1 in 3 Singaporeans are in debt

Around 33 percent, or one in three Singaporean investors are in debt, revealed the latest Manulife Investor Sentiment Index and reported Channel NewsAsia.

This places the city-state behind Malaysia (68 percent) and the Philippines (41 percent), but ahead of Taiwan and China (both 32 percent). Examples of debt include student loans, personal loans and credit card debts. Mortgages were not included.

Manulife found that 46 percent of indebted investors here owe $10,000 or more, and 44 percent expect to take over one and a half years to pay off their debt. Daily living expenses, like food, transportation and utilities emerged as the top contributor to investors’ debt, followed by discretionary expenses like travel, clothes and entertainment.

Fewer female investors were in debt compared to their male counterparts, at 28 percent compared to 37 percent respectively. Moreover, men held a significantly higher average debt at $40,985 compared with $25,502 for women.

Meanwhile, 69 percent of Singapore investors regret not planning their investments better, the survey showed.

When asked the reasons for their regrets, 27 percent said they were not proactive when they reviewed their portfolio, while 26 percent cited holding on to too much cash rather than making more investments.

“Singapore investors are taking steps in the right direction by working hard to keep track of their expenses and save for retirement. However, their debt burdens may be holding them back from achieving their financial goals,” said Naveen Irshad, President and CEO of Manulife Singapore.

“We encourage Singaporeans to look at planning their finances holistically, from making the most of their savings to protecting their wealth and securing a comfortable retirement.”

The Index is a half-yearly survey which tracks and measures investors’ views across eight markets within the region. Manulife noted that the findings are based on 500 online interviews in each market, namely Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Japan and the Philippines.


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