Singaporeans not optimistic about their financial future

| 02 Nov 2019

Despite living in the most financially healthy country in Asia Pacific, Singaporeans don't feel optimistic about their financial future. After charting the strongest score in GoBear's regional Financial Health Index, 41% of Singaporeans aren't feeling optimistic about their financial future.

In an online survey with over 4,000 respondents across four countries in Asia Pacific to better understand the financial health of people across the region, GoBear confirmed findings based on people’s financial choices and behaviours across the region. The findings revealed that Singapore is the most financially healthy country scoring a 68 out of 100 in the GoBear Financial Health Index (FHI) compared to Hong Kong SAR (64), Thailand (61) and Indonesia (60).  

Singaporeans are not optimistic about their financial future

Despite securing a relatively healthy score in GoBear’s FHI, an unexpected 41% of Singaporeans don’t feel optimistic about their financial future. According to behavioural finance and market psychology expert Wong Kon How, a great deal of these insecurities comes from societal pressures.  

Wong Kon How, behavioural finance and market psychology expert

“This past year, GDP growth in Indonesia was 5.05%, while in Singapore it was only 0.6%. As a developed nation, we’re limited when it comes to our GDP growth since we can’t rely on the supply and demand of natural resources like other countries. Instead, we’ve invested our future on other high value-added activities in the manufacturing and services sectors. But this leaves our talent under constant pressure to keep up and stay competitive in a space where opportunities are narrow and limited,” he said. “On top of that, we’ve become accustomed to a certain quality of life and feel the added pressure to keep up appearances within our community. And it’s all of this pressure combined that’s led to our lack of financial optimism.” 
Singaporeans also feel a lack of confidence when it comes to their financial health, which is creating financial insecurities and gaps. Despite 91% of Singaporeans claiming to have at least an average level of financial knowledge, 43% don’t feel financially secure and 1 in 3 say they don’t know how to grow their wealth effectively. 

Singaporeans are asset rich, but cash poor

While Singaporeans seem to have a handle on their overall financial health, a surprising 21% of Singaporeans claim they can’t live beyond a month if they were to lose their main source of income. According to Wong Kon How, this is largely because Singaporeans have their cash earnings tied to investments like their CPF and property ownership.  
And despite being tight on cash, they aren’t taking action to grow their wealth or manage their money effectively, with 25% believing that investing is very risky and 1 in 5 still keeping hard cash at home in their piggy banks. 
Singaporeans have a myopic approach to financial health

56% of Singaporeans claim that becoming financially independent is a top priority to save money. However, their quest for financial independence is beyond their control, with 1 in 2 (54%) saying the cost of living is outpacing their earnings. With all the financial pressures Singaporeans face, it’s even more important to be smart and savvy when it comes to managing their money.

Winston Ng, GoBear, Singapore Country Director

GoBear’s Singapore Country Director Winston Ng explains, “There’s no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to managing our financial health. Everyone has different needs and are at different stages of life, but we can always improve our understanding of ways to make our money work harder. This is where GoBear comes in. As a financial supermarket, our technology gives people access to customised financial solutions. All they have to do is tailor their search by their needs and be matched to the relevant products. Our data and insights mean we can work closely with partners to build better products, improve overall access to financial products, and identify user knowledge gaps to continue to offer the most relevant solutions.” 

GoBear has plans to improve financial health in Singapore and across the region through educational programmes and a refined approach to product development, enabling the brand to address the unique challenges of each market. This includes developing a simplified online quiz slated to launch on the brand’s website next month, so visitors can identify their financial personality to start taking active steps to improve their financial gaps. 

GoBear believes financial health leads to secure, stable, and sustainable communities across Asia, which is why they’ve made it their mission to improve financial health by making financial literacy, financial inclusion, and financial security attainable for everyone. 


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