Category Archives: Think Piece

We deliver insights on trends, practices and ideas about senior living and aged care.

6 Affordable Ways To Build Personal Independence In Aged Care

The task of caring for an aging parent or a loved one can be intensely overwhelming, emotionally and financially, and the current infrastructure of healthcare service delivery in Malaysia can at times aggravate the situation further.

Some of these hitches in the healthcare service delivery might already be familiar to you: long waiting periods at public hospitals, crowded waiting areas, problems with accessibility, additional spending for travelling and the high cost of private healthcare.

Bearing witness to an aging parent or loved one’s physical or mental deterioration is never easy, especially when you recall the days when you were the recipient of their care. In either case, we want peace of mind from the assurance that we have got all our bases covered for ourselves and our loved ones in terms of safety and comfort.

Today, new technologies have created new possibilities – from aged-friendly communities to products and services – to reduce isolation and enhance quality of life without compromising the main thing today’s aging population are most interested in: independence and living with dignity.

Here are some ways the aging parent can still be independent and how much the independence could cost:


1. ICE – in case of emergency

Screen Shot 2016-06-15 at 1.45.17 PMCaregivers lose sleep over the well-being of their charge, but with this app, they may be able to get the peace of mind they need. In an emergency, the ICE app is a convenient and useful way to store essential information.

The free app allows you to record information regarding your medication, diseases (if any), allergies and other health-related information, in addition to a list of your emergency contacts.

Another feature of the app is the ability to create multiple profiles, which is useful for compiling a database of medical information about your family members or other loved ones as well. With the information obtained from the app, doctors can quickly assess your condition and apply more accurate solutions in the event of an emergency.

With a quick tap of the alarm button, an SMS is sent to your emergency contacts during a critical situation, containing data collected from your mobile phone and your location via GPS. It also allows you to store your health insurance policy number.

  • Name: ICE
  • Type: App
  • Operating system: Android
  • Price: Free
  • Name: Smart-ICE
  • Type: App
  • Operating system: iOS
  • Price: RM4

2. Alert Family Emergency Button

Screen Shot 2016-06-15 at 1.45.11 PMPair ICE with the Alert app and you will have a personal digital telehealth monitoring. There is a similar emergency notification function that sends an SMS of your location to three of your contacts by merely tapping the Alert button or shaking your phone to activate it.

However, unlike ICE, it doesn’t store your medical information but it does simultaneously call your selected contacts and attempt to initiate a voice conference call to troubleshoot your situation. This is especially useful to guide your family or friends through steps they need to take if there is an emergency.

  • Name: Alert Family Emergency Button
  • Type: App
  • Operating system: Android & iOS
  • FREE version: 3 phone calls only
  • Full version: No call restrictions – RM40/month or RM400/year

Doctor Checkups


Screen Shot 2016-06-15 at 1.45.04 PMTelehealth is a growing aspect in aged care but for Malaysians, we do still want to have the personal touch from a doctor to examine our condition, especially for specialised treatments.

While it’s not an app, is a free and useful website for you to get connected with a doctor.
Gone are the days where finding a specialist is a trial and error routine based on hearsay. allows you to search for a clinic or a specialist near you or anywhere in Malaysia. Essentially, the site provides information to help you make informed decisions when choosing your medical or healthcare service provider.

You can view the doctor’s experience, patient reviews and the quality of the clinics or facilities. You can personally chat with their Care Team for real time answers to your enquiries. Their operational hours are from 9am to 6:30pm.

This really comes into handy if you are travelling to a new place with your aging parents, as it allows the caregiver or the charge to look for the right doctor in case of emergency. Though is free to use, medical fees for consultation, treatment, and other services rendered by the selected clinic or doctor are still applicable.

  • Name:
  • Type: Website
  • Price: Free to use service

4. Doctor2U: Get a doctor

Screen Shot 2016-06-15 at 1.44.53 PMEven if your parent or your loved one does not need full-time care, living alone can be dangerous if one is not prepared for emergency.

The Doctor2U is a useful app to have on your phone to acquire medical assistance for non-life threatening cases. Doctor2U allows you to request for a visit from a certified doctor at the tap of a button.

