1 in 5 Singaporeans won’t survive a month if they lose their jobs, survey finds

Twenty per cent of Singaporeans do not have a month’s worth of emergency funds, a GoBear survey found.
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  • About half of all Singaporeans don’t have six months’ worth of emergency funds stashed away, a new survey has found.

  • One in five didn’t even have one months’ worth of funds.

  • Stashing away six months’ worth of funds is a common piece of financial advice to guard against retrenchment or sudden expenses such as medical bills.

  • According to a finance expert, this is because most Singaporeans’ assets are locked away in property and CPF accounts.

Half of all Singaporeans don’t have enough savings to cover six months of expenses if they lose their job – and one in five say they won’t even last a month, according to a report by financial comparison site GoBear.

The report, published on Friday (Nov 1), surveyed 1,028 Singaporeans aged between 18 and 65 on their attitudes toward personal finance.

The survey found that local respondents’ top three financial priorities were saving money, achieving financial independence, and creating an emergency fund.

Read also: Half of Singapore is in the world’s richest 10% – and 226,000 people are among the elite 1%

However, 45 per cent of respondents admitted they did not have enough savings to cover half a year’s worth of expenses, with 21 per cent adding they “couldn’t live beyond a month” if they lost their main source of income.

Stashing away six months’ worth of salary in an emergency fund is a common piece of financial advice to guard against retrenchment or sudden expenses such as medical bills.

GoBear cited financial risk management expert Wong Kon How as saying this was because most Singaporeans’ assets were locked away in property and CPF accounts.

Wong added that this monthly expenditure could have been influenced by “pressure to keep up appearances” and “becoming accustomed to a certain quality of life”.

The report also found that Singaporean respondents owned about nine financial products on average – higher than respondents of similar surveys in Hong Kong, Thailand, and Indonesia.

Respondents here also had higher levels of financial knowledge compared to their Asian counterparts.

Despite this, almost half the Singapore respondents were pessimistic about their financial future, and felt financially insecure. About 55 per cent of respondents said the rising cost of living in Singapore outpaced their earnings.

When asked about growing their wealth, one in three said they did not know how to do so. A quarter said they believed investing was risky, and one in five still kept cash at home in piggy banks.

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