Why Are Hard-Working Singaporeans Still Poor Even After Years of Saving Diligently?

Your morning routine is simple. You wake up. Get your morning coffee. Then make the trip to work. The cycle repeats the next day and you think, “Here we go again.” Every day it’s the same routine. And every month, you get the same outcome: a fixed salary. It’s the paycheck you and your family rely on to make ends meet. Every month, it’s the same old story.

Do you remember when you were able to enjoy a cup of kopi for barely a dollar? Or when bak chor mee was less than half the price it’s being sold for today?
Because we certainly don’t.

Nowadays, Singapore is known as the hub of innovation and in turn, it has also become the hub of ridiculous prices. Our economy has evolved into a utopia for outsiders to come in and revel in our nation’s resources and increasing capabilities. More tech start-ups are coming in. More foreigners are living on our land. Everywhere you look, the ones who are enjoying what our forefathers built are the ones who never had to break their backs to work for it. You can say that this economic expansion has propelled our great nation to become a formidable powerhouse worldwide.

But at what cost?

The Cost of Living Does Not Meet The Average Singaporean’s Standard of Living

The movie ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ puts Singapore in a spotlight of luxury and bourgeois living. Media has long portrayed the shiny bright side of our country for its high-tech infrastructure, absurdly strict laws and the warm welcome of the zero-to-one start-up hype. We earned a reputation for being one of the world’s most expensive cities to live in.
Only the real citizens of the country know that there’s a battle with modern-day poverty. The story of the typical Singaporean goes that they are Asset Rich and Cash Poor. So yes, while we can get that house we were all told we needed since young to secure our future… consequently, we have also secured a cumbersome debt that would typically last 10 to 15 years. Thus, making it a liability. And what for?

“Enjoying the Sunday paper before starting work again to pay off debts”


The household debt crisis that has crippled us for years has been disruptive. Not just on the economy. Not just on its citizens. But also on our overall well-being. One prime example is of Mr T who is a senior executive in the telecommunications industry in his late 40s. He owns a few private properties and is burdened with a monumental loan of nearly $2 million. Each night he struggles to sleep as the deficit grows and he worries that he is spending more than he owns. Or worse… spending money he doesn’t have.

His story is neither unique nor common. Many of us aspire to build our wealth to keep up with the rapid socio-economic landscape. The symbol of affluence has long been associated with the pursuit of the “property dream”. However, it isn’t feasible for everyday Singaporean. Not by a mile. The current property price tags are set to cater to those who are within the wealthier bracket of the population. Too many of us are forced to take incredibly high mortgages and unattractive returns.

The property dream should no longer be the goal of the modern-day Singaporean. Robert Kiyosaki, the author of ‘Rich Dad, Poor Dad’, has redefined the word asset as “things that put money in one’s pocket” and not something that in turn makes one poorer. Popular assets today come in the form of stocks

Therefore, we should all set out to redefine our wealth by learning how to invest our money. Trading is one of the most powerful money-making tools that you can add to your arsenal in the war against economic struggle.

2 out of 3 Singaporeans Can’t Retire At Their Desired Age

Have you ever wondered why Singaporeans do not retire early?
You see our oldest population constantly working. Day in. And day out.
The aunties and uncles who are struggling are your children’s teachers, your bus drivers, your butchers, your neighbours, your mother, your grandmothers, and maybe even you too.


“Ageing population but still working”


A couple of months ago, the latest Household Expenditure Survey conducted its every-five-years research and revealed that retiree households living in HDB flats receive an average of $1,522 each month; the majority of which comes from the income of their children or other family members. The survey also indicates that 62% of Singaporeans are not saving enough to be able to retire. Our very own Manpower Minister, Josephine Teo, has recently announced that the retirement age in Singapore will raise “although when and by how much is yet to be determined”.

“Oldest working hawker at age 90 and still working”


Ms Leong Yuet Meng of Nam Seng Wanton Noodle House is a 90-year-old known as the oldest working hawker in the country. This ah ma wakes up at 4.30 am every morning to prep her stall while most of us are still sound asleep. This has been her life for the past 60 years. Although she is happy with her life, she does not wish for this to be the case for her grandchildren.

The sad reality is that retirement adequacy in Singapore has been at the bottom of the priority list amongst our policymakers for the longest time. To accommodate the globalisation and technological growth, something had to give. Unfortunately, we have become collateral damage in our country’s hunger for prosperity.
The best plan of action to safeguard your future is to learn from the mistakes of our elders. Too many of them relied on their savings only to find out that they’ve collected dust. If more of our retirees had learnt the financial secret of investing their savings, then they wouldn’t have come to dread retirement.

So what can you do to make your money work for you

Singaporeans Are Relying Solely On Saving Instead of Investing

“John, surname unknown, runs ESI Money”


John runs a popular finance blog called ESI Money and has an impressive online following due to his financial acumen. Thus, making himself a millionaire able to retire by the age of 52. He’s a big advocator of what he claims to be “three simple steps to wealth” which are Earn, Save, Invest. Hence, the name of his blog. However, these steps have eluded too many of our citizens.

Back in the 1960s, there was a modest vegetable and fruit farm in the heart of Jurong. It was run by Madame J. Due to the Land Acquisition Act, her farm was seized by the government who compensated her $20,000. Her first act was to put all that money in the bank. She spent her entire life living in a religiously frugal fashion and only making limited withdrawals until she passed away at 98 years old. She thought that 50 years of earning bank interest rates would leave her children with a handsome sum. But she was sadly mistaken. Upon checking, her children found only $15,000 in her bank.

Madame J’s story would have had a different ending had she invested her money. She could have possibly left her children with a few million dollars if her money had worked instead of staying quiescent.


We’ve all seen the get-rich-quick schemes and scams that plague this nation. We’ve grown desensitized to the ads promising us fortune overnight. We’ve grown tired in believing that our current income is enough to sustain our livelihoods. We’re exhausted.

Alas, there is always a way out. A break. And hopefully, for most of you, your soon-to-be big break. Seeing as how most of the rich stay rich by saving what they’ve earned and then investing what they’ve saved… We can also do the same and emulate their success.

“Rayner Teo, founder of TradingwithRayner”

Rayner Teo is an independent trader who founded TradingwithRayner and currently sets the bar as the most followed Trader in Singapore. His list of accolades doesn’t stop there as he was also voted Top 5 Most Help Traders on Twitter, with a following of 75,000 devout traders who religiously read his blog each month.

As a young man, he was enlisted into the 1st Commando battalion for his national service. During his time in the army, he read a book called ‘Secrets Of Self-Made Millionaires’ by Adam Khoo where he learnt a valuable lesson that even his academic career at the University of London couldn’t teach him; there is more to life than just working for somebody and that’s what prompted Teo to begin his journey in trading.

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