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Why are elderlies still working in Singapore?

Header picture source: sghardtruth

This article was not reviewed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) or any other relevant authorities.

Have you ever seen elderlies still working in white-collar jobs or low payings jobs such as working in fast food restaurants, collecting cardboards, owning a store in a wet market, etc? Have you ever wondered why this is happening? It would be anyone’s dream to retire and enjoy life after a certain age in life. There are many reasons why this issue is occurring and it is important to know them.

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Lack of education

Back in the 1990s when our parents or grandparents were kids, it was typical to have a large family. Due to poverty, they might have to stop their education to find work to support their family, especially the oldest in the family. Due to the low education level, they are only able to find low paying jobs. In the current times, the job markets demands for a different skillset such as digital literacy and majority of the elderlies do not have that.

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Singapore used to be a small fishing village but now we are a cosmopolitan city. We are a developed country, constantly driving economic growth. With inflation, where the cost of prices are increasing, it has resulted in the rise of cost of living. Goods and services are becoming more and more expensive. Back in our parents’ days, a bowl of fish ball noodles used to cost 50 cents but now it is a few dollars.

Inflation is outstripping the savings that the Contribution Funds Provision (CPF) are raising the rates for the elderlies. Some elderlies that are working part time jobs or odd jobs would not have any CPF contributions by employees which makes it difficult for them to have any savings in their CPF account.

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The Sandwich Generation

Who is the Sandwich Generation? They are the working adults that are financially responsible for both their children and parents. With the decreasing birth rates and increasing life expectancy, the old age dependency ratio has been increasing which means the younger generation have to support more elderlies.

Those in the sandwich generation are receiving financial pressure to take care of their family. The children might not be willing to take care of their parents but that is not usually the case as the asian society strongly focuses on filial piety. So most of the time the elderlies would take on a job to relieve some pressure on their children and to support themselves. Sometimes elderlies have to support themselves because they fell out with their children or do not have any family members.

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Lack of financial literacy

The lack of financial literacy would cause the mismanagement of financials. Back in the olden days, financial literacy wasn’t really important as they were more focused on working and supporting their family. They were just trying to get by everyday and didn’t have the time to plan for the future.


Currently the government is trying to help the older generation in Singapore through the Pioneer Generation Package (PGP) and Silver Support Scheme.

With the future being uncertain, it is good for you, especially young adults or working adults to start planning for the future. If you’re unsure where to even begin, you can always contact a reliable financial advisor to help start with your financial planning!
If you are considering getting insurance polices for your parents, you would want to check out 3 basic insurance policies I should get for my parents!



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