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4 Financial Concerns That Hit Hard When You’re in Your Thirties

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Joanne Poh

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For many, being a twenty-something in Singapore is about spending all your cash on hipster cafes and craft beer, signing up for your first credit cards, and posting photos of your overseas vacations on Facebook. Without home loans and kids to worry about, 20-somethings are as financially free as they’ll ever be. That could be why so many young Singaporeans have no savings.

But when Singaporeans reach their thirties, the financial concerns start piling up. Here are four financial concerns that young Singaporeans can expect to have when they hit their thirties.

 

1. Buying a home

The median age at first marriage is in the late twenties or early thirties in Singapore, and for most Singaporeans, it’s when they get married that they take out their first housing loan. Those who decide to buy property without tying the knot can finally do so at 35 if they wish to purchase HDB flats. Then there are a few well-earning folks who manage to fork out the cash for condo units.

The thing about buying property in Singapore is that it can really change the way you think about money. If you’re taking out a long mortgage of 20 years or more, you’re going to be spending most of your working life paying for your home. You can no longer quit your job on a whim, and retrenchment no longer just means that you run out of beer money. You get the freedom of having your own place, but financially your hands can get tied.

If you’re afraid that buying your first home will make you a slave to your mortgage, it’s advisable to be extremely prudent when selecting a property. Pick one that you can well afford at your current salary, and work out how much you’ll need to borrow before committing.

 

2. Having kids

There’s no question the government has tried all sorts of ways and means to ease the financial burden of having kids. But the cost of bringing a child into the world, and then making sure he or she makes it to adulthood in one piece, continues to weigh on parents’ mind.

To put things into perspective, the maximum Baby Bonus amount you can receive for a first child is a maximum of $14,000. On the other hand, Singaporeans have estimated the cost of raising a child in Singapore to be between $200,000 and $1 million, with a  middle-range average being about $360,000. For the average couple, starting a family means that spending patterns have to change.

 

3. Saving for retirement

Technically, everybody with an income should be saving for retirement, no matter how young. In practice, however, Singaporeans tend not to think about retirement in their twenties—or even much later. That’s why the majority of Singaporeans are very sadly unprepared for retirement.

Even if you spent your twenties living from paycheck to paycheck, when you’re in your thirties you are probably at a more stable stage in your career. You might even be getting a little burnt out and hoping you won’t have to work with this intensity all your life.

It’s really time to start preparing for retirement if you haven’t already. Thanks to compounding interest, you’ll have to save a lot less if you start investing now than a decade or two down the road.

 

4. Putting your career on the right track

Unless you’re one of those people who are lucky enough to know what they want out of their careers the minute they leave school, or are stubborn enough to stick it out for the rest of your life in a job you dislike, your twenties were probably a time of soul searching and experimentation.

Now that you’re in your thirties, you should be feeling the urgency to get your career on the right track if you haven’t already.

If you spent your twenties lamenting about a low income, you have hopefully done enough upgrading over the years to command a better position right about now. If you were on the wrong career path and wanted to make a switch, you might have the chance to do so after gaining a few years of work experience and saving a bit of money.

However, if you haven’t gotten your act together, don’t worry—there’s always a midlife crisis to look forward to.

What financial concerns do you have now that you’re in your thirties? Tell us in the comments!

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Joanne Poh

In my previous life, I was a property lawyer who spent most of my time struggling to get out of bed or stuck in peak hour traffic. These days, as a freelance commercial writer, I work in bed, on the beach, in parks and at cafes, all while being really frugal. I like helping other people save money so they can stop living lives they don't like.