50+Up Series | Rethinking Retirement: Living a Vibrant Second Half of Life
Hong Kong's aging population is redefining retirement, emphasizing financial security, health, and pursuing dreams. Retirement is seen as a new beginning, not an end. Plan for the second half of life, cherish retirement, and create lasting memories with loved ones.
According to data released by the Department of Health in 2021, the life expectancy of men and women in Hong Kong has reached 83 and 87.7 years old, respectively. The Census and Statistics Department predicted in their 2020 report that by 2024, people aged 65 and above will account for 22% of the total population in Hong Kong. Based on the current population of 7.33 million, there will be approximately 1.61 million people aged 65 and above in Hong Kong by that time.
The United Nations estimates that by 2050, the global population aged 65 or above will reach 1.5 billion, meaning one in every six people will be 65 years old or older. At that time, Hong Kong is expected to become the city with the highest aging population in the world, accounting for 40.6% of its total population.
Last year, Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK) "Hong Kong Connection" produced an episode titled "Worry-Free Retirement?", exploring the issues of 90% of retirees not having enough savings and facing increasing difficulties with living expenses and health problems as the population ages.
"Will there be enough funds to live on after retirement?" This is a question that many people are most concerned about. However, the question itself is worth pondering. Firstly, it seems to imply that there will be no income and no work after retirement, and people must rely on savings, mandatory pension funds, government benefits, etc., to support them for the rest of their lives. But is this really the only option after retirement?
Even if you have sufficient funds to ensure a worry-free and well-off life in your later years, with the ability to travel abroad at any time, poor health can still make it difficult to enjoy a comfortable life, no matter how much wealth you possess. Therefore, when facing the issue of retirement, we should not only focus on whether there is enough money, but also pay attention to other factors that are more important than money, such as health, dreams, and fighting spirit.
Some people, in pursuit of a good life after retirement, work tirelessly to make money before they retire, living anxious days and ultimately sacrificing their health, dreams, and relationships. By the time they actually retire, what they have lost often outweighs what they have gained. Although they may be financially worry-free, their hearts are still filled with various concerns.
If one neglects physical and mental health before retirement and only starts to pay attention afterward, can health be immediately restored? The answer is most likely not. If one constantly worries about life before retirement, can they instantly break free from these concerns once they retire? This, too, is not easy. Therefore, when facing the issue of retirement, we need to think more holistically, not just in terms of money.
Viewing Retirement as a New Beginning, Breaking Through Age Limitations
If we reinterpret the meaning of "retirement" as "a new beginning in life," how would you re-plan the second half of your life? Have you ever considered starting a business in the latter half of your life? Or fully utilizing social platforms and online tools to create content, bringing yourself opportunities for diversified income?
When we reach the age of 65 and retire, according to life expectancy calculations, there are still an average of 20 years of life ahead. So, don't let "retirement" and age limit the possibilities for the second half of your life.
n Hong Kong, we have five pillars of retirement protection: impoverished elderly people can apply for government-funded elderly welfare, those aged 70 and above can receive an elderly living allowance without any review, and there are mandatory provident funds, personal savings, and annuity "Retirement Trio" financial products to choose from. While these retirement protections are undoubtedly important, they primarily target economic needs and do not fully cover various aspects of life.
Although we can rely on these pillars for the latter half of our lives, this may not be the choice everyone desires. Experts have calculated that a 65-year-old retiree living in public housing with a monthly expenditure of no more than 10,000 Hong Kong dollars will need about 2.7 million Hong Kong dollars when their life expectancy reaches 82 years.
Therefore, it's better to start planning for the second half of life as early as possible. We should learn how to earn money, which is more important than merely knowing how to save. We must bravely pursue our dreams and realize that retirement is not the end of life but a new beginning. Believe that the second half of life can be even more exciting than the first; even if we lose in the first half, there are still opportunities to win in the second half.
In conclusion, don't let "retirement" and age limit the endless possibilities of the second half of your life!
This article has been translated by ChatGPT-4. The original text was in Chinese.
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