SINGAPORE - Nearly a third of Singaporeans over the age of 55 have not yet begun saving for their retirement, a survey released on Monday shows.

They help make up the big chunk of respondents (44 per cent) to the Aviva Consumer Attitudes Survey who have not started building their retirement funds.

Aviva said that while it may be expected that a majority of those aged between 25 and 34 would be in this position (55 per cent), it is more concerning that 31 per cent of those over age 55 are also in the same boat.

Of those who have yet to start saving for retirement, 41 per cent said that they cannot not afford to save, while 25 per cent are saving instead for other priorities such as their children's education.

The survey also found that about two-thirds (64 per cent) of Singaporeans who have started to save for retirement are relying mainly on their Central Provident Fund savings to do the job.

More than half of the respondents who have begun to save for retirement - 54 per cent - said they have endowment or investment-linked plans to supplement their CPF, while 45 per cent have direct investments such as shares, bonds or unit trusts.

Mr Daniel Lum, Director of Product and Marketing at Aviva Singapore, noted that while CPF offers "one of the highest guaranteed returns in Singapore", many Singaporeans have their savings tied up in property and "need to consider unlocking returns from such assets to supplement their retirement fund".

"The challenge remains for Singaporeans to build a diversified retirement portfolio that earns returns high enough to beat inflation, as well as to ensure they will have sufficient cash in their later years, rather than being asset-rich but cash-poor," he said.

When it comes to paying their medical ills in their old age, about seven in 10 respondents said they will rely on Medisave (73 per cent) or MediShield (70 per cent).

About one-third (34 per cent) also have an Integrated Shield plan to supplement medical costs, according to the online survey which was conducted from May 28 to Jun 16 this year, covering 1,000 espondents above the age of 18.