Millennials in Singapore aren’t just spending money on avocado toast – they’re also managing to save a decent amount for retirement, according to research published on Wednesday (Dec 4) by investment advisory firm Syfe.
The company polled 1,000 working adults here aged 25 to 60 – including 319 millennials aged 25 to 34 – for its retirement readiness index, which used an algorithm to calculate an inflation-adjusted retirement score based on participants’ income, savings, investments, home ownership and lifestyle expectations, Business Insider reports.
Millennial respondents had “adequate” levels of retirement readiness, provided they could maintain their current savings rate and relatively low debt levels, the report said.
This is in contrast to the average retirement readiness of all participants, which was rated as “low”.
In general, 60 percent of respondents were unprepared for retirement given their current savings rate, while 40 percent were prepared.
It added that 63 percent of millennial respondents saved at least 20 percent of their salary, far higher than respondents from other age groups. Less than half of all respondents saved 20 percent of their salary or more.
The report said respondents needed to save at least 30 percent of their salary or more to qualify as “adequately prepared” for retirement, while those who saved under 10 percent were generally unprepared for retirement and would have to downgrade their lifestyle.
Overall, 70 percent of respondents – and 60 percent of millennials – did not believe they could maintain their current lifestyles during retirement.
Even among respondents earning over S$10,000 per month, about half said they anticipated a lower standard of living after retirement.
Syfe cautioned, however, that once home ownership, children and responsibility for parents came into the picture, most millennial respondents would likely see their retirement score plummet due to low savings and high debt.
“With fewer financial responsibilities, millennials may find it easier to save more… (they) should aim to save as much as possible in their 20s and early 30s, and consider investing the surplus,” the report said.
On average, most respondents polled – including the millennial demographic – kept about half of their assets as cash in savings accounts.
Those who attended retirement planning seminars or did their own research about investing had higher retirement readiness levels than those that did not, it added.
The report also cautioned Singaporeans against counting their home as an asset during retirement planning, as many spent a significant portion of their income paying off mortgages and found themselves “asset rich but cash poor” during retirement.
“Home ownership does not guarantee retirement security… an individual with most of their retirement savings tied up in property assets could be facing a less than ideal retirement since this property wealth does not contribute to retirement income,” the report said.