The visiting doctor will arrive at your location in 60 minutes to diagnose, treat and prescribe the medication you require and follow up with you the next day. You have the option to choose whether the doctor is required for an adult or child. Upon acceptance, a doctor will attend to you. In the event of a life-threatening medical emergency, you would need to call 999 for medical assistance.

This especially useful for those who are living alone (aging or not), as something a fever can render us unable to drive to the clinic and back. With this app, you don’t have to leave your home and still get treated by a doctor.

  • Name: Doctor2U
  • Type: App
  • Platform: Android & iOS
  • Price of app: Free
  • Fee for services:
    -RM250 for visits between 8am to 8pm
    -RM420 from 8pm to 8am
    * Not including additional medication prescribed by the attending doctors

The app works similarly to how Uber, the ride-sharing app. Payments to the doctors would be done electronically using PayPal Braintree. This ensures that you are aware of the breakdown of the fees, as an email of the receipt and a medical summary report will be sent to you after every service.

Currently, Doctor2u is only operational in Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Ipoh and Johor and the service is available 24 hours, seven days a week.

Concierge services

5. Bemalas

Screen Shot 2016-06-15 at 1.44.43 PMAs age progresses, running a simple errand outside of home can pose a great danger for your aging parent.

However, with Bemalas, an electronic personal butler, you don’t have to worry about the smaller daily tasks. The app is a Malaysian service that gives you the freedom to go about your daily routine at home while Bemalas attends to the errand you requested of them.

You can communicate with Bemalas through SMS at 012-643 1303 or chat with them through their app, website or Facebook page. You can request for a variety of errands, be it getting your medication, party planning, meal delivery or even an IT tutorial on how to use your smartphone or tablet.

They ensure your approval prior to proceeding with your request and will let you know if there are any issues with it. The charges of each task vary depending on complexity on top of their base fee. Bemalas operates from 9am-9pm nationwide daily.

  • Name: Bemalas
  • Type: App
  • Platform: Android & iOS
  • Price of app: Free
  • Fee for services: Charges vary depending on the task


6. Uber and Grab (MyTeksi)

Screen Shot 2016-06-15 at 1.53.07 PMMobility issues and getting around town becomes more difficult with age. With credible service providers like Uber and Grab (MyTeksi) to help with travelling without the issues of navigating traffic yourself or finding a parking lot, transportation is no longer an issue.

Uber charges a base fare of RM0.95, RM2.50 and RM3 – based respectively on their low (uberX), medium (uberXL), and high tier (uberBLACK) range of vehicles – in addition to the fare based on the distance and time you take to reach your destination.

Grab (MyTeksi) currently charges on a fixed rate basis with a base fare of RM4 and RM1.40 for the Premium and Economy ride respectively. For both providers, prior to confirming your ride, the estimated price is already calculated based on the base fare, distance between the two points, and estimated time taken to travel that distance.

  • Name: Uber & Grab (MyTeksi)
  • Type: App
  • Platform: Android & iOS
  • Price of app: Free
  • Fee for services: Fares depend on time and distance

A better flow of continuum care

The ‘uberisation’ of products and services has changed the game for traditional service providers, creating a generation of products and services that now empowers individuals via technology. It especially makes access to the provision of caregiving and personal independence more easily attainable.

The combination of the suggested apps gives a taste of the personal empowerment from having a custom-made service delivery network. However, this is only sufficient if you are an active retiree. Even then, putting aside factors of unexpected events, there is still room for human error when it comes to managing your own care.

The flow of caregiving from family members, especially when they are not professionally trained, can be disrupted due to emotions running high. In that moment, they may not necessarily decide on the optimal course of action.

Hence, it would be a good investment to have an experienced and objective third party as your Care Manager – backed by an array of resources, who can help you make informed decisions and execute them – to help ensure that you or your loved one receive the best care available in a continuous flow. The Care Manager can even help source for available and alternative options for you to mitigate obstacles – such as a crisis arising from a lack of funds for your care.

By having a Care Manager assist in shouldering some of the responsibilities, you will be able to gain a greater measure of respite and reassurance, knowing that your care or that of your loved ones is in good hands.



