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Spotlight on seniors

Spotlight on seniors

The Economic Outlook 2023 released by the Ministry of Finance Malaysia reported that Malaysia’s ageing population is growing at a rate faster than expected. More than 15% of its population will be above the age of 65 by the year 2050. To put this into perspective, The United Nations defines an ageing nation as one where over 7% of the population is 65 years of age.

Did you know? In 2013, the mandatory retirement age in Malaysia was raised from 55 to 60 years old! Through the years, you may have noticed that retirement looks quite different than before. If you have made your own observations, you would have also noticed that though some have passed the age of 60, they continue to work. Perhaps you could see that in your parents and relatives!

Let’s look at what retirement looks like now and what can we do to prepare ourselves for the golden years.


Life expectancy


Life expectancy

The life expectancy of Malaysians has been increasing annually, and continues to show an upward trend for the coming years. Over 20 years ago, life expectancy was up to the early-70s. Now, the life expectancy is getting closer to 80 years of age! Of course, this would mean that there would be healthier seniors who live longer, perhaps until their 90s.

This is likely due to improved public health through technological and medical advances. Food preservation has also improved through the years, and medicine has also become better and more accessible. Not only that, people are also making healthier lifestyle choices. This has definitely enabled people to live longer.


Cost of living


emergency saving

Things were definitely cheaper than they are now. It is clear how the cost of living has risen over the years, so the thought of inflation is not strange or new to us. Not only is this prevalent in the price of groceries, but in many other things like amenities such as electricity, water and gas. All these, when combined, will lead to higher prices in restaurants or when going out. This would also mean going on cruises and holidays would be just as costly. And let’s not talk about the depreciating Ringgit value!

The idea of retirement in the past seemed much simpler and straightforward, and perhaps to some, far more exciting and fun. Now, with living longer and rising costs, comes the need for a good plan on how to best spend those retirement years, whether in simple comfort or luxury.


Healthcare costs


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With age, the probability of dementia and other ailments increases. What more, it is with age that these ones are prone to accidents or falls, and possibly living with existing chronic illnesses. These will continue to persist with longer life expectancy, hence a greater need for healthcare in one’s years of retirement than that of the past.

This may have led to overcapacity in hospitals, shown in the insufficient number of beds and long queues. It could also explain the switch in preference for private hospitals due to its convenience and comfort. Unfortunately, the price of healthcare has also skyrocketed in the past years, which could also mean higher prices in the future for retirees to bear. 


What can we do?


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Looking at the differences retirement was in the past versus the present emphasises the importance of preparing well for when you get older and make your exit from the workforce. You can, however, protect yourself holistically. Holistic health is an approach to one’s whole wellbeing, and looks into physical, financial, mental, emotional and spiritual health.


  • Physical health
    It is important to keep your body fit and also eat a well-balanced diet in your retirement. This will keep you strong from falling ill, and aids in slowing down muscle atrophy which often affects your posture and walking. Being physically healthy means fewer visits to the doctor or hospitals, and reduces need for elderly care in the later years in life. This way, you can enjoy your retirement, traveling leisurely and celebrating milestones of your loved ones. If you are approaching retirement and not done much about your physical health, now is the time!
  • Financial health
    Managing your finances well will have a positive impact in your retirement days. Be it through Takaful, savings, investments, or a combination of those, it will ensure you have enough for geriatric care, hospital visits and treatment, should you be inflicted with any diseases. This may allow you to have enough saved for you and your for your loved ones.
  • Mental & emotional health
    Taking care of our physical health simultaneously allows us to care for ourselves mentally and emotionally, as it assists in releasing endorphins which reduces stress and improves moods. Getting older does not mean you give up on a social life! Surround yourself with loved ones and friends in your retirement by being present to catch up with family members, or even joining a community with shared interests be it in golf, chess, crocheting – you name it!
  • Spiritual health
    Beyond that, spiritual health is equally important. It is also the best time, in retirement, that you can work on your own spiritual journey to prepare for the hereafter. It is in this time you can fully devote yourself to your faith, by doing good deeds unto others.



Retirement is inevitable and to many, scary; but with small simple steps, you may feel a little more at ease growing older and wiser. Despite challenges that may come your way, you will find that is it more beautiful than you think. If you seek to start your journey on improving your health holistically and unsure where to begin, you may begin by weighing options towards a greater financial health leading up to retirement.


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