Being wealthy in Singapore

I came across an article in Raising Savers the other day, which discusses the definition of wealth.

These are the definitions which she managed to googled.

  • Webster’s dictionary defines “wealthy” as people who have an abundance of material possessions.
  • Wikipedia discusses wealth in the United States as a measurement of net worth, which is the sum of all assets, including the market value of real estate, like a home, minus all liabilities.
  • Similarly, in the book The Millionaire Next Door, authors Stanley and Danko define wealth as having a net worth of $1 million or more. Based on this definition, only 3.5 million (3.5 percent) of the 100 million households in America are considered wealthy. About 95 percent of millionaires in America have a net worth of between $1 million and $10 million.
  • According to Slate and the World Top Incomes Database, a household income of about $113,000 lands you at the top 10th, while $394,000 makes you a bona fide member of the 1 percent  – surely signs of wealth by today’s standards.

Note that the above figures are all in US dollars. I thought I would want to find out something similar in Singapore, since according to Forbes, we are the 3rd richest country in the world (by GDP per capita)!

  • According to this article in Motley Fool, wealth can described as having a net worth of US$1.5 million. That’s around S$1.9 million, at the then rate of exchange.
  • In the 2015 income comparison by,  to be in the top 10%, you need an annual income of S$171,000 (US$121,000). If you aspire to be in the top 5%, your annual income has to be $263k (US$186,000).
  • The 2012 report by Wall Street Journal indicates that we have the highest percentage of millionaires in the world. In the same report, it was quoted:

“Singapore had 188,000 millionaire households in 2011 – or slightly more than 17% of its resident households. Effectively, that equates to more than one in every six Singapore households having disposable private wealth of over US$1 million, excluding property, businesses and luxury goods. If those were included, it would likely push the number of millionaire households even higher, since property in Singapore is among the world’s most expensive.”

Yes I already know, we have lots of wealthy Singaporeans. And residents.

But to be honest, I didn’t realise that the figures were so high, considering that they exlcuded property.

The next question is, how much is enough?

I would be impressed to see how many can answer that question.

There’s a saying that goes …. “Nobody will ever think that they have enough”.

Well if that’s the case, why do you need so much money for? Isn’t it sufficient to just have roof over the head, food on the table, and perhaps the extra for some medical coverage etc.

To be honest, that’s probably a question that many haven’t given much thought of. They might have set a target, how much to amass over their lifetime, etc, and probably don’t think much of their spending since they literally have money to burn (ok, I might be exaggerating here). Rich people could practically afford anything they want as long as you can buy it with money.

At the end of the day, wealth signifies a lot of things. It could be a self-made status, it could be inherited. It is also highly coveted. But at the same time, it is also something that you could easily lose.

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