Why is Singapore one of the top choices for
retirement? Huh? Really? Isn't Singapore one of the most expensive cities in the world? Hello!
Sky high property prices and ridiculous car prices with COE shooting through the roof! So
why would Singapore be considered one of the top choices for retirement? As we Singaporeans
always say Sure boh? Well before I set some context to today's video, a short introduction.
one half of the Corporate Breakout Couple. In 2020, my wife Fran and I retired young in Singapore and
we love making retirement videos. Okay, let me set some context. First, I'm addressing Singaporeans and
Permanent Residents and because this group of people will have no issues staying in Singapore
for the long term. For foreigners without PR, I'd like to share with you some reasons in today's
videos why you want to make Singapore your Top Choice as a retirement destination.
means of course getting a leg into Singapore first working here, getting your employment pass
and then getting your PR and then eventually getting your Singapore citizenship. Allow
me to share with you the beauties about my beloved Singapore. For one, we have world-class
infrastructures and amenities. For example the transport system. The public transport system is
amazing from the buses to the MRTs, they're so well connected and very nicely air conditioned and very
clean as well. Number two: Safety and Security. That is something that we should never ever take for
granted, even though Singapore has a low crime rate. Remember low crime doesn't mean no crime.
Number three: Singapore is a cosmopolitan city and diverse in culture. As a foreigner, you will
feel right at home here. Number four: Singapore is a clean and green city, one of the cleanest in
the world. Look what's going on behind me. People are cleaning up the beach voluntarily. Number
five: Racial harmony.
Singapore has many races and multiple religions and Singapore has
done a great job to keep everyone living harmoniously. I would like to talk about the cost
of living in Singapore. In today's times, the perception of Singapore Incorporated, that's how
we call it, is that it's a very expensive city to live in. That may be true from outside looking
in but for Singaporean and PR who's working and living here, it's important to have context with
respect to your earning capacity, your salary, with respect to your quality of life which is your
basic needs and your wants, and importantly with respect to your purchasing power in Sing dollars.
If you actually dive in into the numbers, you'll find that there's certain cost categories that's
pretty affordable such as your public transport and your Hawker food. If you are Singaporean or PR
earning $5,000 SGD every month and the cost of a unlimited bus and MRT ride card cost $128 SGD,
that's only 2.5% of your total salary. What about Hawker food? You can find meals going
for three to four SGD and that's a very small percentage of the salary.
What about cooking
at home? Cooking at home can be really economical as well and you can find everything in Fair
price and Cold Storage, whatever you need. As much as Singaporeans don't want to admit it, the cost of
basic needs is actually not as high, with respect to the average household income. So is it really
as expensive as what we are complaining about? Let me tell you something. What I really believe
is it's the lifestyle inflation that's causing all this talk and I'm talking about hipster cafes..
can you live without traveling every quarter, half yearly or every yearly? Can you live without your
restaurants, your Japanese, your Italian food? That is the lifestyle inflation that's causing all
What about housing? It's true housing can be pretty expensive in Singapore, even
for public housing like HDBs. HDB prices are no longer starting at $100,000 to $200,000 SGD
but going for $400,000/ $500,000 SGD. However as a Singaporean, I know that much of your property
loan can be serviced by CPF, which you cannot take out anyway and the government gives a lot of
subsidies for first timers and not forgetting, most importantly the prices of property in
Singapore generally goes up so you're holding an item of value.
Therefore, your top three expenses
your transport your groceries and food and your housing which is mostly serviced by your CPF, they
are actually pretty low percentage of your total income. In today's video, I actually like to cover
some technical aspects about Singapore, namely the financial stability and strength and the
geographical location and I'm doing comparisons because I've been traveling around together with
my wife, going around the different places and looking at different retirement destinations
and I will still name Singapore as one of the top choices.
Singapore is a Global Financial Hub,
growing from strength to strength. Our pro business environment, our regulatory system which is very
effective, our infrastructure that supports all that and attraction of top talents substantiates
that. For that reason, we have attracted lots of high net worth individuals into Singapore.