Disclaimer: The following is the opinion of the writer and the recipient acknowledges that Aged Care Group Sdn Bhd and its associated companies are unable to exercise control to ensure or guarantee the integrity of/over the contents of the information contained.


First Published in, May 9, 2016


The 6 Attributes of an Innovative Service Delivery in Aged Care

This is Sean’s journal entry No. 2: the previous deliberations regarding being financially secure to pay the cost of healthcare leads me to the second part of the aged care conundrum in Malaysia: The delivery of service.

In his commentary of property trends in Malaysia (Oct 13, 2015), UOA Asset Management’s CEO, Kong Sze Choon, stated that more than just nursing homes, aged care also refers to adequate housing, healthcare and medical services, community and leisure facilities that meet the needs of the elderly. The challenge is in providing world-class medical and healthcare for the elderly.

Simply put, a binding agent for a refined service delivery system is one that is capable of consolidating and delivering the necessary facilities, technology and services to assist in connecting the elderly, and, by extension, people with disabilities, with the services they need. So, what does an innovative service delivery in aged care look like?

According to The World Health Organisation (November 2014 survey), a well-functioning health system has a network of service delivery that possesses six attributes that characterises it as innovative. These attributes are: Comprehensiveness, accessibility, continuity, people-centredness, co-ordination, and accountability & efficiency. Together they form a coherent approach that acts as the driving principle for the health care delivery system.

Bearing these factors in mind, a service delivery network which functions on the aforementioned six attributes is particularly critical to prevent and manage functional and cognitive decline – further aggravated by the aforementioned challenges in Malaysia’s case – which older populations are increasingly experiencing as they live longer. Furthermore, it also encourages a lifestyle that would naturalise ageing-in-place, thereby reducing the physical and financial challenges inherent in long-term hospitalisation.

Just as the likes of Uber, AirBnB and Kaodim have revolutionised the model of their respective industries’ service delivery, aged care too requires a similar remodelling. The age of individual sectors in Malaysia – providing their respective services in isolation – will not be sustainable to keep up with the impending “silver” tsunami. A new formula of comprehensivity of services and information is unquestionably necessary to meet the evolving demand of care needs that even now rolls in with the first waves of the ageing phenomenon. Rod Young from Australia’s Aged Care Industry IT Council stated that healthcare providers should recognise that good clinical care, good management and good data are essential to the performance of their organisation (ICT in Aged Care, Oct 26, 2015).

By “Uberising” the service delivery network’s platform, the nature of accessibility to care services is transformed and new avenues of cost-saving solutions are made possible as information on technology, products and services – along with transparency of pricing – is made more easily available. Consumers would be able to find and rely on new solutions – such as ageing-in-place technology, home care and multi-generational housing – for their care needs that adapt to their lifestyle instead of standard options that are typically cost-heavy and restrictive in allowing independence.

Glenn Payne, CIO of Feros Care in Australia, predicted that self-directed care would be the next big innovation in the aged care business with clients being able to pick who they want from a provider that connects everyone (Adopting ICT in Aged Care, Aug 31, 2015). Ageing-in-place options would be especially attractive as services such as telehealth – a collection of means or methods using telecommunication to deliver virtual medical, health, and education services – would make it a viable alternative. The elderly could retain constant communication with their doctors for monitoring and follow-ups via telehealth devices while in the comfort of their own home, negating the extra cost incurred by hospital stays and travelling.

Considering the cycle of retirement, inevitably as people move from an active retirement lifestyle to their final phase of life, the service delivery network needs to follow the elderly’s transition into each phase, smoothly integrating various resources in a seamless and continuous flow. From independent living to assisted living, and finally dependent living, the network must be able to act as a central hub that is not only capable of providing continuous care for each stage, but also enable the elderly to find sustainable options and resources to continue having access to care, mitigating obstacles arising from the depletion of funds.

The World Economic Forum stated that many baby boomers don’t like what they see when they come into contact with the aged care system, be it from personal experience or assisting their own parents, and they want improvements. They want better food in residential aged care, aged-friendly communities and pathways to be built or maintained so they can continue to walk safely in their communities (Why Aged Care Needs an Uber Moment, Nov 19, 2015).

