According to GoBear’s regional Financial Health Index, despite living in the most financially healthy country in Asia Pacific, Singaporeans don’t feel optimistic about their financial future.
GoBear, Asia’s leading financial supermarket, commissioned an online survey with over 4,000 respondents across four countries (Hong Kong, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, and Thailand) in Asia Pacific to better understand the financial health of people across the region.
Specifically, the Singapore start-up wanted to identify common gaps around personal finance – from financial literacy, to financial security and financial knowledge.
The findings from the survey confirmed that based on people’s financial choices and behaviours across the region, Singapore is the most financially healthy country scoring a 68 out of 100 in the GoBear Financial Health Index (FHI) compared to Hong Kong (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 Mr Wong Kon How, a great deal of these insecurities comes from societal pressures.
“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,” said Mr Wong.
“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.” he added.
What’s more, 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 Mr Wong Kon How, this is largely due to Singaporeans having their cash earnings tied to investments like their Central Provident Fund (CPF) and property ownership.
Additionally, despite being tight on cash, the study stated that Singaporeans 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.
Ultimately, with all the financial pressures Singaporeans face, it’s even more important be smart and savvy when it comes to managing their money.
“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,” commented Mr Winston Ng, Country Director of GoBear Singapore.
Click here to watch GoBear’s campaign video that summarises the survey findings.