According to OCBC financial wellness survey 2020, 75% of Singaporeans are NOT on track to retire at their ideal age and live their ideal retirement lifestyle! (As shown below).

This is a worsening proportion of survey respondents from 2019!

Maybe it's covid-19 situation but what is causing so much concern in retirement?

Key problem in retirement thinking

According to this THE STRAITS TIMES article, $1.3M needs to be saved to retire.

The sum is derived based on the wish list of customers who say they want to have at least $3,000 to spend every month after they retire.

Indeed, if you want to increase your spending power to $5,000 a month, OCBC says you will need $2 million.

Yes $2M, a number that is daunting, NOT inspiring, for a young working adult.

Why is the number for retirement always so big?

It is your expectations on how much spending power X number of years in retirement!

Reduce these 2 factors and the equation becomes manageable.


Have you ever thought when you'd want to retire fully and STOP WORK?

In accordance with the Retirement and Re-employment Act ( RRA ), the minimum retirement age is 62 years. Your company cannot ask you to retire before that age.

But age62 should NOT be the figure you have in mind to stop WORK. 

To answer when to stop work, lets firstly think why exactly do we all WORK.

This can be answered exactly with the 4 quadrants of "WORK"

On the bottom left in green is for "INCOME" to cover expenses. That is what most assume work to be.

Work actually is also JOB - which responsibility to your co-workers/team and family

It is secondly ambition - which can be career goals. For Elon Musk, it is getting mankind to Mars.

And thirdly identity - which is being useful in society.

This keep part on identity is very important because identity can affect not only your physical health but even your self esteem. Imagine how you'd feel if you've lost your image when peers and family ask about what you are doing.

In the identity quadrant, it is also about being social and having connections.

This summary below shows the problems of social isolation (can happen to you if you lose work) and its impact on your mental health.

For the "identity" quadrant, you should pursue work for as long as possible.

Because it is beneficial to your physical health and mental health.

It are isolated yet financially free, you are still at risk of being unhappy.

Hence, the benefits of planning and thinking semi-retirement...

What is SEMI-RETIREMENT and at what age?

Semi-retirement is a phase where you keep work for "IDENTITY" quadrant (mainly) and "INCOME" quadrant.

Ideally, you'd achieved your AMBITION and fulfilled your JOB (as shaded in black below).

Your career has peaked out and these 2 quadrants are no longer important as "WORK".

What about for INCOME (in grey)?

It is grey because income is no longer the focus of your WORK. 


This semi-retirement phase is where you go travel more. Spend more time with your family.

You only have one life #yolo. =)

Why Semi-retirement makes it easier for your retirement numbers

A financial goal in this semi-retirement phase is to NOT deplete your retirement pot saved up.

If you spend $2,000/m, look for work that pays $2,000/m.

Be a part time property agent? Drive grab? Part time admin staff?

And when you do so, your retirement savings can continue to compound towards your targeted retirement amount with investing.


In addition, if you plan to be semi-retired for many years, you would have LESS years in full retirement with $0 income. 

Think about it, does that substantially reduce the targeted retirement amount you need to aim for?

Maybe $500,000 as a retirement pot is all you need for just 10years in full retirement?


Planning for retirement is still a core part of planning finances but increasingly, I feel we should not exaggerate numbers needed for it.

There are ideas such as regular investing plans and also insurance plans tailored for the objective of retirement income two of the best plans are featured below.

From my youtube comments, I see that some are targeting age45 to become semi-retired. And I think it's a number that fits my timeline too.

To start things with, you'd still need to save up money in the golden years of your career. Just not gigantic numbers =)

In the video tutorial below, you'd see numbers on how to get there and it definitely is not $2m or even $1m!

Last updated on January 5th, 2021 at 11:11 am

Josh Tan Jian Liang (CHFC) Principal Author: REVIEWS: Practising financial planner with Promiseland Independent Pte Ltd. TJL100057681 EXPERIENCE: More than 14years. Josh Tan is a young parent, speaker, author and founder of TheAstuteParent.
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