Almost half of Malaysians worried over retirement savings, says survey

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KUALA LUMPUR (Dec 13): Almost half (49%) of Malaysians are not confident about having enough money to live till the age of 80, according to the 2017 Prudential Relationship Index (PRI) survey.

The second edition of the index by Prudential Assurance Malaysia Bhd found that retirement savings is a top financial priority for the majority of Malaysians. More than half (59%) reported they are concerned with whether they will have sufficient funds for retirement.

The PRI is an exploratory study to understand the state of personal relationships in Asia. In Malaysia, 516 interviews were conducted through online sampling with adults aged between 25 and 55 years. Respondents were residents of Kuala Lumpur and Petaling Jaya with household incomes of at least RM4,000 per month, representing the top two-thirds of household incomes in the two cities.

The survey shows that perception for receiving financial support varies. Although 83% of Malaysians currently contribute financially to their parents' daily spending, only 31% expect their children to support them financially in their old age.

Most Malaysians expect to depend on themselves, the survey shows. It reported that 87% plan to live off their personal finances and assets, while 43% expect to continue working in their senior years.

Prudential Assurance chief brand officer Fiona Liao said as a solution, it is important for Malaysians to have frequent reviews of their finances.

"As a society, we don't spend enough time thinking or doing financial planning. There are plenty of solutions out there, insurance is just one option. As circumstances change so do our needs. Malaysians tend to worry about these things but not enough action is taken on their part," Liao said at the launch of the index earlier.

Liao suggests for Malaysians to consider the various financial planning services offered by banks and insurers.

"Sometimes it really helps when there's a third party sitting in the middle of you and your spouse to guide you on your finances. It helps take a burden off your back and your relationship even," she said.

Malaysians do agree that better financial planning is the answer to peace of mind, with 57% of couples agreeing that working with a financial agent to plan their finances makes their relationships better.

Additionally, people who work with their partners to make financial plans are likely to expect improvement in their family relationships in five years' time (76%) than those who don't plan together (42%). They are also more positive about their personal finances improving by 2020 (74%) compared with those who make plans separately (55%).

Furthermore, another factor benefiting their personal finances is the growth of technology in the country; 83% of Malaysians agree that technology has made planning finances easier and better.

While saving for retirement is important, Malaysians also reported being concerned about their children. Almost all parents in Malaysia (96%) are stressed about their children's future. About 67% admit to worrying at least once a week, while 50% have supporting their children's education as a top financial priority.

The family's financial state on a whole is also another key financial concern for more than a third of Malaysians. If anything were to happen to them, 39% believe their family would suffer financially and emotionally, while 10% predict the effects would range from serious to catastrophic.