Living Old Age In Dignity

J. Soedradjad Djiwandono
J. Soedradjad Djiwandono, Emeritus Professor of Economics, Faculty of Economics and Business, Universitas Indonesia, and Adjunct Professor of International Economics, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore.

Jakarta, IO – Still in celebration of “Old Age Day” of May 29 I would like to write a column about living old age in dignity. Aside from the celebration, I also becoming more aware that life expectancy for Indonesians stretches longer and longer than historical norms. I also just read a column in Kompas, written by my colleague, Professor Moertiningsih Adioetomo of the Faculty of Economics and Business, U.I. with a title that attracted my immediate attention, “Don’t get old before becoming rich”. Professor Adioetomo message is very clear and simple: “Be prepared for your old age”. There is a saying in Indonesian, translated into English as, “Bring an umbrella before it rains”. I think it is a very practical advice for the elderly, an age group in which I find myself for years. She also reminded us that that condition is subject to economic growth, macroeconomic conditions, social security and insurance systems, aside from one’s own efforts. I could share my own experience in this matter, which is not a particularly pleasant one. When I was still working actively outside my teaching job, I purchased an insurance premium for old age. When I started my pensioned lives, it should have provided me with sufficient funds to live. But last year, due to a lack of professionalism and corruption of the management of the insurance company, Jiwasraya would have gone bankrupt without a Government bailout. This came on top of careless oversight of the financial supervision agency (OJK), responsible for monitoring such companies. During the restructuration process, we, policyholders were treated the same as shareholders and owners, so we suffered a “haircut” and my monthly insurance money was slashed substantially. Unfair, but what to do, I better accept a haircut than lose everything.