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Complete NSF Allowance Guide: How Much Can You Earn As A Full-Time National Serviceman?

Here’s how much full-time national servicemen (NSFs) realistically earn during their two years of National Service.

Full-time national service is a rite of passage for all able-bodied Singaporean men go through upon turning the age of 18, unless exempted. For Singaporean guys doing their national service, these two precious years are an opportunity to build themselves up physically, and mentally and forge networks and friendships with people of all walks of life.

Interestingly, if you talk to financial bloggers or investors in Singapore, many of them got started learning and saving up for investing when they were doing their National Service. So, how much can one expect to make as a full-time national serviceman (NSF)? Let’s find out.

Read Also: Salary Guide To How Much Can You Earn If You Sign On As An Army Regular Officer/Specialist/Military Expert

How Much Do NSFs Get Paid?

From 1 July 2023, all full-time national servicemen (NSFs) across all ranks will see an increase of between $125 and $200 in their national service (NS) allowance, following the announcement from the Ministry of Defence (Mindef) and the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on 29 May 2023. This will enable NSFs holding the rank of recruit or trainee to receive a monthly allowance of $755, up from the current $630. It is inclusive of $680 in monthly rank allowance and a minimum vocation allowance of $75.

Source: CMPB

In addition to the above monthly rank allowance, NSFs who serve in technical and service vocations get an additional $75 in monthly vocation allowance, while those in combat vocations get an additional $225. However, for those in slightly more demanding combat vocations like Armour, Guards, Infantry, Combat Medics, Aircrew and those serving on board ships, they will receive a higher vocation allowance of $300.

For the few who serve in “riskier” vocations like Commandos, Naval Divers and Chemical, Biological, Radiological Defence or Explosive Ordinance Disposal (CBRE), they will receive $500 in vocation allowance, or “Risk Pay” as those in the service call it.

Source: CMPB

The ‘good’ thing about your NSF allowance is that it is classified as an allowance, so you don’t have to take a chunk out of the meagre amount and pay it into your CPF.

However, you have to pay taxes on it – but the amount (if any) would be small, since you’ll be barely clearing the $20,000 in tax-free chargeable income.

As a NSF, you also enjoy non-monetary benefits like medical and dental subsidies as well as complimentary Group Term Life and Group Personal Accident insurance.

Read Also: Complete Guide To SAFRA Memberships: How Much They Cost And What Benefits You Enjoy

How Much Would A Non-Combat NSF Earn?

Assuming you’re not in a combat vocation, exempt from IPPT, and have a very typical promotion path, say getting promoted to Lance Corporal 13 months into your National Service, you can expect to make.

[(680+75) x 13)] + [(700+75) x 11] = $9,815 + $8,525 = $18,340

How Much Would A Combat Enlistee Earn?

If you’re a trooper in a combat vocation like Infantry, here is what you can expect to earn, assuming you get promoted on your 13th and 22nd month of service.

[(680+75) x 2) + [(680+225) x 11]* + [(700 +225) x 9] + [(750 +225) x 2] = $1,510 + $9,955 + $8,325 + $1,950 = $21,740

*We assumed an increase in vocation allowance from the minimum $75 to $225 that a combatant may receive.

How Much Would A Combat Specialist Earn?

Specialist Cadets receive a starting rank allowance of $700 and a vocation allowance of $225 during their training. This is how much a specialist who holds the rank of third sergeant can expect to earn for the duration of their 24-month service.

[(680+75) x 2] + [(770+ 225) x 6]+ [(1,000 + 225) x 16] = $1,510 + $5,970 + $19,600 = $27,080

How Much Would A Commando/Naval/CBRE Officer Earn?

This is the absolute highest allowance NSFs can receive by becoming an officer in a vocation with the highest vocation allowance. Officer Cadets receive $100 in Combat Allowance during their training.

[(680+75) x 2] + [(960 + 500) x 10]* + [(1,200 + 500) x 10] + [(1,380 + 500) x 2] = $1,510 + $14,600 + $17,000 + $3,760 = $36,870

*We assumed an increase in the monthly vocation allowance of $500 that NSFs in the Commando vocation would receive.

Stretching Your NSF Allowance

Many might argue (and have argued) that the allowance we give our NSFs are too little. As a former NSF, I would say that more is always welcome. Interestingly, because all your other costs are covered by the SAF, including accommodation, daily necessities, and food, you don’t really spend much, unless your posting allows you to stay-out.

If you are able to stash away as much of your allowance as you can, you might be able to accumulate a tidy sum that will place you in good stead for the next chapter of your life – whether that is tertiary studies or starting work.

Read Also: 22 Useful Items You Can Buy From The SAF eMart – That You Can Use In Your Civilian Life

This article was first published on 13 August 2018 and updated with the latest information.


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