Retirement pensions

The old-age crisis facing China

An old woman with her grandson in Beijing. No nation is ageing as quickly as China. Photo: Simon Song

A country's population is its fate, 19th century philosopher Auguste Comte observed. He was referring to his post-revolutionary France, but he could well have been offering sage advice to Chinese authorities. By focusing on the economy, they have transformed the nation, pulling hundreds of millions out of poverty and creating spectacular growth and wealth. All that could be in danger, though, unless greater attention is paid to its fast-rising numbers of old people.

Sunday, 9 June, 2013, 2:40am 1 comment

Chinese 'more confident about retirement than Europeans'

Chinese are confident about their health in old age. Photo: Xinhua

A "squeezed generation" of middle-aged Europeans are convinced they are going to be poorer in retirement than their parents, according to a global survey that found the Chinese the most confident about their future and the French, Germans and Spanish the most pessimistic.

19 May 2013 - 7:09am

Budget short of smart ideas

Budget short of smart ideas

As an alumni of the University of Melbourne, I recently received a message from its vice-chancellor, Professor Glyn Davies, about something called "A smarter Australia" that is very relevant to Hong Kong. This major initiative by Australian universities recognises their key role in the nation's future prosperity, and calls for community support to persuade the federal government to invest in higher education.

7 Mar 2013 - 2:35am 2 comments

The budget that should have been

Protestors of The Alliance for Universal Pension petition. Photo: K.Y. Cheng

"My proposal is this. With effect from January 1, 2015, every Hong Kong citizen aged 70 or above will be entitled as of right to enjoy a pension paid by a new statutory body to be set up for the purpose. It will replace all our present assistance for the target group."

7 Jun 2013 - 11:41am

An age-old problem and the sums that just don't add up

The civil service pension obligations cited by John Tsang, with a net present value of HK$600 billion, can be used for old age benefits. Photo: Bloomberg

If two different forecasts made by our statisticians over the space of just two years can barely get within half a million people of each other for the year 2039 and entirely ignore an external forecast of an actual population decline, how can John Whiskers know that we will have exactly 2.56 million elderly in 2041?

3 Mar 2013 - 3:32am 6 comments

The Week Explained: Investing in old age

Putting money into retirement funds avoids paying tax on it. Photo: K.Y. Cheng

As Hong Kong crawls towards providing better support for the elderly poor, we still have nothing resembling a universal pension scheme. For most people who are neither rich nor poor, providing for old age remains a headache.

17 Dec 2012 - 5:31am

California worker’s US$609k cheque shows true cost of retirement

Former governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger brings the sword from his movie "Conan The Barbarian" to budget negotiations with legislative leaders. He left office last year with a mixed record, winning praise for his environmental activism and criticism for his failure to tame the fiscal mess, including a debt mountain caused by ballooning public sector pensions. Photo: AP

When psychiatrist Gertrudis Agcaoili retired last year from a state mental hospital in Napa, California, she took with her a US$608,821 cheque for unused leave banked in a career that spanned three decades.

14 Dec 2012 - 1:48pm

Giving workers full choice over MPF only solution

Anna Wu Hung-yuk. Photo: Edward Wong

The whole point about the Mandatory Provident Fund scandal is that the MPF never at any time relied on market forces to set fee levels.

29 Nov 2012 - 4:53am 3 comments

Complaints over fees and poor MPF service

Mydy Lai. Photo: May Tse

The Employee Choice Arrangement has arrived, so workers may move the money in their Mandatory Provident Funds, but with restrictions. They may move only their own contributions, not the money paid by their employers, and they can do so only once a year.

12 Nov 2012 - 2:31am

Mainland elderly still rely largely on family, not pensions

Just under a quarter of the mainland's elderly residents survive on pensions, while more than 40 per cent seemingly rely on family members, according to new official figures.

24 Oct 2012 - 12:35am

Benefits for elderly must go to those who truly need it

Hong Kong's strong tradition of respect for the elderly is truly admirable and is reflected in the passion with which the old-age allowance has been defended over the years by our community, which recognises it as an expression of gratitude for their contribution to society, not as a welfare benefit.

14 Oct 2012 - 11:27am

Spain faces crunch today on austerity budget

Protesters take down the barriers outside the parliament in Madrid as the government prepares more austerity measures. Photo: Reuters

Squeezed by financial markets and denounced in the streets, Spain's government is due today to adopt an austerity budget which could be a precursor to a full bailout.

27 Sep 2012 - 3:07am