By Kim Se-jeong
Residents in Seoul think a couple needs 2.52 million won per month on average to have a decent lifestyle after they turn 65 years old, according to a recent study.
The Seoul Institute, a city-funded research agency, however, showed people were not preparing for retirement.
The institute surveyed 1,013 city residents aged between 20 and 60 from Feb. 5 to Feb 22.
The younger the respondents were, the more money they thought they would need after 65. Respondents in their 20s answered they would need 2.67 million won per month, while those in their 40s answered 2.59 million, 50s 2.45 million and 60s 2.3 million won.
Asked how well they were preparing for their retirement, 72.2 percent answered the preparation was "okay" or "not enough." Only 13.4 percent answered they were preparing well.
Asked what was holding them back from preparing for their elderly life, most answered debt.
More than 43 percent answered they needed to cover housing costs or other living expenses. Twenty-two percent answered their spending on children's education was too high to have any spare money. Twelve percent answered they were still too young to consider elderly life.
The figures confirmed high housing expenses in Seoul. It is regarded that high spending on housing, coupled with high youth unemployment, is contributing to low marriage and birth rates.
Last year's statistics showed Seoul's population went below 10 million; and those who left answered the main reason for their moving was the high cost of housing.
The city is working to address the issue. Last month, the city announced it would provide 240,000 units of public housing to be rented out to citizens cheaper than the market rate until 2022.
Almost 50 percent of the respondents answered they were relying on the national pension system to prepare for life after 65. Other answers included private pension funds (25 percent), property renting (10.8 percent) and private savings (10.6 percent).
The national pension is available to all citizens, regardless of their status of employment. For those who have employment, contributions are mandatory.
The survey revealed a lack of jobs was cited as the most serious challenge by 40 percent of respondents. Thirty-eight percent answered they needed better medical care, followed by 11.9 percent saying allowances for the elderly should be more. Currently, those who turn 65 with a monthly income of less than 1.19 million are eligible for a 200,000 won allowance per month. The amount will increase to 250,000 won from April.
When running for the president, Moon Jae-in vowed to expand health care services for the elderly, especially to reinforce care for dementia. He promised to increase public medical centers dedicated to dementia treatment across the country.
The survey result carries implications as Korea's population is getting older. In August last year, the number of people 65 years or older accounted for 14 percent of the population.