Singapore has won many accolades on the world stage, most recently winning the Best Airport in the World for Changi Airport again for the 7th year running (2013-2019) and World’s Fastest Internet Speed. One lesser known accolade is that we are number one in the world for the Longest Healthy Life Expectancy from Birth.
Healthy Life Expectancy from Birth is the projected number of years Singaporean’s like you and me are expected to live healthily before illness or other health problems come up and reduce our quality of life. On average, that is 76 years of good health! Now many of you will be thinking: “What? Only 76 years? I thought Singaporeans are supposed to live till 85?”
That is true, if you are of the fairer sex, you are expected to live till 85 years old on average. This means that there are about 7.4 “unhealthy” years that you need to prepare for. For gentlemen, there are about 6.1 unhealthy years.
How would you feel if you had to live with a chronic illness for 6 to 7 years? Are we prepared for it? Are your family members prepared for it? Is society prepared for a group of people living longer but would need support for chronic illnesses?
We are blessed with a Government that is forward thinking and appreciative of the older generation, coming up with incentives to help them with healthcare expenses and especially long-term care in the form of CareShield Life.
CareShield Life is a Long-Term Care Insurance Scheme will automatically cover Singaporeans born between 1980-1990 in 2020. And if you are born after 1990, you will be automatically covered once you turn 30. For everyone born before 1979, you would have the option to join in as well in 2021.
CareShield will provide a monthly payout that starts at $600 if a person is severely disabled. This is where the Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) come in. If someone is unable to perform at least 3 of the following ADLs by himself, he is considered severely disabled and the cash payouts will begin after a certain waiting period.
Other enhancements include an annual increase in the payouts by 2% per year until the first claim, though subject to a review in 5 years, to keep pace with inflation. And the payouts will continue for life, as compared to just 6 years of payouts for the current Eldershield.
$600 is not a very large amount and rightly so. As our Government has always believed that citizens would need to play a part in preparing for their own future.
Improving and maintaining our health will go a long way in reducing our number of “unhealthy” years. And it really does not take much to become fit. For a very easy way to get fit and look great, do read my colleague Adi’s article (http://focus.unicorn.sg/2018/07/31/i-dont-like-it-just-change- dont-think/.)
Another thing each of us can do, is to start accumulating our wealth as soon as we can, so we can rely on our own savings after we retire. The previous school of thought where we plan to have savings for say 20 years after we retire at 55 will not work anymore. What if you live another 30 years? Or 35 years? Would you have enough savings then?
A simple way to start accumulating wealth would be to assess the state of your finances with your Unicorn Financial Planner, and start investing regularly, bit by bit to accumulate enough savings that can generate the recurrent income you desire.
As we take steps to improve our health, and accumulate our wealth, we minimise the risk of our health getting worse, and maximise the enjoyment we will have in our Golden Years. And CareShield will be the safety net that we will never need to use!
Written by: Lim Shiang Han