For example Ray Dalio, founder of Bridgewater Associates, one of the largest hedge funds and
we have Google co-founder Sergey Brin, they set up Family Offices here during and after
the pandemic. And we also have high net worth individuals who have converted to Singaporeans
like Eduardo from Facebook, you have Li Xiting, you have Forrest Li, who are from China.
We have lots and lots more bringing more money into Singapore. It's no wonder when the Singapore
Government released their Securities and Bonds, the demand is so strong from your MAS bills, your T
Bills, your Singapore Savings Bond and lots more. And they are all solid AAA ratings. All that is
pointing to Singapore being a safe haven for your money. One of the important aspects of this video
that I would like to cover is the Sing dollar currency strength and the purchasing power.
one of the important things for you to recognize as a retiree in Singapore, holding Sing dollars. You
know that your dollar will work really hard for you because of the strength of purchasing power
that you can buy whether it's for imported goods or traveling around, so this really supports your
retirement lifestyle and your means. I'd like to share with you some charts on the foreign exchange
between Sing dollars and other currencies like your US dollar, Japanese Yen, Aussie Dollars, your
Pounds and how it has performed, to share with you why our Sing dollars has increased in purchasing power
over the years. Let's look at Sing dollars versus Malaysian Ringgit which I'm pretty sure Singaporeans
and Malaysians are familiar with. This is the last 20 years chart starting from 2003 which the number
the Sing Dollars to Ringgit, it was at 2.20.
Today, it has hit a high of 3.50, one of the highest. So you
can imagine the appreciation that that Sing Dollars have strengthened against Ringgit just by 20
years. For those of you who are old enough, you'll know that Sing to Ringgit was actually at par which
is one to one in 1980. Here's the Sing Dollars against Aussie dollars, one of the major currencies
for the last 20 years. The earlier 10 years from 2003 to 2013, you can see that for Aussie Dollars
it's stronger than Sing Dollars around 0.8 on average with the exception of Lehman Brothers, the
Great Financial crisis period in 2008/ 2009 after which you can see that from 2013 onwards, there is
a steady increase. Steady increase of Sing Dollars appreciation against Aussie Dollars to around 1.1, almost 1.15 today. How about the performance of Sing Dollars against the other major currencies?
So for the last 20 years, this is the chart for Singapore Dollars against British Pounds.
2003, it was around 0.31, 0.32 and has gone up to over 0.6 today, almost double. And what about Sing
Dollars to Euros? That was around in 2005, around 0.5 now it's around 0.7 against Euros. What about
another major currency Yen. In Japanese Yen, in 2003 was around $1 SGD to 62 Yen. Now is around $1 SGD to 108 Yen, 109 Yen. So the appreciation for the last 20 years has been very drastic and major for the strengthening of
Sing Dollars. What about Sing Dollars against the Greenback, which is the US Dollars? So in 2003/2004,
it was around 0.6 and hitting a high of 0.8, 0.82 around 2011, and then normalizing to around 0.7
to hovering around the range of 0.73, 0.75 for now. So why has Sing Dollars not appreciated against
the Greenback as much? Well that's because USD is currently still the world's Reserve Currency.
Based on data from IMF as of Q2 2023, they are at 58.88% market share and what that means is
countries of the world are holding their foreign exchange reserves in USD. That's why the US Dollar
continues to be the dominant currency with Euros at a distance second at almost 20% and China RMB
is 2.45%, still miles away from USD.
And what that means is when the US Federal Reserve prints money,
the rest of the world follows along because USD sets the precedence. How does the dynamics of all
this currency impact you as an individual, in terms of inflation and the eroding of your currency?
