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Monday, June 24, 2024

The population is aging

By Phan Thi Ngoc Thang

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By the end of this April, Vietnam’s population has reached 100 million, according to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). What are advantages and challenges?

Recent statistics showed that Vietnam has the 15th largest population in the world. On March 17, UNFPA said that Vietnam would soon have 100 million people and the country should mark this milestone as “it will have 100 million hopes, 100 million dreams and 100 million solutions”. In this case, how do we classify the elderly, the to-be-elderly and the young?

A portrait of the elderly

According to Vietnam’s age structure, the elderly are those aged 64 and above. By this age, Vietnamese people’s retirement already passes under normal working conditions under the labor law. At these ages, the portraits of the elderly in Vietnam are diverse.

The elderly who lived through the war with traditional viewpoints are limited to a living environment of a particular community in a village or district and are used to the old way of living and thinking about families and relationships. They usually start their conversations with “in the old days” or “in wartime”. They remember that “when young, one relies on one’s father, then when old, one relies on one’s children”. In reality, more and more children do not choose to live with their parents, so they cannot take care of their parents as the elderly had done in their generation.

Then their children grow old and can only afford their own lives. These elderly have no means of preparing for old age and have to live alone or rely on their offspring’s support.

Some elderly are confused about their ways of life as their mindsets are no longer in line with their children’s modern lives. So they decide to spend the rest of their lives living in their birthplace, relying on their spouse if their partner is still alive or their community.

Then there are also the elderly who are self-reliant and have good health and financial capacity. They choose freedom, live a life that benefits the community, and enjoy their old age. They will live the rest of their lives relying on their pensions.

Modern young people

From the viewpoint of the young (under 15), when the population reaches 100 million, the country will have 100 million hopes, 100 million dreams and the same number of solutions.

Today’s parents strive to earn a living and raise their children in the best way possible. Parents use all their available resources so their children can develop their bodies and minds to the best of their abilities.

Vietnamese children have remarkably improved in height and weight during the past years. However, obesity and malnutrition still prevail among the young.

On the bright side, the educational development of children is much higher than that of their parents when they were their children’s age. Children can now access the latest world knowledge on the Internet and cross-border e-learning.

However, most children complain they do not feel close to their parents. They wish their parents could understand them, spend more time playing with them and ensure more quality time with them. Meanwhile, parents are too busy and stressed to ensure a good life for their children.

Moreover, a lack of spiritual life will become a barrier for children when they are grown up in the hi-tech era.

Children lack connection, sharing and creativity skills as they spend most of their time on devices and technological sciences. Children’s survival and management skills are also not fully used as their lives are modernized.

Some await retirement date or early retirement

A remarkable number of working employees count down to their retirement date. They go to work to earn a living, but it does not make them happy. They usually enter the office just waiting for the work day to end, receive a salary when it arrives and focus on personal work during office hours. They do not take full responsibility for jobs assigned by their managers as they are just salarymen. The development or turnover of the company has nothing to do with them. When the company develops, they expect a reward from the company. When the company shows signs of going down, they would look for a new job elsewhere.

The increase in the retirement age provided by the Social Insurance Law several years ago has delayed their plan of escaping from the workplace. Their happiness over retirement is being delayed.

However, some people want an early retirement to follow the FIRE trend, which stands for Financial Independence, Retire Early. This trend started with Generation Y since 2010.

FIRE pursuers focus on increasing their income or cutting costs in parallel with making investments to earn more money. They aim to accumulate assets until they generate interest sufficient for their daily costs upon retirement. These persons apply personal financial tools to raise their income to the maximum and prepare financially for their retirement without relying on their pensions. When they have financial dependence, going to work is optional as they can opt for early retirement.

In Vietnam, this trend has developed strongly amid the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic and work from home becoming popular. Among them, freelancers are pioneers of the young generation who want early retirement.

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