Essentially, the service delivery network must be people-centred in its approach and structure, creating or packaging services that people want to use and have access to, that provides support to ultimately enable consumers – the elderly and individuals with disabilities – to remain independent. People should feel dignified by using these services, not ashamed for needing them. It has to build a life-affirming culture that empowers people, encourages social engagement, and brings generations together.

Elaborating on Rod Young’s earlier statement, co-ordination is the fifth attribute, and it characterises an innovative service delivery network. As the central hub, the network plays a key role of co-ordinating the flow of information between organisations. By connecting a person’s points of care to a central hub, service providers will able to define and administer more appropriate solutions by accessing the same data and level of detail concerning the client’s medical condition (IT and E Strategy and Action Plan, July 2014).

This is where information and communication technologies (ICT), such as telehealth, would be essential to assist in spinning the co-ordination cogwheel. With the growing access to fast broadband connections, video and monitoring technologies are expected to create greater engagement between healthcare providers and clients themselves in a variety of settings, including their own homes.

Accountability & Efficiency
As a binding agent that consolidates healthcare resources, accountability and efficiency is the final essential attribute needed in establishing best practice strategies when matching clients with the relevant service providers – pre-screened to ensure quality standards are met – and appropriately centralising records. This is to optimise the best use of financial resources, maximise medical information accuracy and avoid duplication, and lift overall productivity. This would provide further cost savings for the client and increase the providers’ efficiency in meeting their needs. Hence, the elderly or disabled person can avoid situations that incur unnecessary spending such as undergoing several consultations with different doctors before meeting the one suitable for their care needs.

Getting on-board
There is still a long way to go before Malaysia’s aged care service delivery network is a smoothly running engine, but there are significant opportunities. When innovative products and services are produced and assimilated into the network, the potential of improved engagement between service providers, clients and families will open up pathways to exponential growth in business and quality of life for consumers.


First Published in Smart Investor, April 2016, Issue 312

To Spend or To Save: Are My Money Habits Putting Me At Risk?

This is the first journal entry of Sean, your average neighbourhood Joe from a middle income family and the only child of ageing parents, living in suburban KL. Thus far, I am able to make enough income to support my parents and continue Maria’s employment to look after my parents and manage the house.

I used to think I had all my financial bases covered thanks to a steady job and smart decisions on investments that paid off. I thought I had a solid plan to achieve my vision of a blissful retirement the moment I could make my full pension withdrawal at 55. I knew exactly what I was going to do to grow my funds while enjoying retirement. I was quite confident in my financial security and strategy. That is until Mum and Dad’s health needed more attention.

In a nutshell, Dad was diagnosed with third stage liver cancer and Mum’s health took a nosedive while we cared for Dad, all the while expenses rapidly rising. Even with Dad’s insurance and monies from savings and investments, it was very troubling financially.

Even though Dad had done his financial planning, he did not expect to be diagnosed with cancer. The accumulated wealth from his savings and investments did not adequately account for his healthcare.

I was very much in danger of repeating that mistake. This experience made me re-look my behaviour towards money, lest my saving strategies fail to account for the unexpected.

It is common for most Malaysians to take their entire pension at retirement with big plans to invest in a business, pay off financial commitments, go on a series of holidays or any other variety of indulgence (experiential or otherwise). According to Dato’ Steve Ong, CEO of Private Pension Administrator Malaysia, 50% of EPF contributors spend their lump sum within five years of retirement (‘Retirees need financial education’ – December 9, 2014).

There’s nothing wrong with enjoying hard-earned retirement savings so long as you have a solid plan and know what to expect. I have to know whether my spending habits are risking my retirement plans.

Last year, The Star reported that 90% of Malaysians chose to keep the full pension withdrawal age at 55 instead of raising it to 60 (Most contributors not interested in other withdrawal option – April 22, 2015). If Dato Ong’s statement is any indication, how many Malaysians who chose to keep the status quo will eventually become flat broke retirees in five years?

Coupled with the option for employees to keep 3% of their EPF contribution (Recalibration: Malaysia Budget 2016 Highlights – January 28, 2016), the question again comes back to “Do I spend or Do I Save?”