Now let's look at this chart. This is the Federal Reserve debt from the Central Bank of USA and how
much debt they're holding till date. Starting from 1971 when the gold standard was taken off when
President Nixon decided that, you know, US Dollars are going to be backed by the Government, that's
when fiat currency was born and you can see debt has started to increase steadily, linear actually,
until around 2007/2008 and what happened was the Global Financial crisis, the housing crisis where
Ben Bernanke, the Federal Reserve chairman decided to go heavy into quantitative easing, printing of
money heavily, you can see from a debt of around 9, 10 trillion, this is trillion not millions, trillion
all the way for the last 10-15 years till around 32 trillion as of today. And what that means is
inflation has severely increased because of the debt incurred and that eroded your purchasing
power all around the world.
You know, Fran and I talk a lot about inflation and quantitative easing,
about money printing and all the different money dynamics in the world because we feel there's a
need to raise awareness in this world, in terms of financial literacy and that's one of the key
reasons why we started our Breakout Academy. Talking about finances, talking about breaking free,
breaking out the rat race and talking about early retirement because we really like to help people
to find their feet in this world so that they can then make powerful choices for themselves. Do
check out our Breakout Academy. I will advise you to not look at Singapore as a single retirement
destination. The world is our oyster. Traveling is the way how we can gain experience and really open
up our eyes.
What am I talking about? For example Singapore is an international hub, a regional hub
for businesses. For example your Finance industry. Do the same for your retirement as well. Use
Singapore as your hub so that you can go around the region especially Southeast Asia like Malaysia,
Indonesia, Thailand where you can stay for 6 months, one year, I mean depending on the visa requirements,
but use Singapore as a hub so that you can really explore all the different destinations in your
That brings me to my next point: Diversification. When you travel frequently and
you're exposed to different countries, different cultures and let's say their stock exchanges, their
housing market and all that, you will feel more inclined to want to invest in the different places.
Why? Because when you diverse across countries, you diverse across currencies and different assets
that actually hedges your risk and reduce your Risk of Ruin. So Singapore is actually in a perfect
sweet spot position to dance with the rest of the International Community and the Government
has done a fantastic job to do that, so that we stay very up to date, very up to tuned and our Sing
Dollars holds its currency strength and continue to strengthen actually, for us to improve and
increase our purchasing power to stay strong and relevant.
And as a retire in Singapore, your savings
and Investments are protected here in Singapore and you really get to stretch your dollars and
as the Singapore government is doing a great job to grow Singapore economically, strength to strength,
you will continue to enjoy a stronger purchasing power. Many people feel very stressed living in
Singapore because of the fast-paced environment. However, you think about it, that is true for
any metropolitan city that's very competitive. However if you are retiree or early retirees like
Fran and I who have Time Freedom, you have plenty of opportunities to explore different aspects of
Singapore in a very slow pace, comfortable, taking public transport everywhere with no rush
and there's no crowd like East Coast Park today, at the beach, there's hardly anybody and we
get to really go to different shopping malls, enjoy our time to explore Singapore.
about cost? Actually in Singapore, you have lots of choices. For example coffee. It can be as
cheap as $1+ Dollar in a local kopitiam or Hawker Center or you can go to Yakun and Toast
Box with slightly more expensive about $2 Sing Dollar or if you really want to splurge for
specialty coffee, it can go as high as SGD6-7, it's really your choice.
The point I'm driving at is, don't limit yourself. Create your llfe by your own design. Think out of the box. Singapore can be your home base for retirement but you also can have multiple regional bases for you to enjoy other countries as well. And perhaps for those of you with kids, you can retire early as
well. Think about this.
When you're in your 50s, your kids would have grown up. You can also enjoy
your life to the fullest and think out the box and you don't have to restrict yourself to only
one locality. Given a choice, would you consider Singapore as your top retirement destination?
I'll like to hear from you below in the comments section. Do comment the reasons why you would or
would not! We hope you have enjoyed a different point of view about Singapore today. Do hit
the Like button and Subscribe to our YouTube channel to join our YouTube family. See you in
the next video. If you interested in breaking out of the corporate 9-5 rat
race or embark on your early retirement journey, do check out our Breakout Academy,
where we'll support you further on your goals.