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Singles can't save enough for retirement: S. Korea

(Chosun Ilbo photo)

(The Chosun Ilbo) -- Some 5.62 million single households in Korea now account for 10.9 percent of the total population, and they have trouble saving enough for a rainy day.

    Singles believe they ought to save W1.23 million a month to prepare for retirement, but the actual amount they manage to set aside is only around W700,000 (US$1=W1,176). The finding comes from a survey of 2,000 one-person households in Seoul and large metropolitan cities by KB Kookmin Bank in April.

    The lower their income, the less prepared they are for retirement. Singles earning more than W48 million a year are saving up a reassuring W1.2 million a month, some 74 percent of the 1.62 million they will need each month after retirement. But singles earning only W12-24 million a year save up only W310,000 a month.

    Singles assume they will retire at 61.3 years of age, rather sooner that the average retirement age of 64.9. But 60 percent worry that they will not be able to save up enough money for retirement. They also spend a substantial proportion of their income on housing. Their monthly spending averages W1.23 million, and 18.1 percent of that is spent on housing. The next-largest chunk goes on food.

    That compares to only 6.8 percent that four-person households spend on housing, and the much smaller proportion they spend on food. KB said the reason is that the rate of home ownership is much lower among singles so they spend more on rent, and they tend to eat out more often.

    Some 42.5 percent of singles think they might get married "someday," up from 35.5 percent last year, but 8.2 percent of male and 4.2 percent of female singles in their 20s have no intention of ever tying the knot. The proportion only got bigger among singles in their 30s, with 13.9 percent of women and 6.3 percent of men saying they do not plan to get married.

    Half or 52.7 percent of singles said they do not mind living alone for good, while 38 percent feel destined to live alone for the next 10 years or longer. Among the benefits of living alone is freedom, according to 82.5 percent of respondents, while 73.4 percent cited time for hobbies as the biggest perk.

    The main problems for men are loneliness and financial concerns. Single women are most concerned about financial stability, and they also worry about burglaries, theft and other safety issues.

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