Without a doubt, some would favour immediate usage over the loss of higher accumulated wealth in the future. In some cases, the choice to lower contributions is justified, but is withdrawing a smaller pool of wealth at 55 the only risk?

As it is, Malaysian families typically find themselves repeating a vicious cycle of financial burdens due to healthcare costs. The scene usually consists of adult children supporting their own family and their aged parents, who have exhausted their pension savings.

When they become ageing retirees, in need of healthcare themselves, they discover their savings are insufficient to cover the costs and their now adult children need to step in. Thus, the cycle begins anew. Should I then risk lowering my EPF contributions?

Assuming your current salary is RM4,000 and you have decided to lower your EPF contributions, the RM120 you are likely to spend on a Friday night outing could have been RM43,200 more in the EPF for your retirement (and healthcare if age doesn’t treat you kindly), factors of salary increments aside.

In his interview with The Star (67% of EPF members not ready for old age – November 21, 2015), Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Chua Tee Yong said only 20-25% of Malaysians are financially literate.

Yet even the financially literate are not immune to making mistakes in financial planning and investments as having access to more funds comes with a risk of overspending. This is especially true of those who might miscalculate each month’s spending in early retirement and leave too little for their later years, especially when medical and caregiving services are needed.

Not leaving aside enough for your healthcare needs later on in life coupled with the fact that people are living almost two decades longer (World Health Organization’s report, World Health Statistic, 2014) is a recipe for disaster. There is a major risk of poverty and even physical suffering as a result of outliving your accumulated wealth.

Russell Investments’ director emeritus Don Ezra stated that once retirees live past the age of 75, longevity risks (the risk of living longer than expected) exceeds equity risks, which is the risk involved in holding equity in a particular investment (Why I love deferred annuities – January 19, 2016).

With those risks in mind, perhaps it is time to look for an annuitising option – where I can rely on a set amount of income to arrive on a monthly basis, subject to the return of my investment – to help manage my spending during my retirement.

So, what are the options for the future of an ageing retiree?

Perhaps a service which channels annuitised payments into healthcare planning and services is needed. Given the nation’s impending ageing status, I imagine future circumstances will be very difficult for both businesses and the general public if these services are slow in development.

This development is certainly a step in the right direction if the nation intends to reach a developed nation status by 2020.


Disclaimer: The following is the opinion of the writer and the recipient acknowledges that Aged Care Group Sdn Bhd and its associated companies are unable to exercise control to ensure or guarantee the integrity of/over the contents of the information contained.

First Published in Smart Investor, March 2016, Issue 311

Have You Planned For Aged Care Cost In Your Retirement Plan?

Can your retirement plan roll with the punches from healthcare costs or will it suffer a knock-out in the first round? Can it survive a stroke or a heart attack? Or will it be wrecked by unexpected conditions that require long-term care such as cancer or Alzheimer’s Disease?

Like many difficult situations in life, being struck by a life-threatening disease or unfortunate circumstance is often thought as something that happen to “other people”, until they happen to you.

Health ailments do not discriminate between age and gender, nor does it only happen to the affluent. They can happen at any given time to anyone and 100% recovery may not always be possible. The World Life Expectancy indicates that heart disease and stroke are the primary killers in Malaysia, with lung disease, road traffic accidents and cancer (the lung and colon varieties) following closely behind.

In short, you never know what life will throw at you. Yet when planning for our retirement, many have not adequately accounted for (if at all) the impact of expensive medical treatments and healthcare expenses which can easily burn through your accumulated savings. If insufficiently prepared, you could even face bankruptcy.

The Star’s article Borrowing vs Financial Stability, reported that 18.5% of bankruptcy cases were a result of high medical expenses, based on data from the Credit Counselling and Debt Management Agency (AKPK). In combination with the fact that Malaysians are living longer by almost two decades, according to WHO’s World Health Statistics 2014 update, there are increasing odds that you may find yourself far removed from a blissful retirement, and instead pitting your retirement funds against healthcare costs and ailments in your twilight years.

While contracting a disease or a sudden accident is beyond your control, you can properly arm your retirement plan to cushion some of the impact from healthcare costs that may arise. This requires careful consideration of all available facts and resources to ensure your plan covers most or all areas. Hence, it helps to know what your options are in terms of finances and the types of care services required.

