When Singapore grows old

October 17, 2012
Singapore Democrats

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Singapore Democrats

One of the things that the SDP agreeswith the Government is that Singapore has a rapidly ageingpopulation. And the statistics are alarming.$CUT$

A quick visual inspection of the graph(below) which shows a projection of the populationdemographics of this country will show that those in the baby-boomergeneration will start to retire in 15 to 20 years from now.

There will be a lot more retirees as apercentage of our population than at any point in our history. Infact, one in every four persons in Singapore will be 65 and older by2030.

It is also the generation ofSingaporeans who will have bought their HDB flats at record prices.This means that most will have used their CPF savings, intended foruse in our retirement, to pay for their flats. With a flat and notmuch else, what does one live on?

The natural reaction for many is tosell their flats and downgrade to smaller units, using the profit tofund their retirement.

The problem is that when you have anentire generation of older Singaporeans trying to offload their flatsonto the resale market, there will be a huge supply of flats. With amuch smaller pool of buyers to sell their flats to, supply will bemuch higher than demand and prices will fall.

When prices fall, the profit-margin maybe too small to generate enough funds for the retiree to buy another,albeit smaller, flat. Even if one successfully sells off the flat, isthe profit enough to last one through the sunset years?

With a flat and little else, what arethese older Singaporeans – the ones in their 40s and 50s now – goingto do?

And what kinds of lives are the youngergeneration of Singaporeans going to lead if they have to supportageing parents who have little or no savings. Many couples will eachhave four parents (not to mention children) to look after.

A political party needs to haveforesight and anticipate such events because years will go by veryquickly and if we are not prepared for coming eventualities, ourcountry will be deep in turmoil.

The SDP sees the problem and that iswhy we are coming up with a housing plan and proposing measures thatwill address these dangers and, if implemented, help to avert acrisis.

The PAP sees the problem too. But itssolution is to bring in foreigners so that they can beef up the ranksof the younger generation.

Unfortunately, such a policy does nottake into consideration the effects of a mass and sudden influx ofimmigrants on the local population. More important, what happens whenthese new immigrants start to age? Are we going to importeven more foreigners to support them?

Worse, the PAP continues to push HDBprices higher and higher, forcing Singaporeans to use more and moreof their CPF savings to service their mortgages without thinking ofwhat is going to happen in the future.

In the meantime, the Government israking in hundreds of billions of dollars by selling over-priced HDBflats to Singaporeans. This is one of the reasons why the GIC andTemasek Holdings are choking with money.

The current housing policy is based ona reckless, profit-oriented mindset embedded deep in the PAP’s DNA.

We need to do something about it. Weneed to prevent the PAP’s misguided housing policies from takingSingapore down the road to ruin. We need an alternative.

The SDP will present that alternative in Housing a Nation:Holistic Policies for Affordable Homes. We will announce the details soon.