Start Young


You’re young, without a care in the world and you’re looking at some things like meh, I can do them when I’m older. Right now, you’re swarmed with bills, studies and a social life, but there are some things that you can start doing now. Because your older self will thank you. And because they’re good for everyone, young or old!

After all, age is but a number. Here are some things you’re never too young for.


1. Anti-aging products


The truth about growing old.

My friend loves anti-aging products – slap a ‘wrinkle-free’ or ‘firming’ tagline on a bottle of serum and she’s sold. So what if she’s only nineteen? Aging isn’t an event, it’s a process, and so anti-aging products are for everyone. Unless you’re a Twilight vampire. 

If you’re confused about what skin products to use, remember that you’re aging every single day and prevention is better than cure. Meanwhile, enjoy your perky, youthful skin. And remember to use sunblock!


2. Sudoku and Mahjong



Mahjong brings to mind my grandma presiding over a table, watching 夜市人生, one of those Taiwanese drama series that lasts forever, while surveying her tiles with an eagle eye. It’s not just a game for ‘old people’, it’s a game that requires analytical thinking and promotes social interaction. Similarly, Sudoku trains those little grey cells that we may neglect in our daily lives.

As a recreational mahjong player, I can assure you that mahjong is fun. Plus, it’s a great way to bond with the older generations and brush up on your dialects. Grab your grandparents and all your uncles and aunties and start a family game night.

Once you begin, you’ll know that the feeling when you pull off a successful 十三幺 (Thirteen Wonders) or miraculously guess the correct number in Sudoku is unparalleled.


3. Volunteering Long-term



They say when you’re a child, you’ve got time and energy, but no money. When you’re an adult, got money and energy, but no time. And then when you’re retired, got time and money, no energy.


Most people only begin volunteering on a long-term basis after they retire, but there’s no better time to start than the present. Working for a cause that you believe in can be fulfilling, and the longer you volunteer, the more meaningful relationships you can build.

The working adults who volunteer regularly have my respect – they’re tired after a long working week, but they still turn up on weekends with infectious energy and a smile on their face. Now that’s dedication! If you’re not sure where to start, here’s how! 


4. Getting Health Checkups



Whether you’re young or old, health is most important. In this day and age, scientists and doctors have identified so many diseases that it seems as though anything can kill you! Unless you truly believe that ignorance is bliss, you might want to consider getting regular checkups. 

It’s good for those who love making excuses for being unfit. Sometimes you need a doctor to tell you that your cholesterol levels are too high for you to start making a difference in your life. Spotting tumours before they become cancerous is a bonus too. You’re helping yourself AND saving your family from worry.


5. Getting Fit


You’re never too old to get ripped. Source 

Like many of you, I’m guilty of sitting behind a computer, typing all day long and coming up with excuses to skip exercise. Without the mandatory fitness tests in school or in army, who cares if you can’t touch your toes or do a pull up? 

If senior citizens can do ballet, so can you! Source 

It’s not healthy and it’s harder to cultivate good fitness habits when you get older. Most people only start seriously thinking about exercise when they’ve hit a mid-life crisis, and by then, trying to move those stiff knees and get rid of all that flab becomes increasingly difficult. 

Start young! Go to the gym, or join an after-work Zumba class. And remember, it’s never too late to begin living a healthy life. Encourage your parents to go jogging with you, or have a friendly football game with your extended family. It’s healthy bonding time for the whole family.


6. Writing Their Wills


My very extensive last will and testament. Source

#YOLO, carpe diem and “live every day like it’s your last” are all great mottos to live by, but before that, write your will. Many think this practice is only for the aged, ill, or extremely rich, but it’s good to start early even when you’re in the pink of health. By ensuring that your intentions follow through, you protect your loved ones and help them to cope better in any unfortunate events. 

And if you happen to be the heir to an empire, it’s good to write a will to avoid any inheritance squabbles when you’re gone.


7. Retirement Planning



At this age, you’re working hard through long days and late nights, trying to finagle your way up the corporate ladder and getting your life sorted out. “Ain’t nobody got time to think about growing old! You’re only young once!” is your mantra now. While hearing your folks fret about insurance and CPF payouts, you realize you’ve absolutely no idea how to plan for a time 50 years down the road.

Don’t worry, you’ll be dancing through retirement. Source  

Retirement is hardly in the picture right now, but it’s never too early to plan for it. What better way to help your loved ones and future self out anyway? Find out about your parents’ plans, share insights with your partner or consult a financial planner for advice. 

Is their insurance coverage sufficient? Do they have concrete estate planning arrangements? At what age would they stop working, and will the CPF payouts sustain them through old age? Do they have any other savings plan? Most importantly, are you ready to support them? 

Some of you may have just stepped into adulthood, but these are mandatory questions to ask yourself. As retirement looms and their pool of savings contract along with the rising costs of living, there is no time to be clueless. CPF Life is here to help your future self and family today. If this still sounds like greek to you, this website is where you can begin. 


Start young, start now!


Maybe I sound morbid and kiasu, but I’m just preparing for the inevitable to minimize its impact on my family and I. Don’t forget how your actions can affect others, and keeping yourself healthy, wealthy and happy is all that matters throughout your golden age. 


You may have the stamina to party all night long or run a 10km marathon, but while enjoying your youth, give retirement planning some thought. These may seem like far-fetched and abstract ideals, but in reality, they’re closer than you think. The CPF website has lots of useful information on people planning for their later years – give it a visit and hear what they have to say. 


Remember, you only live once. Make that life worth it!

This post was brought to you by the Central Provident Fund.