facebookA Typical Singaporean Financial Journey: Up To $427,035 Projected Expenses



Cost of Typical Singaporean Financial Journey

A Typical Singaporean Financial Journey: Up To $427,035 Projected Expenses

profileMing Feng

Living in Singapore can be really stressful.

With the high cost of living, life is constantly about planning ahead and working towards certain milestones such as marriage and starting a family.

Source: Giphy

Every milestone comes with a price tag!

This article serves as a benchmark of how much you roughly need for each milestone in life and a strategy on how much you need to start saving or investing every month to clear this debt.

Fact: You Will Probably Spend up to $427,035 by Age 30 

The early life stages of a Singaporean involve 5 most expensive financial milestones.

According to our research from Singstat, these milestones take place by 30 years old on average.

  • The total average expenses amount to around $427,035! (a portion payable via CPF, and not all of it at one go)
  • It’s good to aim for $1,000 or more in combined savings or investments at ~8% interest with the right instruments
  • This will allow you to hit that amount within 17 years with purely savings or investments
  • Do note most likely you will take on a home loan and pay it down over time (e.g HDB home loan paid by CPF)
  • A couple will have around 7 years on average to prepare for starting a family (with additional expenses beyond that)

Source: Singstat

Singaporean Milestone 1: Student Loan – Estimated $30,000

Given the yearly increase in tuition fees, attaining a Bachelor’s Degree is getting more costly every year.

It is also typically the first big-ticket item of our lives.

Kicking off at age 25 for most male graduates and 23 for females, most graduates will have to start clearing their debts 1 year upon graduation.

This burden can carry on for years depending on how much gets allocated to the loan repayments.

You may also want to check out the ultimate guide to fresh graduate salaries!

Singaporean Milestone 2: BTO or EC – Estimated $300,000

Before getting married, your future spouse and yourself would probably have applied for a Build-To-Order (BTO) flat or Executive Condominium (EC).

The cost involved even before getting your BTO includes option fee, stamp duty, down payment, to balance of the purchase price. (Example is based on a 4-room, non-mature estate).

For ECs, they are a separate ballgame with almost 3x prices and heavier loan obligations altogether.

  • This is probably the first big-ticket purchase for most couples or individuals.
  • This first step will be choosing between an EC vs BTO. Both subject you to different types of considerations such as cost and the kind of loans you are eligible for.
  • Whenever you are ready to apply, you can follow this step-by-step checklist to apply for your first BTO.
  • Should you be getting an HDB Loan or a Bank Loan? While each has its pros and cons, we broke it down into a comparison table for you to make a smarter decision.

Singaporean Milestone 3: Marriage – Estimated $27,610

It is funny how the order is being mixed up for Singaporeans. We usually decide on a house before getting married. Weird order of events that takes away the whole surprise of getting engaged, but that’s how we roll!

Like most things in Singapore, weddings can be expensive too! Expenses include wedding photoshoots, florists, and banquet venue.

While on average, 60% of the banquet can be covered with red packets from relatives, the remaining 40% would be an unavoidable cost for most couples.

  • The median age for marriage is at 30.3 years old for groom and 28.3 years old for the bride. That is only about 5 years upon graduation! You would need to produce a marriage certificate within 3 months of getting your BTO.
  • There’s no hard and fast rule to purchasing an engagement ring except asking someone who had been there done that. In Singapore, there seems to be a lack of such an article: You can read a first-hand encounter on Buying An Engagement Ring In Singapore!
  • She said “Yes!”. It’s now time to save up for your wedding ceremony and banquet.
    An average wedding in Singapore costs about $27,610 in total. Couples will now have to plan out their financial journey together and it is reported most family squabbles start from financial conflicts.
  • Most of the successful cases we observe amongst our friends usually include a joint account where each individual contributes a portion of their salary. That account will be mainly for big-ticket purchases. If you are unsure of how to start, we have a guide to get you started.

Singaporean Milestone 4: Renovation – Estimated $55,000

The cost of renovating your home depends heavily on the type of design and materials chosen. Given that a large number of the Singaporeans lives in a 4-room, the cost of renovation gets the best sensing when it comes to 4-room units.

