Being 30 years old is weird. You transit from a wide-eyed fresh graduate who tasted money for the first time to a seasoned adult who is constantly managing your finances while planning for retirement. In this short period, you could have faced multiple milestones such as BTO-ing your first flat, getting married and having kids. These events will always throw a curve ball at your finances and keep you constantly on the toes of whether you are gonna make it to retirement.
At 30 years old, it is a good idea to sit down and evaluate if whatever savings you have at the moment are enough to tide you over in case of any black swan event like – retrenchment, unexpected health problem, hyperinflation or even if you are looking to take a sabbatical leave.
So, realistically, how much savings should you have at 30 years old to be considered average in Singapore?
Singaporean’s Savings Rate
According to the SingStat, Singaporeans are saving 31.3% of their income in 2023. This means that at an income of $2000 per month, an average Singaporean will save $500 every month. This is considered a pretty impressive amount given that inflation in Singapore is pretty strong at the moment.
A quick summary :
In a recommendation by Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), it is advised to save at least 3 to 6 months of your expenses in cases of downtime such as sudden retrenchments or spikes in expenses such as healthcare. If you do not know how much you are spending per month, you should be tracking them now. Track your expenses using an Excel sheet or mobile app over 3 months before taking the average as your expected monthly expenses.
If you are expected to spend $1000 per month, ensure that you have at least $3000 to $6000 in liquid cash in your bank account. This means that the money should be easily accessible, and some of the places you can park them include your Milo container, your bank savings account, or even Singapore Savings Bond (SSB).
Given the current outlook of stronger inflation and a weaker job market, it is also recommended to adopt a more conservative approach to your emergency funds. You can consider saving 6 to 12 months (or even longer) of your expenses instead.
30 years old is a time when many of us will reflect on what we want in life. Some of us are looking to get married, get a BTO or resale, or plan to have a couple of kids. Some of you are looking to take a sabbatical to travel the world, further your education, or even start a business.
No matter what decision you make, these usually involve spending a huge chunk of your savings, and any bad planning or ballooning spending will take a huge hit on your savings.
If you are considering any milestone decisions, it is also important that you have a separate budget (different from your emergency funds) to pursue them so that you can take that leap of faith, instead of being held back by financial considerations.
Savings at 30 Years Old
This is the savings we would “expect” for Peter, a typical 30-year-old.
Assuming Peter has been working for 5 years and is earning $3000 per month (before CPF deduction), he should have a nest egg of $45,000 ($750 x 12 x 5) by the time he is 30 years old. This amount would be considered the “average” based on the typical saving rates of Singaporeans.
If you are unable to save that much due to circumstances, at a minimum, it is highly recommended that you have at least 3 months of emergency funds in case of rainy days.
After tracking his expenses, Peter estimated that he spends $1000 per month. If he is looking to have 3 months of emergency funds, he should at least have $3000 saved up for emergency funds.
Outside of the emergency funds, there is no fixed amount to how much you should save when you are 30 years old. If you feel you are “not saving enough”, you can focus on increasing your saving rates to catch up in your savings.
These savings amounts calculated above are meant to be a guideline and not a strict requirement. If you are saving around or beyond the above amount, kudos to you. If you are not, fret not. Everyone has different circumstances and you should not be compared to the guy next to you on whether you are saving “enough”.
Last Updated: 01 Nov 2023