Financial freedom (40%) has overtaken having a happy family (34%) as the second most important purpose in life for Singaporeans while good health continues to be the top ranked purpose in life (53%), according to the findings of the AXA Better Life Index 2021 recently announced by AXA Insurance Singapore.
AXA says that this shift in life purpose is seen particularly in the millennial and baby boomer generations.
In tandem with this shift, more Singaporeans have added financial goals such as financial protection and wealth accumulation into their short- and long-term goals, whereas fewer have family-related goals.
Correspondingly, less count family support as a factor that empowers them to achieve their goals. For Generation Z, having good saving habits has replaced family support as the top factor of empowerment for achievement of long-term goals.
“The results have shown that the pandemic has inevitably changed how Singaporeans think about their future, with many reassessing their goals as well as focusing on more pragmatic aspects such as personal finance to build up resilience,” said AXA Singapore CEO Jean Drouffe.
Financial concerns remain, persistent uncertainty wearing people down
Among the struggles that Singaporeans face, emotional and mental stress has risen in rank compared to two years ago, brought on by the pandemic and the changes and challenges that have come with it.
Many still grapple with financial concerns, namely the increasing cost of living (45%) and inability to save enough money (33%) which remain the top two struggles Singaporeans face as they work towards their goals. Inadequate financial knowledge (33%) has become a struggle for significantly more Generation Z youth as they strive to build their wealth.
In addition, the persistent uncertainty surrounding the pandemic may have caused some Singaporeans to lose their drive to overcome struggles in life.
Fewer said they were committed to investing effort, time, and money to overcome the struggles they face in achieving their short-term (49%, down 8 percentage points) and long-term (51%, down 11 percentage points) goals compared to in 2019. Millennials and baby boomers recorded the greatest drop in commitment.
At the same time, however, financial goals are featuring more prominently in Singaporeans’ top goals.
For baby boomers, significantly more have financial protection in their short-term (51%, up 20 percentage points) and long-term (48%, up 5 percentage points) goals compared to two years ago. For generation Z, more are focusing on wealth accumulation, which has emerged as one of their top long-term goals (43%, up 4 percentage points).