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Which Job Do You Need to Afford Both a Home And a Car in Singapore?


Everyone dreams about one day owning a car and a home. However, this is not an easily achievable wish for most people: homes can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, while Singapore is notorious for having extremely expensive car prices starting from S$100,000. Then, how much salary do you need to make this dream come true? As it turns out, quite a lot. In fact, 60% of the top 100 jobs in Singapore don’t pay enough for a person to be able to afford both a home and a car.

How Much You Need to Make to Buy a Home and a Car

According to ValuePenguin’s analysis, a person needs to make at least S$6,400 per month to afford getting a housing loan and an auto loan while not sacrificing their other expenditures. Here’s how we breakdown the math.

First, an average 4-room HDB flat costs about S$500,000″ in Singapore. Realistically, most people will choose to make the minimum of 20% down payment, which is 20% S$100,000. To service such a loan over 30 years at an average cost of 2%, a person has to make a monthly installment of S$1,478.

Then, there is another S$60,000 of car loan that you need to get in order to purchase an average car of around S$100,000. Servicing such a loan back at around 3% flat rate over 7 years requires a monthly payment of S$1,190.

Lastly, there are living expenses and CPF contribution. Using the government’s monthly household expenditure survey, we estimated that an average person spends about S$2,500 per month. By adding all of the above figures together with another 20% CPF contribution, we arrived at a minimum monthly salary of S$6,400 to be able to afford a home and a car in Singapore.

60% of Top 100 Jobs Don’t Make Enough to Afford a Home and a Car

This finding really puts into perspective what it means to live in the most expensive city in the world. In fact, the cost of owning just an average home and an average car can be prohibitively expensive for a vast majority of the population. According to Ministry of Manpower’s annual occupational wage survey, it seems that 60% of the top 100 jobs in the country make less than the said S$6,400 that we calculated in our analysis.

To arrive at this conclusion, we took the weighted average of the median gross income in 2015 and 2014 for 308 jobs that the Ministry of Manpower collected data surveyed. The result was quite striking. While doctors, managers, and executives made well in excess of S$6,400 required to afford a 4-room HDB and an average car like Toyota Corolla, even jobs that are normally regarded as “high paying” jobs like data scientists and financial analysts made median salaries of S$6,300 or less.

Parting Thoughts

Of course, this may not hold true for all the people out there. Our analysis here assumes that only one person will be earning an income to finance a family’s home and car purchases. A family with 2 working persons with S$5,000 of monthly living expenses could still afford a home with S$4,793 of monthly salary per person. In this case, top 80 jobs in Singapore made S$4,800 or more on average.

Also, because we used the “median income” to assess the situation for an average person in each occupation, we underestimate how many jobs can really afford to own a home and a car in case a person is a top performer. If we repeat the same methodology using the 75 percentile income, i.e. the minimum income of the top 25% of each occupation, it turns out that about 80% of top 100 jobs make approximately S$6,400 or more. If you are trying to choose a career path, it may be a good idea to take this into account.

When scanning our data below, it’s important to note that some professions like trade brokers have a highly volatile stream of income. Also, the MOM survey’s sample size for each profession differed dramatically between 2014 and 2015 for certain jobs like university lecturers, which we adjusted for by taking the weighted average of the median income for each occupation over the two years.

Seedly Contributor: Value Penguin

This article first appeared on Value Penguin.

Note: In Singapore, the median pay is at S$3,500 and that is an interesting statistic to determine your pay-level here in SG as well.

Occupation Income Table

RankOccupationWeighted Average of Median Gross Wage Per Month (2015-2016)Sample Size
2Financial derivatives dealer/ Broker22,30968
3University lecturer16,3681069
4Trade broker
(including oil and bunker trader)
5Specialist medical practitioner
6Foreign exchange dealer/
7Securities and finance dealer/
8Chief operating officer/
General Manager
9Managing director/
Chief executive officer
10In-house legal counsel
(except judiciary, ministries and statutory boards)
11Ship broker15,50050
12Sales professional
(institutional sales of financial products)
13Policy and planning manager13,157529
14Financial/Insurance services manager
(eg financial institution branch manager)
15Hydrographic surveyor13,83170
16Creative director
17Marine superintendent engineer13,573142
18Commodities derivatives broker17,06496
19Software and applications manager11,9131036
20Compliance officer/Risk analyst
21Chief information officer/
Chief technology officer
22Treasury manager12,804251
23Human resource manager10,9713688
24Network and communications manager11,404827
25Business development manager11,3123860
26Research and development manager11,214443
27Budgeting and financial accounting manager
(including financial controller)
28Technical/Engineering services manager
(Eg shipyard manager)
29IT service manager10,741376
31Quality assurance manager10,5581192
Solicitor (practising)
33Postal service manager10,51376
34Sales and marketing manager10,09210928
35Wholesale trade manager9,7251546
(news and periodicals)
37Manufacturing plant/
Production manager
Purchasing manager
39Ship engineers and related professional9,830144
40Administration manager9,0413823
41Financial analyst (eg equities analyst, credit analyst, investment research analyst)8,2031323
42Market research analyst8,122345
43ICT sales professional8,956327
44Health services manager9,2021757
45Advertising/ Public relations manager8,888897
46Information technology project manager10,191931
47Customer service manager8,8181875
48Financial/Investment adviser (eg relationship manager)11,3792990
49Supply and distribution/ Logistics/ Warehousing manager8,3442338
50Premises and facilities maintenance manager (including building security manager)7,9962251
51Transport operations manager8,6262827
52Building and construction project manager8,1342929
53Human resource consultant (excluding executive search consultant)9,139367
54Landscape architect8,150186
55Park/ Garden/ Nature reserve manager8,09556
56University, polytechnic and higher education teacher7,971242
57Industrial safety engineer7,6031193
58Data scientist7,836242
59Management and business consultant8,6741585
60Food and drink technologist7,55972
61Social welfare manager6,680387
62Database administrator7,021241
63Civil engineer6,8492546
64Building architect7,299727
65Network/ Infrastructure architect, engineer and specialist6,7131947
66Recreation centre manager6,925475
67Medical and pharmaceutical products sales professional6,642384
68Systems analyst7,0475090
69Software, web and multimedia developer6,6812132
70Information technology security specialist6,829743
71Wellness centre manager (eg hair/ beauty/ slimming/ spa/ manicure/ massage)6,356155
72Electronics engineer6,5325539
73Call centre manager6,692136
74Information technology testing/ Quality assurance specialist6,047251
75Chemical engineer7,391321
76Sports coach6,579133
77Industrial and production engineer6,2766598
79Technical sales professional6,0082722
80Clinical research professional6,324348
81Travel agency manager5,632153
82Artistic director (stage, film, television and radio)5,815116
83Real estate agent6,200127
84Biologist, botanist, zoologist and related professional5,995351
85Aged care services manager6,16371
86Applications/ Systems programmer6,1423663
87Pharmacologist and related professional6,132272
88Insurance sales agent/ Broker (including independent financial planner)7,095178
89Mathematician, actuary, statistician and other related professional4,200523
90Mechanical engineer5,8418004
91Tax accountant6,00082
92Telecommunications engineer6,380921
93Environmental engineer5,78789
94Petroleum and natural gas extraction technician5,903167
95Medical diagnostic radiographer5,694505
96Electrical engineer5,6801716
97Accountant (excluding tax accountant)5,6232601
98Education and training institution manager6,5502249
99Advertising copywriter5,94571
100Interior designer5,127459


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