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20 Things Only Singaporeans Do: Personal Finance Edition

2 min read

We may call ourselves a little red dot but I believe we are more of a little oddball. We have plenty of practices only Singaporeans do that differs from the rest of the world but its the very crux of what drives our economy.

It is really these things that what makes us, us. *cues National Day song*

So here are some things that only Singaporeans do:

1. We refuse to pay for distilled water at restaurants but we are okay with consuming free tap water.

2. We buy a Certificate of Entitlement (COE) that can cost up to $95,500* to be entitled to own a car for 10 years.
This does not include the car or road tax or insurance, just a certificate.
*Highest COE recorded in January 2013 for cars in Cat B (Cars above 1600cc or 97kW)

3. We live with our parents till we are able to afford to buy our own house, sometimes only after we are 35 years old.

4. Marriage proposal comes in a form of buying a house. The actual bending-in-one-knee proposal comes after (so much for surprise huh).

5. We buy a living box that comes with mini boxes that cost $1 million.

6. Our retirement plan consists of buying lottery tickets like 4D and TOTO where the draw amount can go up to $13,943,682*.
*Highest TOTO jackpot prize amount in 2016.

7. We would rather queue 3 hours to cross the border to do our shopping as shopping in our country is too expensive.
Especially now that Malaysia has removed their goods and services tax (GST).

8. We charge our own people $100 for casino entries to prevent bad gambling habits but we get free entry to our own lottery centre, Singapore Pools.

9. Tipping is optional but service charge is compulsory.
Service charge is our version of tipping.
Total bill includes service charge charged at 10% of your total bill, not inclusive of GST.

10. Most of us have problems saving but complain about our pension fund.
We have a mandatory pension plan, Central Provident Fund (CPF), that helps us save for our retirement, healthcare, and housing.

11. We actively promote an active lifestyle but also charge to use courts to play sports.

12. Working at fast food joints are our form of retirement plan.

13. We were taught by our grandmothers to put our savings in biscuit tins.

14. A common practice to invest in 1 stock of a bundle of properties and wait for passive income to flow in.

15. Alcohol and cigarette taxes are a thing here and that drives up the prices. 

16. Singapore is a fine city, you can get fined for keeping a cat in your flat or blocking someone’s path.

17. Parking illegally is common here but so is ‘summon auntie’, but we still do so anyway.
Summon Auntie – A parking attendant (not necessarily a female) that fines you for breaking parking rules.

18. We get cheaper transport when travelling at non-peak hours.

19. Earning an annual income of $1 million and $1 billion is still about 20% in income tax

20. You get to keep your entire capital gains to yourself, no need for taxes.

This list is definitely not exhaustive and if you would like to add more things that you think is unique to us do let us know by commenting below.

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