The Jakarta Post
Most working-age Indonesians dream of having a comfortable retirement life, but only a fraction of them prepare for their future, a recent study has found.
The study, conducted by British multinational banking and financial services firm HSBC in 2018, found that only a third of Indonesians who hope to retire in comfort set aside funds every month in a pension account.
This means that many will have to keep working after they hit retirement age. HSBC Indonesia’s head of wealth management, Steven Suryana, said the study revealed that nine out of 10 people expect to work during their retirement years to increase their income.
“About 87 percent out of 1,050 respondents in Indonesia said they would take some kind of action to recover their standard of living following retirement, either by starting a business, rent out a spare room, going back to work or dipping into their savings,” he said during a press briefing event in Jakarta.
In addition, nearly 76 percent of respondents hope their children will support them financially when they retire.
Aside from providing for their parents, these children must support their own family, their children, siblings or other younger family members. This situation has created what is often called a “sandwich generation” – a generation that is stuck in the middle.
According to the cofounder and vice CEO of financial consulting firm Jouska Indonesia, Indah Hapsari Arifiaty, people in this group usually come from middle-income class families who enjoy enough income to support their family members but struggle to have their own savings or prepare for their own future.
“These people struggle to grow financially; they often find it hard to own some assets and invest for their own future because they have a lot of people that depend on them,” she told The Jakarta Post, adding that many of them end up putting their children in the same situation.
Herwina “Wina” Wahyutami said she doesn’t want to see her children suffer the same fate as hers. The 29-year-old marketing officer at a private company in Jakarta uses all her income to provide for her family following her father’s sudden death in 2013.
Her role changed instantly from daughter to breadwinner.
“I didn’t have any choice because my mom is a stay-at-home mother, while my siblings were still in university,” she recalled.
They would later depend on her for their daily needs and to pay for their school tuition.
Although she realizes the importance of saving money for the future, she has struggled to do so and was forced to secure a second job to make ends meet.
“So, it became really hard for me to find a little extra to save for my own future,” she said.
She conceded that she had tried to have a savings account, but it always ended up empty at one point because of her huge expenses. Fortunately, she finally found a way to save and invest for her future last year as her siblings had finally finished their schooling and started working.
Besides saving money in an account, she said, she started investing in mutual funds for her retirement.
“I wouldn’t decline if [my future children] wanted to give me money, but at least my own investment can help me become financially independent when I’m old,” she said.
Indah from Jouska acknowledged the struggles the sandwich generation faced in saving up for the future but urged them to start saving and investing as early as possible.
“They shouldn’t worry about the amount because as long as they start early, they would have enough time to build their savings and investments as time goes by,” she said, adding that investing early could also help their children avoid the sandwich generation trap in the future.
For those who have started investing, she suggested investing their money in riskier instruments like stocks as they would have adequate time to recover from the possible loss and earn more money to invest in the future.
Moreover, she said, the big return that riskier instruments give would give them enough capital to diversify their investment into something that needs bigger capital to invest in, like property.
Ashmore Asset Management Indonesia head of sales and distribution Steven Satya Yudha also reminded young working Indonesian to buy insurance for their own protection.
That way, he said, they won’t have to worry about paying for medical bills, even after retirement.
Head of bancassurance Allianz Indonesia Tahir Safuddin said many insurance companies also offered unit-linked insurance packages so their clients could invest and grow their money while being protected.
By investing early and having enough protection, Steven of HSBC Indonesia said these people could achieve their dreams of living comfortably and become “crazy rich retirees”.