's School of Economics, said Singapore's ageing demographic creates new challenges for public policy and individuals.

"The SLP provides a window into the circumstances of Singaporeans approaching or beyond retirement," Prof Hool said. "It enables us to see how changes in their circumstances affect their behaviour and this will be used to predict their future situation and help to inform policy."

The SLP is reflective of the Singapore population in terms of demographic and economic characteristics.

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