Most people ‘can’t afford to retire’

Two elderly women enjoy ice cream in the Sam Phraeng community of Phra Nakhon district, Bangkok. (Photo: Apichart Jinakul)
Two elderly women enjoy ice cream in the Sam Phraeng community of Phra Nakhon district, Bangkok. (Photo: Apichart Jinakul)

Most people need to save at least three million baht to see through their retirement but most elderly are not financially equipped to survive without an income, says a local financial expert.

The National Retirement Risk Index indicates many people are less than ready to retire from a financial perspective, says Pornanong Budsaratragoon, head of the Department of Banking and Finance, Chulalongkorn Business School.

At the same time, people are generally predicted to live longer and so the challenge is how to manage their post-retirement finances, she said.

Surveys of people’s finances showed the average person needs at least three million baht in savings to live out their retirement years. But many retirees found themselves lacking financial security as they cannot live on what they set aside as their monthly budget.

Ms Pornanong said the state has a responsibility to educate them on how to save wisely and avoid fraudulent practices that can rob them of their funds.

State agencies should also streamline the system of mandatory saving, she added.

Employers also have a role to play in promoting the financial well-being of their workers. “They should care for their employees not only during office hours but when they go home as well,” she said.

Ms Pornanong said everyone should be encouraged to invest or save at least 15% of their income. If they invest or save less than 10%, they will be vulnerable after they retire, she said.

As a result, they may feel compelled to rely on windfalls and wishful thinking, such as winning the lottery, gaining a handsome inheritance, or counting on their children and relatives to look after them.

“But these are factors beyond their control,” Ms Pornanong said.

Somprawin Manprasert, chief economist of Siam Commercial Bank (SCB)’s Economic Intelligence Center (EIC), said on the SCB Thailand Facebook page that about 40% of low-income earners are in now the “minus income” group, meaning they spend more than they make.

Most are in sectors such as production and retail, earning around 18,000 baht a month per family. They fall into the economically vulnerable group.

Also suffering heavily from the cost of living crisis is the middle-class with a monthly salary of between 20,000-30,000 baht. Many own a personal car and are now dealing with heavily inflated fuel costs.

Although they can afford it, they have less money left to put in their savings.

Read More: Most people ‘can’t afford to retire’

2022-09-07 19:00:00

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