Chinese see more appeal in retired life

Updated: 2011-06-01 07:24

By Tang Zhihao (China Daily)

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SHANGHAI - The Chinese are more optimistic about their prospects after retirement than people from Western countries, a report said.

The report, which surveyed about 17,800 people employed in 17 countries and regions, found that 67 percent of the Chinese respondents associated their retired life with "freedom".

Of the people polled in countries throughout the world, only 48 percent gave that response on average, said the report, which was released by the HSBC Life Insurance Company Ltd in China on Tuesday.

Chinese see more appeal in retired life

People from Malaysia ranked first in the poll; 69 percent of the respondents from that country said they saw retirement as a time of greater freedom, while only 28 percent of those surveyed in Poland held the same opinion.

The report found that 62 percent of the Chinese respondents believed they would be better off than their parents after retirement. That was the highest percentage recorded for any country except for India. Asians, on the whole, had similar sentiments.

Westerners, for their part, tended to believe that changes in the pension system offered in their home countries will make it harder for younger generations to enjoy pension benefits that are as generous as those that were given to their parents.

Terry Lo, chief executive officer of HSBC Life Insurance Company Ltd, explained: "Changing economic conditions and new trends in the population will have a great effect on people's attitudes about retirement. Prompted by rapid increases in incomes and high saving rates, people in Asian countries will be more optimistic than Westerners."

Despite the optimism, the survey found fewer than half of those surveyed around the world are well-prepared for life after retirement.

In China, more than 40 percent of the respondents said they plan, when they retire, to rely on pension funds run by the government. Few seem to have considered that the amount of money paid by such funds may not be enough to give them an enjoyable life, especially if the inflation rate remains high, some experts said.

In China, the average income paid by government pensions to retirees comes to about 1,000 yuan ($154.35) a month, enough to keep an urban resident from starving but not enough to do much else.

Meanwhile, more than 42 percent of the Chinese respondents said healthcare costs will be a heavy burden on them in retirement. They also worry that, without working full-time, they won't have enough money to take care of their parents.

The government is looking for solutions to these issues. Even so, Lo advised people to plan for their retirements to ensure that, after they cease working, they can maintain the same living standards they enjoy now.


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