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Building wealth: Over 50% of Singaporeans would forego luxury spending to get richer

To build wealth, Singaporeans were also willing to sacrifice work-life balance and family time.

The Keppel Bay area in Singapore, illustrating a story on Singaporeans sacrificing luxury items to generate more wealth.
A study revealed that 53 per cent of Singaporeans would sacrifice spending on luxury items to generate more wealth in the long term. (PHOTO: Getty) (tobiasjo via Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — More than half, or 53 per cent, of Singaporeans are willing to sacrifice spending on luxury items to generate more wealth, according to a study conducted by wealth management group St. James's Place Asia.

The study, titled "Accelerating the Wealth Journey – From Stability to Abundance", looks at 1,000 affluent Singaporeans between the ages of 25 and 64 categorised across five different levels of wealth – Financial Stability, Financial Security, Financial Flexibility, Financial Freedom and Financial Abundance – and how they approach areas such as wealth creation and inter-generational wealth transfer.

All respondents were from households with a minimum annual income of S$70,000 to over S$250,000 and held personal investments such as stocks, property, and funds.

Different levels of wealth as defined in the St James's Place survey,
Different levels of wealth as defined in the St James's Place survey, "Accelerating the Wealth Journey – From Stability to Abundance". (SCREENSHOT: St James's Place)

Besides luxury items, the study also found that 51 per cent of Singaporeans were willing to sacrifice work-life balance to generate more wealth over the long term, while 42 per cent said they were willing to sacrifice family time.

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Furthermore, the study revealed that the wealthier an individual is, the more likely they are to advocate for sacrificing in other areas of their life to attain goals. As many as 76 per cent of those who are financially abundant – the highest wealth level in the survey – believe in making work-life balance sacrifices as compared to respondents from other levels of wealth.

Are Singaporeans happy with their wealth?

More than half of Singaporeans (55 per cent) in the study said they do not consider themselves to be financially wealthy.

Overall, only 38 per cent of those surveyed said they were happy with their level of wealth, with 42 per cent saying that they would like to be wealthier, and only 19 per cent believing they are too wealthy.

From the stages of financial stability to financial flexibility, the study showed that most Singaporeans will continue to believe they have too little wealth (Financial Stability – 55 per cent; Financial Security – 56 per cent; Financial Flexibility – 52 per cent; Financial Freedom – 22 per cent; Financial Abundance – 4 per cent).

Only when they attain the level of Financial Freedom will they believe they have sufficient wealth, and at the point of reaching Financial Abundance will most believe they have accumulated too much (55 per cent).

Across the board, the thought of losing wealth makes 92 per cent of the respondents anxious. However, the level and frequency of anxiety decreases with each level of wealth although this increases again when the individual becomes financially abundant.

Some 60 per cent of individuals in the Financial Abundance level have said that they constantly or frequently feel anxious at the thought of losing wealth.

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