Photo by Oleksandr Pidvalnyi on

I came across this interesting article on The Business Times, INSIDER, published on June 7, 2023, sharing how the typical Singaporean Millennials of today are living in one of the World’s most expensive cities, Singapore. As a Xennial, I can empathize how stressful that is and also how it makes achieving F.I.R.E. (Financial Independence, Retire Early) more difficult.

Photo by cottonbro studio on

Introduction: Singapore today is known for its fast-paced lifestyle, vibrant economy, and sky-high living costs. Singaporean millennials were brought up by parents who instilled in them the importance of the 5Cs — cash, car, credit card, condominium, and country-club membership. These status symbols represented the equivalent of the “Singapore dream,” and the race to collect all five Cs pointed to a culture of “kiasu,” an intense fear of missing out. 

The Singapore Dream presents a unique challenge for millennials looking to achieve financial independence. While the pursuit of the F.I.R.E (Financial Independence, Retire Early) movement is gaining popularity worldwide, Singapore’s expensive housing market and high cost of living often tempt individuals to prioritize materialistic goals like cars, cash, and condominiums. In this blog post, we’ll explore the ability of F.I.R.E in Singapore and how millennials can strike a balance between financial independence and the allure of material possessions.

Photo by Houzlook .com on

Understanding F.I.R.E: The F.I.R.E movement emphasizes saving aggressively and investing wisely to accumulate enough wealth to retire early and pursue personal passions. It promotes a minimalist lifestyle, reduced consumerism, and conscious spending. However, in a city like Singapore, where competition and societal pressures are high, it can be challenging to resist the desire for luxurious possessions and keep up with the expectations of success.

The Temptation of Chasing Cars, Cash, and Condominiums: Singaporeans are no strangers to the pursuit of status symbols. Cars, cash, and condominiums are coveted as tangible representations of success and social standing. However, it is crucial for individuals to pause and critically evaluate their priorities amidst the allure of these desires. The long-term implications of chasing materialistic dreams and the potential drawbacks of ownership should be carefully considered.

Published in The Straits Times on June 11, 2023, an article sheds light on the contrasting reality faced by bungalow owners in Singapore. Owning a bungalow has long been associated with great wealth and accomplishment. However, for some of these owners, the situation is far from idyllic. They find themselves trapped in the paradox of being “asset rich, cash poor.” While they possess valuable properties in the form of their bungalows, their lack of sufficient liquid funds poses a challenge in meeting daily financial needs.

The predicament of being “asset rich, cash poor” among these bungalow owners highlights the importance of understanding the true cost of material possessions. The allure of wealth and status symbols can overshadow the long-term benefits of financial independence. It is crucial for individuals to conduct a thorough evaluation of their priorities and consider the trade-offs associated with their desires before succumbing to societal pressures.

Photo by Pixabay on

The Cost of Living in Singapore: Singapore consistently ranks as one of the most expensive cities globally. High housing prices, rising inflation, and the need to maintain a competitive edge financially can make it seem impossible to achieve F.I.R.E. However, by adopting smart financial strategies, such as budgeting, investing, and optimizing spending, millennials can gradually pave their path towards financial independence. Additionally, seeking professional advice and adopting prudent financial planning strategies can help navigate these challenges.

Photo by Mikhail Nilov on

Potential Strategies for Achieving F.I.R.E in Singapore:

  1. Savings and Investments: Prioritize saving a significant portion of your income, ideally aiming for a savings rate of at least 50%. Invest wisely in diversified portfolios, taking into account risk tolerance and long-term financial goals.
  2. Real Estate Considerations: Instead of rushing into purchasing a condominium, consider alternatives such as renting, co-living spaces, or government-subsidized housing. Explore property investment options that align with your financial goals and risk appetite.
  3. Mindful Consumption: Be mindful of your spending habits and differentiate between needs and wants. Focus on experiences and personal growth rather than material possessions. Practice delayed gratification and make intentional purchases that add long-term value to your life.
  4. Side Hustles and Entrepreneurship: Leverage Singapore’s vibrant business environment and explore side hustles or entrepreneurship to generate additional income streams. Diversifying your revenue sources can accelerate your journey towards financial independence.
  5. Community and Support: Connect with like-minded individuals pursuing F.I.R.E in Singapore. Seek support from online communities, attend meetups, and learn from others’ experiences. Surrounding yourself with a supportive network can provide motivation and guidance during challenging times.
Photo by Pixabay on

The six millennials and the elderly woman and her daughter who are bungalow owners, as discussed in the articles, shed light on some social issues prevalent in Singapore today. These issues include the high cost of living, the fast-paced lifestyle, low birth rates, and the predicament of being asset-rich but cash-poor.

In conclusion, considering the aforementioned challenges, achieving financial independence in Singapore’s costly environment requires finding a delicate equilibrium between pursuing F.I.R.E and succumbing to the appeal of cars, cash, and condominiums. Developing a deeper comprehension of the true costs linked to material possessions and embracing a mindful approach to personal finance can help millennials strike a balance. This balance allows them to enjoy the present while simultaneously building a secure future. It is crucial to recognize that the journey toward financial independence is unique to each individual, and making intentional choices that align with personal values is essential for long-term fulfillment and sustainability.

Credit to:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *