At this year's Asia Insurance Review's Conference on Pensions & Retirement Planning, Manager of Research at Aegon, Mike Mansfield, revealed the keys to a successful retirement.
Mr Mansfield opened the session with a demonstration using an 'old age suit', which helps simulate some of the conditions experienced later in life, such as impaired vision, muscle attrition, and shaking.
Commenting on his experience wearing the suit, Editorial Director at the Asia Insurance Review, Benjamin Ang said, "More people should try this. Getting a taste of how it feels to be aged is going to make more people think harder about pensions and retirement planning."
Health in older age is a concern for the majority of people, but poor healthy later in life is closely linked to what people do in their younger years to maintain good health. "The old age suit is a great tool to help people visualize what it is like to be an older person," said Mike Mansfield. "We wanted to get people thinking about their needs as an older person and, on a more positive note, what they can do today to prevent some of the illnesses and frailties associated with old age."
What determines a successful retirement?
Mr Mansfield also explained the ingredients to a successful retirement: "Retirement has become an active stage of life where people aspire to stay socially connected, participate in their communities, and remain economically active. The keys to achieving a successful retirement where people can achieve their aspirations are healthy aging and financial security. "
Takaoh Miyagawa, Specialized Manager Corporate Planning, Aegon Sony Life in Japan, shared how people in Japan are preparing for retirement: "How does it feel for a county to be old? The world is aging and Japan is the first runner. Yet Japan ranks at the bottom of both retirement readiness and self-reported health rankings."
In Japan the household savings ratio has been very low in recent years. Aegon's 2017 Retirement Readiness survey findings suggest that they know they have to do something for their retirement but they the lack of financial knowledge to take the necessary actions.
Conversely the Japanese are very healthy with one of the highest healthy life expectancies of all the countries surveyed by Aegon, but respondents failed to see this. "Firstly, the Japanese are modest and have low self-esteem," explained Mr Miyagawa. "Secondly many people around them are quite healthy so they just don't realize how healthy they are. Thirdly, with the annual mandatory complete medical examination they know too much about their health condition, which may cause them unnecessary concern."
On a positive note, however, he does point out that among the Japanese those who say they are in excellent or good health achieve higher retirement readiness scores."
For more detailed findings, see the detailed Aegon Retirement Readiness Survey 2017.