It all started with an invitation.
We (Clearly Surely) were most pleasantly surprised to be invited to cover a media briefing of a survey conducted about Singaporean’s thoughts on Old Age and Aged Care. It was titled: Supporting Singaporeans’ Aspirations for Aged Care.
Of course we didn’t waste any time sending the affirmation email. A chance to get out of our stuffy office? For an entire morning, no less. Yes please, thank you very much.
Shout out to the nice folks at NTUC Income and their PR agency (Hill and Knowlton).
Upon reaching the venue, something we saw made us feel today was going to be absolutely special.
Once seated in front of our custom placard and feeling quite important, the media briefing began shortly after. And this is what we garnered out of it all.
A Survey (By The Nielsen Company)
The Nielsen Company (A Market Research Agency) was commission by NTUC Income and The Lien Foundation (Philanthropic House based in Singapore, founded by Mr Lien Ying Chow) to conduct a survey to ascertain Singaporeans’ aspirations and concerns about growing old.
Why is growing old such a big deal to us? Because by 2030, the senior population (those aged 65 and above) is expected to reach over 900,000.
The survey comprised of responses from nearly 1000 Singaporeans and PRs – making it a pretty comprehensive one.
Among the avalanche of insights and findings, these were the results that really stood out:
8 in 10 people are concerned about aging
This was reported online by the Straits Times here. Growing old probably means more illnesses, lesser mobility, and even fewer teeth. We would be worried too.
3 in 4 People wish to Age in Place
To age in place means to be able to continue living in one’s home or community safely and comfortably. This seems to be a reasonable figure – who wants to be uprooted and made to settle in an unfamiliar place in their 70s? I too don’t want to uproot and settle in a strange place, and I’m in my thirties. (Early, early, thirties if you really want to know)
6 in 10 people rather stay in Single or Twin bed rooms (Compared to common rooms with 6 or more beds)
We’re nodding as we see this. 6 bed dormitory style bunks are fun – only if you are a student below 25 and love to party. Unfortunately, many of the nursing homes we know of are configured like this, presumably to save space and reduce cost.
Less than 3 in 10 people are confident to fund their Aged Care Needs
This to us is the zinger, despite 2/3 of all respondents below 60 claiming to save actively for retirement. Only 30% of these people have bought a retirement policy (we can’t comment on its adequacy) and the remaining 70% intend to use their savings, investments, or CPF for retirement needs.
This is probably where most of the worry stems from. Uncertainty over future costs.
Highest Amount willing to be paid to stay in Assisted Living Facilities: $1745 /mth
Assisted Living Facilities are meant for folks in relatively good health, but require some assistance in living (probably more than just opening ketchup bottles). The highest amount willing to be paid among the respondents was $1745 a month, and this result came from the youngest group (those aged 30 – 44)
For reference, a typical nursing home (far more intensive care provided) costs $2000 – $3000 a month.
While we noticed the other correspondents going gaga over this figure (presumably to protest its validity), we sat back sagely and enjoyed our coffee. The simplest (and probably correct) explanation is: Singaporeans are not willing to pay up – until we have no choice.
Case in point. If we polled drivers on the highest amount they were willing to pay for owning a car, that amount would likely be way lower than our latest COE prices. What we say we are willing to pay is quite different from the actual amount we shell out in the end.
Especially when reality hits us like a brick wall.
A Product (By NTUC Income)
So surveys are meant to provide insights and information, but they are pointless if the information is not used to do something.
Fortunately, the good people at NTUC Income shared this view and came up with a specific anti-aging Term Insurance product called Silver Secure.
What it is
A Term plan specifically targeted to address the costs of aging.
What it does
Provides a monthly income of up to $6000 a month if the policy holder is diagnosed with either:
Blindness (Loss of sight)
Major head trauma
Paralysis (Loss of use of limbs)
Intermediate stage Parkinson’s disease
Intermediate stage Alzheimer’s disease or dementia
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
Severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
Collectively these are called Senior Diseases (old people are very likely to be afflicted with them).
The monthly income continues till the policy owner reaches 100 years of age or passes away.
On top of the monthly income, upon diagnosis of any of these diseases, the policy pays out a lump sum of 6X the monthly income.
- A lump sum of up to 3X the monthly income if the policy holder experiences specific health conditions related to age.
- A death benefit of up to $10,000
- Access to more affordable care benefits from NTUC’s preferred healthcare providers. These discounted health care services and packages can significantly reduce expenses.
It’s common for other plans to cover some or most of these conditions. But what makes Silver Secure stand out?
It has a more “relaxed” underwriting procedure, specifically tailored to cater those in their middle ages and beyond. For this group of people, certain ailments such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels are pretty common – and other plans commonly decline to cover these types of applicants, or load them to a significant degree.
Silver Secure underwriting accepts these people gladly at the new “Standard” rate.
Yes you read that right. People with certain pre-existing conditions are going to be accepted at normal rates.
A different world out there now.
A Decision (By all of us)
With the coffee mug empty and the journalists streaming out, what remains of all this media hype? Will it be a survey meant to generate 2 minutes of awareness – and then consigned to history as “yet another survey”?
The most important thing left to do is up to you, gentle reader. You need to make a decision. As do all of us.
Shall we continue to fret about growing old? Or to take concrete steps to address that worry?
We know the right decision.
To find out more about NTUC Income’s latest offering Silver Secure, head on down to their site for more information.
Silver Secure is the latest product in their Silver series, specially meant to target financial concerns over aging. SilverCare and Silver Protect were the products previously launched.
Last but not Least
We are continually amazed at the hospitality and openness of the folks at NTUC Income. We appreciate the opportunity to give coverage to this event and product launch.
Special thanks to Mr Ken Ng, CEO of NTUC Income, and members of the NTUC family who patiently answered our questions that day. I remain a fan of his candor.
www.ClearlySurely.com aims to eradicate the knowledge gap between consumers and Life Insurance. Our Vision is that one day, every Man, Woman, and Child will be properly insured.