Embarking on a new hobby or learning a new skill always starts with joy and excitement, before you realise just how bad you actually are.
You’ll have absolute beginners like yourself, intermediates, experts, and legendary masters of their craft. But one thing that everyone, no matter how skilled they are, will have to go through is this:
Realising where you stand as that is the essential first step to future success.
And that’s exactly the same with personal finance!
Enter the wealth ladder, a framework that gives you an idea of where you stand financially. While you may find many different versions out there, here’s an in-depth explanation of the Singaporean wealth ladder, as well as tips on how you can move up to the next step!
TL;DR: The Singaporean Wealth Ladder
There are six steps to the Singaporean wealth ladder from financial clarity to financial abundance.
- Financial Clarity
- Financial Stability
- Financial Security
- Financial Flexibility
- Financial Freedom
- Financial Abundance
- How Long Does It Take To Scale The Singaporean Wealth Ladder?
Welcome to the first step of the Singaporean wealth ladder! If you’re reading this right now, you are already on the right path.
Financial clarity is the transition from having little to no idea of what your financial situation is, to having a clear understanding and a path that you want to move towards.
Even if one happens to be earning a high income, it does not mean that they are financially literate! They could still be living paycheck to paycheck.
So if you happen to be in this situation where you don’t really know where your money is going, we have a comprehensive guide to help you attain financial clarity, the Seedly Money Framework:
If you follow this framework, you’ll have a very clear sense of where you are financially and a strong foundation to build upon!
The next step on the Singaporean wealth ladder is financial stability.
This is where you have a stable income that can cover your monthly expenses.
At this point, however, you are still vulnerable to things like being laid off or surprise medical bills. So try not to stay on this step for too long if you can help it!
Moving up, financial security is what most Singaporeans should, at the very least, aim for!
You would have truly achieved financial security once you have enough income to cover your expenses, with spare to save, AND saved up an emergency fund that can last you for six months or more!
You’ll need to be rather disciplined with your budgeting and have a “do not touch” emergency fund in case things do go south.
So, you’ve saved up enough emergency funds and have a stable income with disposable money? Welcome to financial flexibility where you have the spare cash to basically do whatever you want with it!
But if you want to move up to the next level, it’ll be wise to set aside money for investing, instead of spending them all on wants.
If you’ve followed the 50-30-20 rule, you would have set aside some money to invest. Investing can be done through a trusted financial adviser, or you can learn it yourself from folks like us:
While there are many personal finance blogs out there, sometimes it is also good to seek opinions from others such as our friendly Seedly community!
Just remember to always do your due diligence (research) before you put your money into anything!
Financial Freedom (Financial Independence)
This is probably the pinnacle step in the average Joe’s personal finance journey. You may have heard of the term financial freedom or financial independence. Both refer to the same thing:
Having sufficient financial investments and assets to generate income for the rest of your life!
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This also means that you no longer have to work if you don’t want to, and is also the basis for movements such as Financial Independence Retire Early (FIRE).
The key here is careful planning in both investing and retirement:
Congratulations! You now have more than enough money than you’ll ever need!
At this point, money is of no concern to you thanks to all the hard work you’ve put in over the years. If you have children, you may also consider passing down some of your wealth so they can get a headstart on the wealth ladder (but they still need to attain financial clarity!).
Otherwise, you may pay it forward by being a philanthropist or investing in others. It’s more about the legacy you want to leave behind than money at this point!
How Long Does It Take To Scale The Singaporean Wealth Ladder?
According to a study by St James’s Place, it takes affluent Singaporeans an average of 32.3 years to reach financial abundance.
Do note that the definitions they have used slightly differ from what we have and that this study is solely based on 1,000 Singaporeans from households that earn a minimum annual income of $70,000 to over $250,000.
For context, the median monthly household income stands at $10,099 in 2022, which translates to an annual median household income of $121,188.
While it’s interesting to have such data, remember that life isn’t just about money and you don’t have to scale to the top of the wealth ladder.
But if you’ve read this article and find yourself somewhere below financial security, we highly encourage you to work on it and move up to achieve it!