The recent report by Moody's Investor Service had shown that Singapore is on its way to becoming a 'super aged' society by 2030. That is about 15 years from now.
The rapid ageing population, according to the report, may slow down our economic growth gradually because of the shrinking of the working age population and the rising dependency which may result in the decline of household savings.
In fact, the ageing economy is a global phenomenon in which fast striving economies today like Japan, Hong Kong, Australia, USA, UK, and even China are facing the same issue.
So, the question is, what can we do now as individuals and businesses in Singapore to prepare ourselves for the silver economy?
The other side of Singapore’s silver economy
Well, on the finance theoretical side, the ageing economy may be viewed as a problem, in terms of increasing funds for long-term care among individuals and there may be fewer consumers with better purchasing powers for businesses.
Well, in order to better prepare our business and ourselves for the sliver economy, we also have to look at the brighter side of this phenomenon. That is to say that the ageing population is not "all day moody" like the report. Here are some good things about the silver economy.
1) The new ageing population is more responsive to changes
The new ageing population which would be 65 years old and above by 2030, is more equipped with better knowledge and work skills such as IT, internet, communication, financial, and others. They are more well-traveled, internet-savvy, and responsive to changes.
The more knowledge we have, the more prepared we are for the unknown. Education to train people and businesses in creating wealth and global customers online will therefore benefit them and the economy in the long run.
2) Better communities in families and societies
There is a Chinese saying, “the elderly in the house are the treasures of the house.” Indeed they are! The elderly parents are usually the ones that bind the family together.
Grandchildren will learn moral values from the grandparents as they spend most time with them; because the elderly parents will usually help their working children to look after the grandchildren while they are away at work.
Moreover, the rate of volunteerism among elderly is also relatively higher because they have more free time during their retirement days. Volunteerism builds up cohesiveness and friendship among communities.
Better communities will therefore boost peace within the country and therefore create a better economy. This is because peace is often one of the important reasons foreign investors will need to see in order to invest in a country.
3) Benefits of the Ageing Consumers' Market
The emphasis of the ageing consumers market would be changed. There may be a rise in healthcare and support business sectors. Recreational sports like golf and swimming may increase. Holidays providers and trips planners will also be on the rise.
Luxury goods sector may not fare well in an ageing population, because grandparents are spending their monies on the grandchildren in terms of toys, food, and fun.
Therefore as entrepreneurs, we may have to see that there will be a shift in our consumer market within another 10 to 15 years' time. Hence, we can start investing on businesses and ideas that may benefit this shift.
The financial or property investment sector in terms of insurance may also increase during these few years as more matured and high-income earners are starting to prepare for their retirement in 10 to 15 years' time.
4) Some things will still remain the same
Tourism is something that will not change that drastically due to an ageing population. This is because people will still travel for holidays and work.
Moreover, Singapore is one of the best, the most convenient and peaceful travel destinations in Asia. Especially when we are facing a global phenomenon of ageing population, travelling to countries that are more peaceful and convenient in terms of transportation and lodging will be frequently demanded.
With strong tourism receipts in place, our economy will therefore become better. There are some airlines and hotels offer special privileges for elderly travelers, and this is a plus point to contribute to the silver economy.
Hence, businesses in the travel or other travel-related sectors such as Food & Beverage and travel products may benefit tremendously as a result.
An ageing economy is not just about disadvantages; it also has its brighter side. And as individuals and businesses, what we can do now is to think and create opportunities for consumers to benefit in the silver economy.
Since the ageing population is a global phenomenon among many economies, what it means is that if the economy can stand out uniquely from the rest despite having ageing population, it will still win.
So, it is really up to us, the businesses and the individuals, to come together to create a cohesive and strong economy despite the rapid ageing population we may have according to the Moody's report.
So, are you ready for the silver economy?
The views expressed in this column are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect this publication's view, and this article is not edited by Singapore Business Review. The author was not remunerated for this article.
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Jacky Tan is a professional marketing writer, blogger, speaker, and the author of 'Social M - How Your Startup Can Take On the Big Boys'. Jacky leads the boutique marketing communications and branding agency, Jack and Chaz Pte Ltd. He specialises in the creation of successful branding, content marketing and pr strategies for companies of any size.