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Having a Side Hustle; Investing In Crypto; Aiming To Retire By 57: 10 Facts About Young Singaporeans’ Financial Lives Today

Young Singaporeans want to retire before 60.

Young Singaporeans financial wellness

This article was written in collaboration with OCBC. All views expressed in this article are the independent opinion of based on our research. is not liable for any financial losses that may arise from any transactions and readers are encouraged to do their own due diligence. You can view our full editorial policy here.

The increasingly unpredictable global economy has impacted the financial lives of many young Singaporeans. In fact, the OCBC Financial Wellness Index which measures the financial health of Singaporeans found that these conditions have created a net negative impact.

In particular, younger Singaporeans in their 20s and 30s are feeling the heat. They still aim to retire at an earlier age, but to do so, some are turning to riskier products such as cryptocurrency, while others have side hustles.

We look at 10 financial insights about young Singaporeans.

#1 Young Singaporeans Are Saving More, But Only Half May Have Enough To Overcome A Financial Crisis

The average young working adult, in their 20s and 30s, has a savings rate of between 31% and 35%. This is not only higher than what those 40 and above are setting aside, but also more than what they were saving last year.

Singaporeans average savings rate

Source: OCBC Financial Wellness Index 2022

(All screenshots are taken from the OCBC Financial Wellness Index 2022 website or report)

However, more Singaporeans are saving up for travel-related expenses rather than beefing up their emergency funds, boosting their retirement nest eggs, or investing more.

Why Singaporeans are saving more

This may be a function of the widespread re-opening of borders around the world in 2022. Travel plans may be high on the agenda for many after not being able to travel for several years.

Unfortunately, just over half of Singaporeans have enough emergency funds to last 6 months of their current salary. Worse still, only 45% have enough savings to run their households for one year. This highlights a potentially serious gap should individuals lose their income.

Singaporeans do not have enough emergency funds to last 6 months

#2 Young Singaporeans Least On Track With Their Investment Goals

With the rise of digital advisory platforms, age is no longer a barrier for younger Singaporeans to start their investing journey. They are as likely as older Singaporeans to have started investing.

However, younger investors in their 20s were least on track with their investment goals. Only 36% indicated they were on track, a big dip from 51% in 2021.

Younger investors least on track with investment goals

The survey results indicated this comes on the heels of a poor year for investors, with more than a third of Singaporean investors suffering investment losses in 2022.

More than a third of investors made a loss in 2022

#3 Younger Singaporeans Want A More Comfortable Retirement Lifestyle

While collecting responses for the OCBC Financial Wellness Index, respondents were asked to select their preferred retirement lifestyle from three options:

Singaporeans preferred retirement lifestyle

Young Singaporeans in their 20s were more likely to choose the most luxurious retirement lifestyle option. More older Singaporeans preferred the more affordable retirement lifestyle option.

Retirement lifestyle

As a group, the respondents underestimated the cost of all three retirement lifestyles. The disparity in estimation was also bigger for the most luxurious lifestyle:

  • Retirement Lifestyle A: underestimated by 25%
  • Retirement Lifestyle B: underestimated by 26%
  • Retirement Lifestyle C: underestimated by 37%

Cost of retirement in Singapore

#4 Young Singaporeans In Their 20s Want To Retire At 57

Despite wanting a more luxurious retirement lifestyle, younger Singaporeans also want to retire much earlier. Singaporeans in their 20s wish to retire at 57, while those in their 30s wish to retire at 58.

What age do Singaporeans want to retire

This is in spite of the retirement and re-employment ages recently going up and slated to rise to 65 and 70, respectively, by 2030. Younger Singaporeans are hoping to retire even earlier than the existing retirement and re-employment ages of 63 and 68.

#5 40% Of Singaporeans In Their 20s Have Not Started Their Retirement Plans

The OCBC Financial Wellness Index showed 32% of all Singaporeans have not even begun making retirement plans. Notably, younger Singaporeans in their 20s were the biggest culprits, with 40% of them yet to start planning for retirement. 35% of Singaporeans in their 30s also have not started planning for retirement.

