The global pandemic that hit the world has changed all aspects of our life. Besides the health and human loss that is caused by COVID-19, it has also impacted the economy quite severely.
Efforts by the government to curb the pandemic by imposing Movement Control Order (MCO) have a great impact on businesses and individuals. Many companies have closed shop and many individuals saw their income greatly reduced.
To help Malaysians, the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) rolled out three withdrawal retirement income initiatives namely i-Lestari, i-Sinar and i-Citra. The pandemic has clearly disrupted the cash flow of individuals affected by lockdown and economic slowdown.
A total of RM101.1 billion EPF withdrawals have been made and there are now 54% or 4.4 million members who have less than RM10,000 savings in their EPF.
This leads us to the question; can we save for retirement in this post-pandemic era?
A Long Term Game
Saving for retirement is a lifelong journey. Many Malaysians put their savings for retirement plans on-hold as they struggle for the past few years.
A survey conducted by the Private Pension Administrator (PPA) highlighted that 80.1% of respondents who are facing financial challenges were rethinking their retirement plans and goals, while 19.2% of respondents want to resume saving once they have achieved financial stability.
Government approval on EPF withdrawals should not be the only solution to ease an individual’s burden. To alleviate the difficulties of the rakyat, the government must create more funding schemes or come out with other forms of assistance rather than approving the withdrawals from retirement funds.
This will be a huge problem in the future, as many are left with very little once they retire.
The country is now rebuilding its economy, our borders have reopened, and many people are going back to work. Even the traffic jams are getting worse.
If you are badly affected and have exhausted the means from your EPF, it is about time to start filling in your retirement funds. We can see the light at the end of the tunnel, just need to persevere a little bit more.
About the Author
Nur Aiziera Sukman completed her Masters in Quality & Productivity Improvement from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia in 2007. She has more than 10 years of experience in the Financial Services industry and specializes in understanding financial planning needs and develop customized plans to suit retail and corporate client.
In 2019 she pursued her professional certificate in Certified Financial Planner from Financial Planning Association of Malaysia and continued her study in Islamic Financial Planner from IFBIM and received the IFP Certificate in 2021. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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