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Swamped by motherhood and your career? Here’s how to prepare for a comfortable retirement nonetheless

Women are under increasing pressure to do it all and have it all. But juggling family and a career or looking after a household full-time is no easy feat.

The challenges of day-to-day life can make it all too easy to overlook planning for the future. However, in order to pave the way for a comfortable retirement, the earlier you start, the better—no matter how squeezed you may feel.

Women and retirement-readiness

a) Dual-income families

In Singapore, despite the fact that more than half of households are dual-income, women tend to take on the lion’s share of caregiving and child-rearing duties1.

Maternity leave enables mothers to spend more time at home following the birth of a child. Furthermore, some might feel compelled to spend more time with their newborns in order to nurse. Other factors such as maternal instinct or parental guilt can also persuade some mothers to take on a heftier caregiving role.

At the same time as they try to raise families, women in dual income families also face challenges at work. The adjusted gender pay gap in Singapore was 6% in 20182. This indicates that women are on the whole still earning less than men. Lower lifetime earnings can lead to lower CPF savings and a lower level of preparedness for retirement.

Adding to the pressure is the fact that finances are often tight for families raising kids. Bringing up children in Singapore can be expensive, with parents spending an average of S$96,000 on their kids’ education according to a 2017 survey3.

This can cause problems when it is time to retire. According to a 2019 report4, Singaporean retirees currently rely to a large degree on financial support from their children.

b) Home-makers

Full time home-makers do not receive an income from work or CPF contributions. While their contributions in the domestic sphere may be great, retirement-readiness may be a particular challenge for housewives as they rely fully on their spouses to prepare for their financial future.

Those who take a number of years off before deciding to return to the workforce may face barriers to entry and suppressed wages. For some others, it may be difficult to find family-friendly workplaces or job opportunities that are commensurate with their professional experience5 .

What can women do to be better prepared for retirement?

A little financial planning might help

In spite of the challenges you might be facing at present, planning for retirement as early as possible is more important than ever as a longer time horizon can compensate for a lack of funds.

Whether you are juggling work and family or are a full-time homemaker, there many things you can do in order to make room in your household’s budget for retirement savings.

For instance, if you have a propensity for retail therapy, consider using Marie Kondo’s method to evaluate your belongings and sell items that no longer spark joy on the second hand market. Selling rarely-used items not only reduces clutter and is eco-friendly, but can also be financially beneficial.

Being financially prudent does not mean never being able to spend time with friends and family. Dining out with friends need not be an expensive affair. Thanks to the internet, it is now easier than ever to hunt down delicious local eateries and the best hawker stalls. You and your loved ones can also take turns hosting pot-luck meals at home in order to enjoy good food in each other’s company, followed by a board game or karaoke session absolutely free of charge.

It might also be time to look further into the future and re-evaluate your current income streams. If you are currently working, you might wish to avoid putting all your eggs into one basket and relying on your job as your sole source of income. Instead, you might want to consider additional streams of income, such as investing in equities that pay dividends or turning a passion project into a profitable side business.

If you are a full-time homemaker, you might wish to look for ways to earn an income on a flexible basis. For instance, you could follow in the footsteps of other mumpreneurs by setting up a small home-based business. Draw on your current strengths for ideas. If you are proficient in a musical instrument, you could give music lessons on a freelance basis. Love baking sweet treats for your loved ones? Then you might have what it takes to start a home baking business.

Wishlists for special occasions can also give you a chance to boost your retirement-readiness. On your next birthday, for instance, you can ask your spouse for a gift that puts you in a financially better position, such as an insurance policy that helps you accumulate wealth for a better future.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution, so feel free to come up with more ideas that fit your particular situation.

Once you have found ways to put aside money for the future, you can channel some of it into a plan that helps you accumulate cash value while offering you and your family insurance protection at the same time.

Prepare for your dream retirement with Manulife


Learn more about retirement plans

Manulife’s retirement savings plans RetireReady Plus III and Ready LifeIncome II enable you to regularly put aside a manageable sum of money for the future, while at the same time protecting you and your family from unexpected scenarios.

These plans help you prepare for the future even when finances are tight. Your slow and steady progress will be rewarded with a stream of retirement income that can contribute to your future quality of life.

But what if savings plans are too passive for you and you are looking for a more accelerated pathway to retirement?

Then you can look to Manulife Investment-Linked Policies (ILP) such as Manulife SmartRetire (III)ManuInvest Duo  and InvestReady Wealth (II) . These ILPs enable you to take a more proactive approach to accumulating wealth.

They offer the freedom to switch around the funds in which your premiums are invested based on market performance so that you can potentially reach your financial goals faster. The plans also enable you to invest in dividend-paying funds which have the potential to yield a stream of dividend income. At the same time, you enjoy insurance coverage that protects the wealth you have built up.

Whether you are balancing a career and family or taking care of your loved ones full-time, planning for retirement is a must. No matter what your current family arrangements might be, Manulife’s diverse range of retirement savings plans and ILPs can help you pave the way to a comfortable retirement.

Click here to find out more.

Interested to find out more?


These insurance products and their supplementary benefits are underwritten by Manulife (Singapore) Pte. Ltd. (Reg. No. 198002116D). This advertisement has not been reviewed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore. Buying a life insurance policy is a long-term commitment. There may be high costs involved if you terminate the policy early, and your policy's surrender value (if any) may be zero or less than the total premiums paid. Your investments are subject to investment risks, and you may lose the principal amount invested. The performance of the ILP sub-fund/InvestReady Fund(s) is not guaranteed. The unit prices and any income accruing to it may fall as well as rise. The Fund Managers shall have the absolute discretion to determine whether a distribution is to be made in respect of the InvestReady Fund(s) as well as the rate and frequency of distributions to be made. The intention of the Fund Managers to make the distribution and the distribution yield for the InvestReady Fund(s) is not guaranteed, and the Fund Managers may review the distribution policy depending on prevailing market conditions. Distributions may be made out of income, net capital gains and/or capital. Past distribution yields and payments are not necessarily indicative of future distribution yields and payments. Any payment of distributions by the InvestReady Fund(s) may result in an immediate decrease in the net asset value per unit. You should read the prospectus and the product highlights sheet and seek financial advice before deciding whether to purchase units in the InvestReady Fund(s). A copy of the prospectus and the product highlights sheet can be obtained from a Manulife Financial Consultant or its Appointed Distributors.

This article is for your information only and does not consider your specific investment objectives, financial situation or needs. It is not a contract of insurance and is not intended as an offer or recommendation to purchase the plan. You can find the full terms and conditions, details, and exclusions for the mentioned insurance product(s) in the policy contract. These policies are protected under the Policy Owners’ Protection Scheme which is administered by the Singapore Deposit Insurance Corporation (SDIC). Coverage for your policy is automatic and no further action is required from you. For more information on the types of benefits that are covered under the scheme as well as the limits of coverage, where applicable, please contact us or visit the LIA or SDIC websites ( or

We recommend that you seek advice from a Manulife Financial Consultant or its Appointed Distributors before making a commitment to purchase a policy.

Information is correct as of 23 August 2021.

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