RM1mil needed for retirement

Plan early: Malaysians need to strategise to increase their retirement savings to meet the ‘bare minimum’ needed to live adequately. — AZHAR MAHFOF/The Star

SHAH ALAM: Those retiring in 20 to 30 years will need to have at least RM900,000 to RM1mil, says Employees Provident Fund’s (EPF) chief strategy officer Nurhisham Hussein.

This would be the “bare minimum” after factoring inflation and medical bills, among others, he said.

For those retiring in the next few years, he said it would take about RM600,000 to have a “dignified” retirement in Kuala Lumpur.

“When you look at the RM600,000 savings threshold, only about 4% of Malaysians could afford to retire.

“It is a little lower outside of the Klang Valley,” he said.

Nurhisham said the RM600,000 could only cover ordinary outpatient medical needs or visits to general practitioners and not any major medical needs.

Based on EPF’s calculation, he said Alor Setar was the cheapest place to have a comfortable retirement.

But even in Alor Setar, a person would need RM480,000 to retire there, which is twice the basic threshold for retirement savings of RM240,000, he said in an interview.

He also pointed out that Malaysia is a rapidly ageing society.

Nurhisham said some 56% contributors, who are 54 years old, have less than RM50,000.

With RM50,000, he said one can only sustain for a little over four years, assuming that their expenses amount to RM1,000 a month.

Currently, about 52% EPF members have less than RM10,000 in their accounts while about 27% have less than RM1,000.

“That’s rather worrying. Obviously I think the withdrawals have had a significant impact on retirement adequacy,” he said.

Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, about 22% members met the basic requirement saving but the numbers fell to 14% after several rounds of special withdrawal schemes namely i-Sinar, i-Lestari, i-Citra and most recently the special withdrawal facility of RM10,000.

Deputy Finance Minister I Datuk Mohd Shahar Abdullah had told Dewan Negara last month that in total, RM145bil was withdrawn by EPF members under the four withdrawal facilities.

He also said overall, the impact of these programmes related to Covid-19 on members’ savings was estimated at RM155bil, comprising RM145bil withdrawn by members under the four withdrawal programmes, and almost RM10bil from the impact of the employee share statutory contribution rate reduction programme.

In a survey by an insurance company, Sun Life Malaysia, 4% of respondents said they no longer have enough in their EPF accounts to make a withdrawal.

On what can be done, Nurhisham said multiple sources of savings and investments would now be needed in addition to EPF savings.

EPF was also pushing for people to open an account with the retirement fund early on and not necessarily wait until they start working formally, he said.

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Employees Provident Fund , EPF , retirement


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