Updated 14:31 PM PHT Mon, February 27, 2017
(CNN Philippines) — Most Filipino millennials expect a good, comfortable retirement, but few of them regularly set aside money to prepare for it, says a study.
Millennials were "overwhelmingly optimistic" about their retirement, with 97 percent of them expecting to lead their same lifestyle – or even better – when they get older, the Manulife Investor Sentiment Index read.
However, only seven percent of millennials reported having a monthly savings plan and just eight percent had a quarterly plan.
Most millennials invest irregularly: Twenty-eight percent put aside money "when they feel like it" and 21 percent decide to invest based on the movements of the market.
Others save lump sums once a year (15 percent) or every few years (11 percent). Ten percent of millennials don't save at all.
This "lack of discipline and planning" in their investments is a concern, the study read, as millennials said they would likely have to support their parents (63 percent) and their children (58 percent) even when they retired.
Seven out of 10 millennials also expected their health to deteriorate when they got older, while five out of 10 expected they would be unable to continue working during their retirement.
"This study is crucial in the Philippines where the average age is 23 years old," Manulife Philippines President and CEO Ryan Charland said during a press briefing last Thursday.
While millennials seem to be aware of their future needs, it still doesn't seem to translate to regular savings and investment, he explained.
Manulife Philippines Chief Marketing Officer Melissa Henson said this could be best explained by the popular millennial saying: "YOLO" or "You only live once."
"It's not just about Filipinos, it's a common situation when we get caught up in the present...Especially for people who are younger, retirement seems like a far-flung concept. It's 40-50 years from now," she said.
Millennials end up pouring their money into daily expenses, travel, or property instead. But they should save before they spend – and start as early as they can.
Henson pointed out that small, regular investments had higher pay-offs than large, irregular ones since the money has more time to grow.
"Even if you start small, that will gain interest over time. And you can keep reinvesting that and growing that again over a number of years," she said.
Charland agreed, stressing: "The time to start is really now. The time to start would've been yesterday actually."
Millennials speak up
Marenz Salomon, a 23-year-old public relations professional, admitted saving money was her weakeness.
"After every pay day, I usually reward myself. I eat out, spend time with my family, make sure I have dinner out with them," she said.
However, she saw from her parents how they struggled with limited savings when they retired.
"If I want to pursue my dream of a stable life, I need to control my expenses," she said.
For Therese Panganiban, a 32-year-old communications executive, money also moves fast. She has to make do with what she has left after she pays for rent, bills, and financial support for her family. She also wants to set aside enough money to travel and buy her own home in the future.
She decided to take out an insurance policy once she started working, upon the urging of her mother.
"I realized I could afford it after all. It isn't too big if you pay it monthly. If I sacrifice just a few nights out, I can afford it," she said.