January 01, 2020 08:31
Singles in middle age are increasingly waking up to the need to prepare for retirement, which they are likely to spend alone.
Singles under 39 accounted for the bulk or 35.6 percent of one-person households here in 2017, according to Statistics Korea, followed by those aged 40 to 59 who accounted for 32.4 percent and people over 60, who accounted for 32 percent. But by 2047, singles over 60 will account for a whopping 56.8 percent.
That is why a growing number of singles are signing up for insurance covering dementia, nursing and dental care, while fewer and fewer sign up for the conventional life insurance.
One single woman in her mid-40s recently signed up for insurance covering dementia treatment. She had noticed her memory getting worse after surgery recently and signed up for the insurance since she intends to remain single.
A 48-year-old single man recently canceled his life insurance policy and used the money to sign up for cancer treatment and dental care insurance. "Life insurance takes care of the surviving family when I die, so I decided it's better to invest in something that helps me live a healthier life instead of on an imaginary family I may or may not have."
Another woman in her early 50s said, "I started thinking more about caring for myself when I grow older and spend about 30 percent of my income to prepare for retirement."
Yoon Sung-eun at Samsung Life Insurance said, "A growing number of people in their 30s and 40s are starting to worry about their retirement as their parents enter their 70s and 80s. The deaths or illnesses of parents often prompt them to sign up for insurance covering caregivers when they themselves grow old."
A large proportion of people in that age group are only children, born at a time when the government actively promoted having just one child. Yoon said singles in that demographic feel more anxious about old age than those who have siblings who could take care of them.
One 48-year-old single recently formed an emergency alarm group with other unmarried friends. The plan is to call each other when they suffer from a stroke or other emergency.
"As I near my 50s, my body is sending various distress signals. I heard that a married friend drew up a manual to follow in emergencies, so I decided to do the same with my other single friends," she said.
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