Spending more than what one earns – how young Singaporeans end up in debt
Posted by temasektimes on June 26, 2012
Most young Singaporeans find themselves working like slaves for the rest of their lives to service their debts because they are spending more than what they earn, according to a commentary by Financial Adviser Kelvin Ng on Yahoo News.
Despite their meager starting pay, many young Singaporeans have no qualms splurging on branded products, expensive holidays and cars which see them ending up with a mountain of debt.
Kelvin Ng used a real life example of a Singaporean couple to illustrate his point:
“Take for example a Singaporean couple who falls in love and decide to settle down. The man is in his thirties and woman in her twenties. They have a combined income of about $8,000. The man buys a proposal ring that costs $7,000 (Larry’s brand as girlfriend likes it). The couple also buy a pair of engagement rings that costs $6,000 (Cartier due to peer pressure). The wedding photo package costs $6,000, wedding dinner costs $7,000, honeymoon to Korea $3,000. They then decide to apply for a DBSS flat after countless tries with HDB’s BTO without success and have to cough up $350,000 (by taking up an HDB loan and wiping out their CPF and savings). They then spend $20,000 on minor renovation and furniture.
The man decides to upgrade his car as he could not resist the latest continental car design and coughs up $100,000 (by taking a car loan). The man likes to collect watches, saw the latest Rolex and could not resist it. He has no cash but buys it for $12,000 with an interest free 24 month installment since it is so cheap per month.”
The above case study is not uncommon among Gen Y nowadays. In fact, there are many couples with a combined income of less than $5,000 who are living the ‘high life’ which they cannot afford.
Second example of a typical Singaporean couple:
“The man is working as a mid-level manager in a MNC drawing a monthly salary of $3,000 monthly while his newly wed wife earns $2,400 monthly as an administrative staff. They bought a four-room resale flat in Hougang at $400,000 + and took a renovation loan of $50,000 to renovate their place. Then they spent their savings of $60,000 with another $40,000 chipped in from parents for their wedding dinner. The man felt he must buy a car to drive his wife around and got a new Mazda 3 at over $100,000. Before they have their first child, they are already buried deep in a mountain of debts.”
With a starting pay of only $2,600 for a fresh graduate and $1,800 for a diploma holder coupled with sky-rocketing prices of HDB flats and rampant inflation, most young Singaporeans will not be able to live the standard of life they aspire to unless their parents are filthy rich or they earn more than $10,000 monthly.
Instead of complaining non-stop about their predicament, it is time for Generation Y to manage their own expectations and live within their means or they may find themselves stuck in a rat race forever just to service the interests of their bank loans.
Whining will not get you anywhere. Only hard work, realistic expectations and prudent financial planning will help you cope with the harsh realities of life in Singapore today.