  • One point to take note of is that some of the interior designers charge an additional percentage for use of credit cards as payment. It will be a good habit to always clarify these charges to allow yourself some time to do your homework on the feasibility of using credit card payment or cash payment.
  • If you’re looking for some renovation hacks, here’s how you can save more than $30,000 on renovation costs!
  • We previously interviewed three of the top renovation experts in Singapore to get their advice for Singaporeans when it comes to renovation and had 3 major takeaways:
  • Reputation: It is always important to research the credentials and history of your Interior Designer before committing.
  • Price vs Quality: Cheaper packages usually come with a price. Being thrifty may be a virtue, but compromising on quality may not be that wise a move.
  • Realistic Budget: Set a realistic spending budget and fully equip yourself with information on sales and promotions. Being well-versed in renovation shopping hacks can help you save even more!
  • It is also important to avoid blacklisted interior designers to prevent possible monetary loss. We got a whole list of more than 100 of them.

Singaporean Milestone 5: Your First Baby – Estimated (Prenatal And Delivery) $14,425 

The total cost of giving birth ranges from $14,425 if things are smooth or $21,870 — excluding supplements, pre-natal classes, and baby items!

The median age of being a mother is 30.5 years old, about 7 years upon graduation. The cost incurred for prenatal and delivery depends on the hospital (public or private) and the surgical procedure involved. A portion of this expense can be claimed using your Medisave. Most couples will find having a child one of their biggest expenses after housing.

  • Children are expensive because they add costs to housing, child care, health insurance on top of their daily necessities.
  • The cost of delivering your first baby depends on a few factors:
    Public vs Private Hospitals
    The Method of Delivery
  • We did our research on the cost of giving birth in Singapore and the amount $14K (excluding baby bonus and grants).


And of course, beyond these, comes the monthly maintenance and planning for sustaining your household.

That, we will leave till another article!

The Power of Compounding Interest to Clear $427,035

Given that this is a rough benchmark on the kind of expenses we might be looking at, we can’t help but wonder:

“How much do I need to save each month, and how long does it take to accumulate this amount of money?”

Note: Accumulating and paying down a loan are separate things together (If you have a loan to pay, it should be your priority before other things)

We went on to calculate the savings for 0%, 3%, and 8% interest per annum and the results are shocking.

  • 0% – The interest you get if you store your money under your pillow
  • 2% – The interest from a savings bank (if you meet their max interest requirements) or insurance savings plans
  • 8% – The interest from basic passive investing (e.g ETF, Index funds)
Monthly Savings0% interest2% interest8% interest
$100355 Years 11 Months104 Years 9 Months42 Years 5 Months
$50071 Years 3 Months44 Years 3 Months23 Years 10 Months
$1,00035 Years 8 Months26 Years 11 Months16 Years 11 Months

Our Advice: Start Budgeting And Saving Smartly Now!

Source: MommyWarrior77

I definitely had no idea how financially draining these “milestones” were, prior to the writing of this article.

The numbers may look scary, but on the bright side, some of these costs such as your housing and having a baby can be offset with your CPF savings.

An average Singaporean will have 7 years upon graduation to prepare for the arrival of their firstborn.

There’s no better advice than to start spending and saving in a smarter way.

Try to limit and manage your loan repayments and ratios if not you may soon find that you are swimming in debt.

About Ming Feng
A stint in Bloomberg gifted me with a beer belly, which only grew larger when I moved on to become a Professional Trader. Now I turn caffeine into digestible finance-related content.
You can contribute your thoughts like Ming Feng here.

🔥 What's Popular

    • Loading articles
    • Loading articles
    • Loading articles
    • Loading articles
    • Loading articles
    • Loading articles

Stay updated with the latest finance tips!

Receive bite-sized finance on Telegram here.
💬 Comments (0)
What are your thoughts?

No comments yet.
Be the first to share your thoughts!

🔥 What's Popular

    • Loading articles
    • Loading articles
    • Loading articles
    • Loading articles
    • Loading articles
    • Loading articles

Join our Community!

Discuss your thoughts with like-minded members in these community groups!

Stay updated with the latest finance tips!

Receive bite-sized finance on Telegram here.