For your retirement funds to adequately account for healthcare costs, you need to consider the various challenges and factors involved to determine the type and amount of care needed – which directly impacts expenses – and how you will go about paying for your care.

Medical costs

According to the Malaysia Health Insurance, the cost of healthcare increases at an average of about 15% annually – which means that medical treatment costs nearly double every five years.

Dr H. Krishna Kumar, president of the Malaysian Medical Association states in his article, What’s Driving the Increase in Healthcare Costs in Our Country?, that the cost of hospital care is not controlled and continues to rise due to a variety of factors such as the increase in minimum wage for employment of clinic staff, expenses in producing drugs and the usage of increasingly more advanced technology to determine and treat ailments.

While the Goods and Services Tax (GST) is not applied to professional fees, it is applied to the cost of running hospitals and clinics, which the patients end up bearing. If the doctor that is treating you is a consulting doctor at the hospital (which is typically the case), his fees will also come with GST. In addition to GST, the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) might potentially come into play, driving cost of drugs higher with the tighter rules for copyright to protect intellectual properties, and inadvertently block cheaper, generic versions from entering the market. As a result, Dr Krishna states that drugs will cost even more over time.

Assisted living costs

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To give a clear picture of what assistance in daily living (otherwise known as non-medical care) involves, imagine you have a physical or mental impairment. Your home – which once provided shelter, safety and familiarity – is now a labyrinth of booby traps. Everything, from going up and down the stairs, to operating the kitchen stove, is an accident waiting to happen.

By this point, the need for assistance to continue with your daily activities becomes crucial. The ability to complete tasks such as taking care of personal hygiene (i.e. bathing, using the restroom, dressing and oral care), eating and transferring from bed to chair and back becomes diminished. If you have Parkinson’s, the potential for injuries caused by falls is greatly increased due to the inability to control your balance, involuntary muscle movements and a slower reactive response.

Then you have the medication management, which is a task of precision and details as the number of medications (some of which are to offset the side effects of other types of medication), frequency of the dosage and consequences of missing a scheduled dose becomes more important than ever. Hence, a caregiver is required to assist you with these needs.

If you opt to hire a private and trained caregiver, the cost typically ranges from RM15 to RM25 an hour on a daily basis. Cumulatively, that adds up to caregiving expenses ranging from RM2,000 to RM2,800 per month. According to research conducted by Care Matters in 2014, the cost for staying in a nursing home is RM1,200 to RM2,600 a month for basic care services in a semi-private room, while a private room is about RM2,650 to RM3,500 a month.

Bear in mind, these pre-GST rates only provide room, laundry, grooming and meals while excluding the charges for skilled nurses and doctors providing specialised healthcare for rehabilitation or palliative care and items such as milk formula for tube feeding (Current Situation of Nursing Home and Care Centres in Malaysia survey by Care Matters).

Don’t let unexpected healthcare costs put your retirement plan six feet under. Life could throw you a curveball and you may end up living with consequences which you might have overlooked. CNBC’s article Overlooked Health-Care Costs Can Destroy Retirement Planning states that good planning for how much you may need for your healthcare could prevent future healthcare expenses from consuming your savings.

Are there options?

So, what are the financial options available to cope with the various needs of care? Malaysians with lower income categories would utilise services from government hospitals (which are either free or charged at a nominal fee). Those from the middle or higher income tier would typically rely on private insurance premiums (i.e. medical insurance) and out-of-pocket payments to obtain services from private healthcare facilities due to perceived higher quality and reduced waiting time.

However, in either case, it is only the medical aspects of healthcare that are addressed. While medical insurance covers surgeries, room and board, there are currently no available products that cover the non-medical care aspect. Malaysians can only pay for non-medical care with out-of-pocket payments or funds withdrawn from EPF, SOCSO or lump sum payments obtained from Critical Illness Rider (provided the patient has visited the doctor and has been diagnosed).

Hence, the funds dedicated for your out-of-pocket payments and the wealth accumulated in your retirement planning need to factor in the non-medical care aspects as well as healthcare inflation. In Planning for Healthcare Costs in Retirement, Kenanga Investors Berhad CEO, Ismitz Matthew De Alwis mentions that you should plan to actively set aside funds, specifically for your long-term care, to be invested for financial growth. His advice is to aim for investments that can provide a return of at least 10% a year without compromising on the “safety” of your investment such as unit trust funds to hedge against medical inflation.

