I was wondering what is the salary that one would need in order to survive life here in Singapore. It would not be surprising to hear a wide range, perhaps from as low as 1k/mth to as high as 20k/mth. That's because we want different things in life and for certain things, we really do not want to do without because if these basic comfort levels are gone, then our quality of life also decreases. After all, we do not want to merely survive; we want to live a life. Knowing that this would be a subjective topic, let's just start with me.
Here's some of the basic things that I need to pay on a monthly basis:
1. Food $200
2. Parents $650
3. Insurance $400
4. Mortgage for house $1000 (my part alone)
5. Phone and internet bills $80
6. Groceries $80
7. Car expenses + loan $360 (my part alone)
8. Water and electricity bills $100
9. Conservancy charges $60
10. Overseas holiday $100
11. Entertainment $50
This amount does not include tax yet. But tax on a monthly basis would not add much to the overall figure. To avoid underestimating some variable expenses and to account for tax, let's just put a blanket figure of $3300. That should iron out all the variation in certain expenses and include tax too, which would make the figure a pretty good estimate of how much I need to live comfortably.
I think the median salary per month in Singapore in 2011 is $2700 and the average salary is $4,100. That should make the $3300 a pretty average kind of salary for a comfortable life here. But bear this in mind, if you really earn that much and spend it all, you won't have much savings, if at all. If you are retrenched, or just simply retired from work, you won't have a drop of money to last you a month. That means that if you plan to retire, you need to earn more than this amount. So how much is a good salary that can cover my expenses and to include savings?
I think savings 20% is too low for my liking, so I would say a minimum of 50%, which puts the income at 6.6k per month. With that kind of salary, I can pay my expenses plus save up another month of expenses for the future. This makes things a lot easier to calculate. For every month that I'm earning a 6.6k salary now, I’ll be able to NOT work for another month in the future. So, if I still have 20 yrs of working life left, then I don't have to work for 20 yrs till I'm dead. Of course, this simplistic back-envelope calculation does not include the eroding effects of inflation, but neither does it take into account what I can do with the savings that I stashed aside.
I mustn't let my income drop below 6.6k. But this year is a hard year for me, so far. Bearing in mind that in the future, the expenses might go up or down, so it's good to do this kind of calculation in the future again. My target of 100k savings is still in-the-works, and I still want to push my income level towards 12k. If that happens, hor say liao, haha :)
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