Expats not saving enough money survey suggests

by Ray Clancy on July 30, 2013

Expats not saving enough money survey suggests

Expats not saving enough money survey suggests

Many British people in Singapore are choosing to live the expat dream lifestyle while abroad rather than save money for their return home, according to a new survey. However, the results could easily apply to any country that enjoys a low tax environment, good weather and has a large expat community, according to the study by Standard Life.

Disposable incomes tend to be higher in countries such as Hong Kong, Australia and Saudi Arabia compared to the UK due to the combination of higher salaries and lower taxes. But the cost of living is also spiralling, forcing many foreigners living in these areas to increase their spending to keep pace. One of the big weaknesses for expats is holidays and travel. Richie Coombes, a British expat living in Hong Kong, said that many want to explore the region while they are abroad. ‘This is definitely true in cities like Singapore and Hong Kong, where South East Asia is right on your doorstep. It makes sense to visit places like Vietnam, Thailand and Bali while you’re only a short flight away from them,’ he explained.

Despite 85% of respondents earning more than in the UK, almost a quarter of them do not allocate any of their annual income to any sort of retirement savings. Instead, more than 20% of monthly salaries are used for holidays and travel. While saving is still done, it tends to be for short term expenses to fund lifestyles and leisure habits. ‘Singapore is one of the world’s most expensive cities to live in, making it easy to fall into the trap of spending more on short term lifestyle luxuries, the abundance of nearby travel temptations and the commitment of returning home to visit family,’ said Neal Armstrong, chief executive officer of Standard Life Singapore.

Quote from ExpatForum.com : “So with my basic salary of SGD8500, for a family of 4, how to live a good life in Singapore? what are the “mandatory” cost to be spent monthly?”

‘This certainly seems to be the case for nearly a quarter of respondents who prioritise lifestyle choices over planning for their future,’ he added. Another major cost is escalating international school fees. Many expats prefer to send their children to these schools to keep continuity, should they return to the UK. However, a growing number are forced down the expensive international schools route as governments bar foreign students from entering the local education system.

British expat and stay at home mum Jessica Foster has two children at an international school in Singapore. ‘We are lucky in that we kept our flat in London and rent it out. But we are unlucky as the pound has weakened which means less money is coming across,’ she said.

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