Many Singaporeans have not started planning for retirement

Of the 68% of Singaporeans who have started their retirement plans, only 42% are on track with their plans. This is a 7 percentage point drop from 2021.

Less Singaporeans on track for their retirement plans

#6 Young Singaporeans Are Turning To High-Risk Investments

With a goal to live out an earlier and more luxurious retirement, young Singaporeans are least on track to meet their investment goals. This is in stark contrast to 2019, when Singaporeans in their 20s were most on track to meet their investment goals.

Young Singaporeans retirement adequacy

In their haste to build up a sizeable retirement nest egg, Singaporeans in their 20s and even 30s are also turning to high-risk investments.

For investors in their 20s and 30s, 14% and 12% of them invested in high-risk, high-return products respectively. 18% of those in their 20s and 14% in their 30s group are investing in cryptocurrencies.

Young Singaporeans taking high risk investments

Moreover, the OCBC Financial Wellness Index study found that 39% of cryptocurrency investors in their 20s said they were likely to invest more in the next 12 months. This is despite registering an average loss of 40% from crypto last year.

We can also see in the table above that investors in their 20s made the smallest returns in 2022, with 42% of them incurring losses.

#7 More Young Singaporeans Are Spending Beyond Their Means

More Singaporeans spending beyond their means

Almost 1 in 4 Singaporeans across all age groups are spending beyond their means to keep up with peers. This is up from 1 in 6 Singaporeans in 2021. Even when Singaporeans set aside savings, it was more likely for travel compared to contingency funds, retirement or investments.

Across all income levels, there were also more Singaporeans taking on credit card debt. One-third of credit card holders often “paid only the minimum sum” in 2022.

#8 Younger Singaporeans More Worried About Achieving Their Personal Financial Goals

In general, younger Singaporeans are more worried about their personal finances in 2022. In the table below, we can see that their worries spanned diverse personal financial goals, including building wealth, having enough for their retirement and their loved ones, buying sufficient insurance coverage, affording a home and more.

#9 More Than Half of Young Singaporeans Have A Side Hustle

Fortunately, their worries and poor investment performances are mitigated by their propensity to take on side hustles.

66% of Singaporeans in their 20s have a side hustle, and 53% of those in their 30s have a side hustle today. Hopefully, this will go towards building a supplementary income for their retirement.

Almost half of young Singaporeans have side hustles

#10 Young Singaporeans Who Sought Professional Advice Scored Better In Their Financial Health

Young Singaporeans in their 20s were the least likely to seek professional advice from financial institutions. Only 34% of those in their 20s sought professional advice.

Those who seeked professional advice scored better

It is also telling that young Singaporeans who sought professional advice from financial institutions scored better on the OCBC Financial Wellness Index compared to those who didn’t (65 vs 57).

Most Important Things You Can Do In 2023 To Safeguard Your Finances

If you’re interested, you can also see how “People Like You” have fared in the OCBC Financial Wellness Index 2022 – so you can relate to their situation and do better. Alternatively, you can take a simple Financial Wellness Quiz to gauge your personal situation – and adopt better financial habits.

The Report also had some suggestions for how to improve our financial health.

As a first step, we should understand our financial situation. We can track and monitor our expenses, and create a budget so we do not overspend. We should also avoid high-interest debt and pay off credit cards on time, while saving at least 10% of our monthly salary – with a target to have at least six months of emergency funds saved up.

Saving without proper investing may not be ideal as inflation chips away at our spending power. We have to also kick-start our wealth building journey.

Next, we need to consider our protection needs. An integrated shield plan and a hospital and surgical plan for unexpected bills should be the starting point. Subsequently, we can add other types of coverage, such as critical illness and life insurance plans, to protect us and our loved ones from the possibility of losing our income.

Finally, we need to plan for our future by putting in place our retirement plan as well as other long-term plans such as paying for our children’s university education.

On an annual basis, we can also review our finances. While it may not be possible to implement all our financial plans at once, we can work on them incrementally to get us to our goals. It’s also useful to review our finances, especially as we move into new life stages or hit certain life milestones (such as having a child, buying a home, or landing a dream job,) to ensure we plug our financial gaps regularly.