The good news from the results of the latest OCBC Financial Wellness Index, which came out on Tuesday (Nov 22), is that Singaporeans have more savings. The bad news is that they also have poorer investment returns, and higher debt stress and fewer are on track for the luxe retirement lifestyle they say they want.
The study says there has been a “net negative impact on Singaporeans’ financial wellness” this year, with a Financial Wellness Index score of 61. For comparison’s sake, in 2019 the score had been 63, and last year, it was 62. In 2020, the first year of the pandemic, Singaporeans also scored 61 on the Index, which measures 10 pillars of financial wellness, including saving habits, manageable debts, and retirement planning.
The results are based on responses from 2,182 working adults in Singapore who are between the ages of 21 and 65, with the survey carried out online last August. Here are some key takeaways from the study’s results:
While 91 per cent of the respondents say they save at least 10 per cent of their salaries, only 53 per cent have the equivalent of six months of salary to tide them over in case of a crisis. Forty-eight per cent of the responders said they can spend on the things they want, beyond the basics, almost all the time.
However, there are more Singaporeans who are incurring debt, with nearly one in five saying they have some difficulty in managing their unsecured debt, and two in five saying they have a hard time paying off their mortgage loans.
More than one-third of the respondents (35 per cent) report being worried about their inability to pay their personal loans.
As for investments, 41 per cent said they’re on track with their investment goals, but a sizable 36 per cent say they’ve suffered overall investment losses.
As for retirement, more Singaporeans are saying they look forward to more comforts during this time. However, only 42 per cent are on track to getting there.
However, “While Singaporeans have considered the high inflation of the past 12 months and rising expenses in their estimations, many are still underestimating the costs of their retirement lifestyles,” the study noted.
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