According to a recent study commissioned by Prudential, which polled around 250* HNW women aged 35 and older in Singapore, nearly 30 percent are not confident that they are fully on track to achieve their retirement goals. This is despite having personal wealth of almost S$2 million, comprising of savings and investments across various instruments such as real estate, stocks and bonds. Why do they feel this way?
Having insufficient knowledge about wealth management is a possible reason. Close to half* of the participants surveyed identified this as a source of their financial insecurity. Angeline Alexander, who heads the HNW and Affluent customer segments at Prudential Singapore, agrees. She says that there is a “strong interest [among HNW women] in acquiring knowledge about wealth accumulation and wealth transfer,” which indicates that women are proactively taking steps towards accruing knowledge about wealth management — perhaps due to a lack of experience or mastery in this area.
Jacqueline Chua, President of the Financial Women’s Association of Singapore, believes that women should challenge the outdated norm that they are insecure when managing their own money. Picking up financial know-how is a great way to start. “It’s okay to make mistakes,” she advises. “Don’t be afraid to try and learn [wealth management] at any age because it’s never too late”.
Undeniably, the COVID-19 pandemic has adversely impacted confidence, with nearly eight in ten* women being more cautious now when making investments. Common concerns include not being able to sell their assets in time, especially properties, or being compelled to let them go at a loss due to a weaker market —particularly during emergencies when cash is urgently required.
But many already have their eyes on the future. “Wealth does not refer to the assets or cash that you have today. It means, will I be able to sustain a comfortable lifestyle like today in the event that there is a severe change in life circumstances?” says Jean Foo, Managing Director of Forte Law
Angeline has a solution for this: take proper and preventive steps to ensure the continuity of your wealth. “By placing more emphasis on protecting wealth, and doing so early in one’s life, we can safeguard our hard-earned savings from unforeseen risks”.
When it comes to ensuring that you have enough wealth for the future, retirement is a topic that often surfaces. This begs the question — how much should you ideally save for a comfortable retirement?
For many HNW women, that magic number is five*; most of them have an ambitious retirement wealth target that is five times their current wealth — perhaps prompted by a rising cost of living.
While priorities tend to shift over time, wealth preservation is a consistent aim irrespective of age. Angeline agrees. It’s “equally critical to preserve what you amass,” she believes.
With 76 percent* reviewing their wealth management plans and 61 percent* more likely to explore insurance options, insurance has emerged as a viable alternative to more traditional methods of accumulating and preserving wealth.
“I have a comprehensive portfolio of insurance, from hospitalisation to legacy planning for my children and my children’s children,” explains Jacqueline. “The wealth that I have will be used to take care of myself in retirement. As much as we try to guide our children, we do not know what financial position they are going to be in when they are in their 20s, 30s, 40s and so on. We can’t predict that, so we need to make sure that our bases are adequately covered to the best of our abilities.”
Jean shares Jacqueline’s sentiments. “Hospitalisation, mortgage, term and life insurance — all these are important because the last thing you want is to become a burden to the people around you.” Insurance has seemingly changed from a good-to-have to a must-have, mainly because it provides policyholders with peace of mind.
“With rising lifespans and women living longer than men in general, we want to support our female clients in planning better for their retirement so that they can enjoy the possibilities that a longer life presents,” says Angeline. “As such, we will focus on delivering targeted programmes for our female clients to help them meet their financial goals, in addition to the wealth and legacy planning programmes we have been offering to our Opus customers.”
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1Information obtained from Aon’s Client Insight APAC Market Sizing Model and Report dated January 2021; information is accurate as of 31 December 2020