Financial Planning

Am I saving less than most Singaporeans?

Our parents have done their best to provide what they can for us until we are adults. As we grow up and move on to build our own family, it is important to remember that our parents are also getting older and moving towards the next milestone of their lives - retirement.

How much do we save anyway?

A survey conducted with middle to high income earners in Singapore above the age of 25 revealed that 97 per cent of these Singaporeans saved part of their income, with a majority saving between 30 per cent to up to 49 per cent of their salary. Males tend to set themselves higher savings targets with one in four expecting to save at least S$500,000 within a short to medium time frame, compared to females whose median was closer to S$180,000. Savings ambitions also grow with age, with people under 35 targeting to save up to S$50,000.

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What are we saving for?

The CPF is a good starting point. You could say it was a nice family sedan. It’s familiar, easy to drive and the main mode of transport for retirement for many Singaporeans. But what guarantee do you have that it will be an enjoyable and comfortable ride in retirement? While payouts vary according to how much you contribute, you can expect to receive income ranging from $700 to $2,000 a month.

44% of investors above the age of 50 believe they will need to scale back their lifestyles when they retire.

The Manulife Investor Sentiment Index showed that just five in 10 local millennial investors are on track to achieve their financial goals

Out of their savings, 14 per cent goes towards retirement and 14 per cent to our emergency fund which definitely helps with future plans. That said, a good third of savings is not allocated to any purpose. Now is that a good or a bad thing? I won’t turn you off with a quote but many clever and successful people have said that having a purpose drives them forward, so if it’s good enough for life, it’s good enough for my bank account! Seriously though, it’ll help to keep you on the path of wealth generation so you’re less likely to slip up when you’ve had a hard day and a nice pair of shoes feels like just what you need.

Is there a right or a wrong way to save?

  • Outstanding mortgage/personal loans
  • CPF money
  • Investments
  • Monthly expenses

Is this enough?

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It really depends on what you’re saving for (hello again purpose!). Only slightly more than half of respondents set short to medium term savings targets and while we are great budget planners, many of us still carry quite a bit of debt. So once you’ve identified what you’re saving for it’s important to set a target with a timeframe and of course, minimise debt so you don’t just keep cancelling yourself out. Don’t join the current majority in regretting missed opportunities to make better choices in investment planning.

What more can be done?

Not really. But there is a way to save that makes your money work harder for you, but you will have to sign a couple of papers and keep an eye on your investments as you accumulate them. Two out of three Singaporeans surveyed regret that they didn’t plan their investments better, particularly their lack of proactivity in reviewing their portfolio and holding too much money in cash. Let’s try and improve that statistic, shall we?


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