In an emotional video called ‘The Promise’, NTUC Income showed the challenges faced by many middle-aged Singaporeans in their 30s and 40s – having to financially support for their own children and their ageing parents at the same time. They are called the Sandwich Generation.
The video shows a young man named Yong Tian who works hard and is trying his best to provide for his ageing parents while also starting a family of his own. We see him struggle to keep a balance. When his daughter is born, Yong Tian makes her a promise that he would not put her in the same position he is in now, that he will plan for his retirement and not burden her.
Apart from the video, NTUC Income also shared some results of a study they commissioned on the Sandwich Generation (SG), which they say “revealed harsh realities about how Singaporean’s view their financial future”.
Firstly, 79% of the 200 young Singaporeans surveyed (aged 21-29) believe that they will be the next SG because they feel financially responsible for their retired parents, expect their parents to live longer, and believe that their parents have insufficient retirement funds. Almost 50% of young Singaporeans worry that their parents will turn to them for financial support upon retirement.
Of the 200 parents aged 35-55 who were surveyed, 73% believe that their children will be the next SG and 59% also felt that their grandchildren will end up in that same fate.
According to the study, these fears are not unfounded. The results revealed that 3 in 5 parents hadn’t planned for their retirement and 59% of those who did, did not plan for funds to last till they are 82 – which is the estimated life expectancy in Singapore.
Moreover, 34% of parents who were confident about their financial situations still expected their children to support them financially when they retire.
The study asserts that young Singaporeans aged 21-29 want to avoid being part of the Sandwich Generation with 87% agreeing that their parents should prepare for financial independence upon retirement. Also, 77% say they would like their parents to be more serious about retirement planning while 43% would make personal sacrifices such as not marrying or having fewer or no children.
On the other hand, parents aged 35-55 were optimistic that they could help their children avoid becoming the next SG since 91% believed they have better opportunities to do so now compared to their own parents. 86% said they could help their children by being financially independent in retirement.