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Aegon N.V. and Aegon Sony Life Insurance Company presented at the 12th Asia Conference on Pensions & Retirement Planning.
The Asia Insurance Review's 12th Asia Conference on Pensions & Retirement Planning, hosted in Singapore from 14-15 September, with theme "Planning for A Smart Retirement in A Disruptive Era" brought together over 90 regional and global experts from the governments, regulators, insurance industry, pension providers and leaders. Together they shared and discussed ideas on pension reforms and schemes around the world and the region, regulatory issues, longevity risks, innovative solutions for pensions, wealth management, new technologies, and the opportunities and strategies for smart retirement.Manager Retirement Research of Aegon NV, Mike Mansfield, and Specialized Manager Corporate Planning at Aegon Sony Life, Takaoh Miyagawa, jointly presented on the topic of 'A Retirement Wake-Up Call: Findings from China, Japan, India, and Australia'.The Aegon Retirement Readiness SurveyRepresenting the Aegon Center for Longevity and Retirement, Mike and Takaoh presented the latest findings from the 5th annual Aegon Retirement Readiness Survey 2016 which focuses on attitudes and readiness for retirement and calls for a shared solution in which governments, employers, and individuals work together.Mike emphasized, "People's feelings about their retirement readiness are stuck in 1st gear and collectively we need to look at what we can do to change those attitudes. Is it education, tools, and advice? It is apparent that urgent action is needed if we are to help people realize their dreams of a comfortable retirement. A financially secure retirement is one thing, but we also need to make sure that we maintain good health and stay vital as we get older so that we can reach all of our goals."In a short video, made by Aegon and the Leyden Academy for Vitality and Ageing using an old age suit, the audience saw what it is like for a young person to experience some of the common complaints associated with old age. The video is used as part of the Aegon research to raise awareness about what it is like to be an older person, give people a better idea of some of the things people may need to plan for but also provide some tips on how to prevent some of the challenges older people face.Mike explained the findings from the survey and the trend of the Aegon Retirement Readiness Index 'ARRI' which has remained low throughout the 5-year study. Another finding Mike shared, "There is a disparity in retirement readiness among the Asia countries included in the 15 country Aegon survey with Japan achieving the lowest score and India achieving the highest."JapanTakaoh Miyagawa, based in Tokyo shared his insights about how people in Japan are preparing for retirement and why Japan achieved such a low score.He explained, "In the past, public and corporate pensions in Japan were sufficient, and interest rates were high. But now, this is no longer the case, people often don't know what to do and they haven't learned about financial planning because there was no need to think and plan for retirement in the past". When it comes to saving, the Survey found that Japan has one of the highest proportions of people who are not currently saving for retirement although they intend to, coupled with one of the lowest rates of people who say that they are always saving for their retirement. "What needs to change for people to feel more ready in retirement? Habitual saving is critical for success. Many people struggle and savings habits may take some time to change so it is important to identify opportunities to nudge or inspire non-savers to start saving" said Takaoh.In closing, Mike added "There is a long way to go before retirement readiness can be declared 'mission accomplished'. Many workers are heavily dependent on government retirement benefits and are not saving enough on their own or through workplace pension schemes to adequately fund their retirement. We also need to take steps to remain vital and in good health so that we can enjoy the benefits of retirement, whether that is spending time with our friends and family or continuing to work as a way of staying active and keeping our brains alert."Questions from the audience focused on the results from India and Japan. Mention was also made of the Dutch pensions system, which is known to be one of the best in the world. Mike cautioned, "While retirement benefits are very generous in the Netherlands compared to other countries, the ARRI is not as high as might be expected. When people feel they are being taken care of, they may not feel they need to take personal responsibility and as a result may not feel as prepared."Other speakers at the Conference included:• Candy Yuen, CEO, HSBC Insurance (Asia) Limited• Calvin Foo, Regional Head of Partnership Distribution, Group Partnership Distribution, AIA Group• Dr. Tan Hwee-Xian, Lead Research Scientist, SMU-TCS iCity Lab, Singapore Management UniversityPanel TalkingMike Mansfield joined a panel on 'Global Aging & Global Future of Retirement in A Disruptive Era'. During this lively discussion, panelists and members of the audience spoke about what can be done to enable people lead a healthy retirement where they can live independently as long as possible. Technology will play a large role in making this possible, both in terms of how we live our lives and save for retirement. There are opportunities for people from different disciplines and backgrounds to work together so that we can live as we choose in retirement while still keeping the system affordable for all.
Amy Cheung, Marketing Director at Aegon Direct & Affinity Marketing Services Regional Office
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