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24 July 2024

Future of Retirement 2016: UAE residents ready to cash out, to cash in?

By Shuchita Kapur

A nice healthy nest (whether in dollars of dirhams) and good health are two obvious ways to make sure your post-work life is a happy one.
These very factors are the impending blocks for UAE expats who they reach their ‘golden’ age without their monthly pay cheque coming in.
HSBC’s The Future of Retirement 2016 report highlights that majority of residents in the UAE are facing the risk of going into retirement with health issues that could prevent them from fulfilling the aspirations they have for later life.
Nearly eight out of ten pre-retirees in the UAE (78 per cent) say lack of free time (37 per cent) and work commitments (34 per cent) are preventing them from leading a healthier lifestyle.
As a result of which, almost half (46 per cent) of the working age population believe that poor health will make saving for their retirement more difficult.
With over half of UAE pre-retirees (61 per cent) unable to predict how much they are likely to spend on healthcare in retirement, the study reveals that unless working age people take practical steps to improve their wellbeing, they risk being financially unprepared for a comfortable retirement, especially with other life events coming in the way.
“Not surprisingly, pre-retirees and retirees are concerned that poor health will affect them in retirement especially in terms of their ability to take care of others (33 per cent), their mobility (33 per cent) and their ability to work (33 per cent).

“On the financial side, the majority of working-age people are unable to predict how much they will spend on healthcare in retirement, which can turn out to be a considerable amount.

“The number of people spending on healthcare nearly doubles as they grow older; for instance, 16 per cent of 25-34 year olds say they spend money on prescriptions and medicines, and 15 per cent on doctors and dieticians, as opposed to 34 per cent and 36 per cent respectively of those aged above 55 years that say they do so,” the report adds.
According to Zurich International Life data 47.5 per cent of UAE residents are overweight with a BMI between 25 and 30; and another 13 per cent are obese with a BMI of over 30.

The average BMI in the UAE is 25.6; meaning the average UAE resident is overweight.

Excessive fat intake and a sedentary lifestyle are the main causes behind this growing problem.
With this comes diseases such as diabetes, coronary and cardiovascular conditions and hypertension, which can be kept in control with the right and heathy choices.
Any kind of medication taken is a financial toll and this becomes even more painful when retirees are not prepared to pay the bills.
A previous research released by Zurich International Life, revealed the retirement aspirations of many residents in the UAE are under threat due to a lack of retirement planning.
The survey, which was conducted by YouGov, shows that 46 per cent of the residents hope to retire before the age of 60 and 36 per cent expect to live in retirement between 10 and 20 years with another 39 per cent expecting to be retired for over 20 years.
The desire to stop working earlier does not match the financial planning that it requires.
The research reveals that 63 per cent of respondents are not confident they are saving enough for retirement; this figure rises to 75 per cent for Arab expats who are the most concerned about their pension provision and is lowest among Western expats (52 per cent).
A previous report by HSBC also pointed in the same direction.
The bank’s global retirement report early this year showed the UAE has the highest proportion of people globally (55 per cent) that feel unprepared for retirement because they didn’t start saving early enough.