The name of the game

Whatever you choose, the bottom line is that healthcare costs will be an increasingly major expense in the later stages of your retirement. Hence, a solid plan that combines proper health insurance coverage together with a pool of funds that factors in the various costs incurred by non-medical care will ensure you are sufficiently ready financially to face unexpected events.

Unlike its western counterparts, Malaysia has yet to develop a financial product that accommodates both medical and non-medical aspects of healthcare. Hence, it is of utmost importance that you develop your financial literacy to cultivate healthy behaviours towards money. This will further enhance your retirement planning strategies when exploring options to pick what works best for you.



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First Published in, March 15, 2016

5 Ways To Find A Positive Retirement Life

Like many facets of life, post-retirement has its highs and lows. One minute you’re bursting with energy and a ‘come-what-may’ attitude to take on the world, to paint the town red. The next, you are unable to handle the day and staying in bed seemingly the safer option. Transitioning into retirement can be difficult and overwhelming with the sudden amount of free time in your hands but if you resolve to take charge of it, you will have an easier time navigating its’ waters. Here are 5 tips on how you can find your ideal retirement lifestyle:

Take life by the reigns, set significant goals.

A full life is made of significant events and experiences. One of the most anticipated benefits of retirement is the freedom from never having to work again. Set goals that encourage you to move towards doing something positive and impactful, not merely being stress free. At the age of 71, Sir Ranulph Fiennes (cousin to actor Ralph Fiennes) finished a 6 day 256-km marathon through the Moroccan desert after surviving two heart attacks and a double bypass operation. He has made polar expeditions and travelled the world by its polar axis, financed by funds he earned from lectures about his expeditions. Like Sir Ranulph, you need to picture what you want your retirement to look like and go full steam ahead.

Visualise, pursue and expand your horizons.

Continually challenging yourself would inspire you to focus on living a healthy lifestyle and not just be there for the entertainment value. Since you’ve also developed skills from pre-retirement, you can use it to nurture your new interests. Take a page of Toni Innauer’s book. A former Olympic gold medallist ski-jumper, Toni Innauer was forced to retire after a serious injury. Building on talents he had previously nurtured, he took up studying psychology and sport science. Today he is a hugely successful ski-jumping trainer and is now a respected public voice in the sport.

Be patient; accept that there is a transition period.

Prior to retirement, you spent the majority of your time dedicated to your career and now that time is solely yours. Don’t be surprised or harsh on yourself if you have no idea what exactly to do initially. Reaching the stage where your time is fully optimised will take some trial and error before you arrive at the right cocktail of leisure-yet-purposeful activities. You don’t need to rush; progress into retirement at a comfortable pace and eventually you should be able to find your place in your new role.

Do it to enjoy it. Love what you do.

The urge to splurge your time can be tempting, especially during early retirement. But don’t make the mistake of overcommitting yourself before you have a chance to become familiar with your new lifestyle. You live only once and there are no second chances, so pursue your passions and savour it.

Just because you are retired it doesn’t automatically mean you are the available babysitting service. If quality time with your grandchildren is what you want, good for you. Remember the purpose is to enjoy the experience.

Money can’t buy you love, but just about everything else.

Research states that people generally experience happiness later in life but if you want to ensure that state of mind, you should look into something that generates a reliable stream of income to replenish spent finances during retirement. A time will come where ageing is a constant companion and little things you used to do become a little more challenging. Nothing can damage happiness like a lack of funds to pay the mounting healthcare bills.

Retirement will have its ebbs and flows but how we choose to cope is up to us. With the right attitude and a little gusto; you can overcome the rough spots and steer your retirement towards the beginning of wonderful things to be.




Aged Care Group (ACG), an organisation engaged in the business of elevating and providing aged care services. Our vision is to innovate and transform the perception of ageing in Malaysia. For more information visit us at or contact us at 03 – 2142 1666.


First Published in Smart Investor | February 2016 | Issue 310

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