Manulife 3-Generation Survey: Millennials in Singapore prioritise spending on short-term goals over saving for retirement

| 07 Nov 2018

A recent study conducted by Manulife suggests that one in two Millennials have started saving for the future, ahead of any other generation. However, the research also revealed that compared to other generations, the majority of Millennials perceive short-term life goals such as creating an Instagram-worthy home as being more important than saving for retirement.

This is according to a survey commissioned by Manulife that polled 1,000 respondents in Singapore across three generations, Millennials, Gen X and Baby Boomers, to understand their saving priorities and attitudes towards retirement.

Difference in perceived life priorities; Millennials are starting to save for their future at a younger age than Gen X and Baby Boomers

Contrary to popular belief, Millennials in Singapore are super savers as it turns out that 55% of those surveyed are already saving up for the future; on average, they started at the age of 27. In comparison, the average Gen X started saving for retirement at 35 and a majority of Baby Boomers only started close to 40. In fact, a worrying one out of four respondents aged 50 and above has not started planning or saving for retirement, citing not having extra money as the main reason.

When asked about their top priorities in life, Millennials placed more importance on saving for their first home over saving for retirement. Across the board, all respondents cited buying a house as a top priority, with retirement being a higher priority than having their first child.

Millennials are also spending more than any other generation on their desired life stage goals splurging or expecting to splurge an average of SG$177,000 on the renovation of their first house and over SG$209,000 on the purchase of their first car, over 45% more than the other generations.

1 in 2 of all Singaporeans not confident about retiring

Regardless of their generation, spending priorities and saving plans, about half of the respondents expressed uncertainties when asked about how confident they are to afford their desired lifestyle during retirement. Among those who have not started planning for retirement, one in four Millennials is unsure how much is needed for a comfortable retirement.

A noteworthy 30% of Millennials, 41% Gen X and 46% Baby Boomers indicated that they will be looking for other sources of income after retiring. In fact, one in three respondents is expecting to work through retirement, underscoring the question of whether Singaporeans are adequately preparing themselves to achieve a comfortable long-term retirement.

Manulife Singapore's chief customer officer and chief transformation officer, Kwek-Perroy Li Choo said: “Based on the survey results, it seems that Millennials are expecting to invest more to have a good quality of life, as they are more willing to spend on their perceived life priorities compared to the other generations. To continue living the life they want, it is necessary to help them understand what options they have at their disposal when it comes to retirement planning and planning for the future. These options also need to be simplified so as to make retirement planning as simple and hassle-free as possible. Once Millenials have more insights into the cost of their retirement and how to achieve it, they will be able to take the necessary steps along their life journeys to get to where they want to be. With life’s unpredictabilities, having the freedom and flexibility to adapt to changes is key.”