Five ways to make your retirement fund go further
When you retire, you’ll suddenly be without a significant chunk of your income - from your job. To be a smarter consumer, explore the various public benefits available to you.
Five ways to save:
- Concessionary cards
One of the most popular schemes is the Senior Citizen Card (SCC), which offers a number of discounts and priority services – including waived bank charges, public utility deals, and cheaper health products. Along with priority counter services at governmental departments, you can get 10% off food items at a number of supermarket chains and half-price entrance to Hong Kong’s many museums and attractions.
Another useful card to obtain is an elderly or personalised Octopus card, which provides concessionary fares of just HK$2 per trip on designated MTR, bus, ferry, and minibus services throughout Hong Kong.
- Economical exercise
Keeping fit is vital for a longer life and also it helps us save from increasing medical cost as we age. The Leisure and Cultural Services Department is on hand to help, offering various free community courses including swimming, fitness training, and dance. Your SCC card can also get you 50% discount on all governmental holiday camps, swimming pools, sports facilities, golf courses, and more!
- Discounted doctors
Retirees aged 70 or over can benefit from the government’s Health Care Voucher scheme, which offers elderly residents annual vouchers totalling HK$2,000 to put towards health expenses – doctors, nurses, chiropractors, Chinese medicine practitioners and others including preventative and rehabilitative care.
Those aged 60 or above can also enjoy subsidies for dental care as part of the Community Care Fund Elderly Dental Assistance Programme – an area of health that is particularly important as we get older.
- Affordable activities
There are numerous schemes aimed at helping retirees stay integrated with the community, including the Social Welfare Department’s “Opportunities for the Elderly” project. The SCC card, again, is useful, giving you half-price fees for governmental horticulture courses and recreational programmes, and individual district centres offer all kind of cultural, educational, and social projects.
There are also a number of courses and educational programmes you can sign up for – try looking for a course that might suit you at the Open University of Hong Kong, which offers a 30% tuition fee discount to SCC holders.
- Frugal food
Food can be a huge expense, but there are many ways to save. Along with the aforementioned SCC discounts, a useful resource is the Consumer Council Price Watch, which tracks great deals and savings across Hong Kong’s supermarket chains and lists product prices online for reference and comparison. Take a look before you go shopping!
For those truly in need, community canteens and food banks can be literal lifesavers. Community canteens – such as the three Hotmeal Canteens in Sham Shui Po, Wan Chai, and Kwai Tsing/Tsuen Wan – offer low-income citizens a hot meal for just HK$10. The People’s Food Bank in Sai Ying Pun is another option, providing free food to the poor and needy.