S'pore's millionaires expect to live long, but not prosper

Millionaires here adjusting spending habits, financial plans for long life

Close to half of Singapore's millionaires expect to live to age 100, and this is driving significant changes to their spending, investing and legacy behaviour, a study by UBS has found.

According to UBS Investor Watch Research, 46 per cent of those polled in Singapore expect to live to 100, compared with 53 per cent globally.

The expectation of a long life is creating anxiety, however, as 42 per cent worry that their wealth will not support them till age 100.

Of these, 66 per cent worry about the rising costs of healthcare, and 63 per cent worry about whether they can afford their current lifestyle in retirement.

The finding reflects concerns in Asia, where 45 per cent of respondents worry about their wealth lasting till 100, compared with 21 per cent in Europe.

Investment behaviour is expected to shift as 45 per cent of Singapore's millionaires plan to adjust their long-term financial plans and 46 per cent their spending patterns.

The research surveyed 5,000 millionaires in 10 markets who have at least US$1 million (S$1.3 million) in investable assets (excluding property). The markets included Germany, Hong Kong, the United States and the United Arab Emirates.

In Singapore, 400 individuals were polled between December and this month.

Singapore's average life expectancy, based on World Health Organisation data last year, was 83.1 years, compared with 83.4 years in Switzerland and 83.7 years in Japan.

Mr Hartmut Issel, UBS head of Asia-Pacific equities and credit at its chief investment office, said: "It is heartening to note that many Singaporeans already have a financial plan in place and are adjusting their investment portfolios in preparation for a longer life span.

"We recommend investors start wealth planning early and ensure they have a well diversified investment portfolio."

The silver lining is that almost 80 per cent have a financial plan in place.

For Singaporean millionaires, health is the top priority, with 83 per cent worrying that their health will deteriorate over the next 10 years, and 92 per cent saying investment in their health is more important than growing their wealth.

The average wealthy Singaporean would sacrifice around a third of his wealth today if it could guarantee another 10 years of healthy life.

Most (85 per cent) believe that activity and work have positive effects on health. In fact, 68 per cent expect to work longer than the traditional retirement age to maintain their lifestyle.

On legacy planning, 51 per cent plan to give more away while they are alive. Over half plan to give more to their grandchildren than their children, believing it will be more useful at their stage of life.

On giving, 87 per cent feel a duty to help those less fortunate in society to stay healthy.

They are acting on this as 65 per cent have invested in an area of health to generate a positive social impact. - THE STRAITS TIMES