The workers and retirees in six countries, namely China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan, took part in the study conducted by US-based Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in partnership with UK-based insurer Prudential plc.
Among the report’s key findings, it states that the traditional Confucian ethic expectation that families themselves will provide for their elderly members is under unprecedented pressure. Only small minorities, from a low of 4% in China to a high of 22% in Singapore, believe that grown children should be responsible for the retirement income of their parents.
There is also strong support for individuals taking greater responsibility for financing their own retirement. In most countries, with the exception of China and Malaysia, people prefer personal savings-based retirement provision to government provision, the study states.
Retired respondents in all of the countries worry a great deal about becoming a burden on their children with 40% to 85% being poor and in need of money (30% to 85%) and being in ill health and having no one to care for them (50% to 80%).
Although retirement prospects are improving for members of today’s working generations, most are still not adequately prepared. Gaps in pension coverage and low replacement rates mean that government and employer retirement systems are unlikely to meet their needs and very few are saving enough on their own to ensure a decent standard of living in retirement.
The report, called ‘Balancing Tradition and Modernity: The Future of Retirement in East Asia’, is based on a survey by CSIS and it is co-authored by Richard Jackson and Neil Howe. It is part of what it calls the ‘multiyear global aging preparedness project’, which was launched by CSIS and Prudential plc in 2010.
One of the report’s authors Jackson said: “The challenge is especially daunting in East Asia, because the region faces onrushing age waves while it is still developing and modernising. How decision makers deal with that challenge will have important implications not just for the future prosperity of their own countries, but for future global prosperity.”
For more information, go to CSIS.