Opinion

5 Personality Traits That are Costing Singaporeans Money

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Joanne Poh

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A formidable money saver and investor is not born without some very desirable personality traits, such as an ability to think outside the box and not be a gullible lemming. But nobody’s perfect, so if you fall short it doesn’t mean you’re doomed. However, there are also some personality traits that put you on the fast track to financial disaster. If these five adjectives describe you perfectly, don’t be surprised if you can’t seem to hold on to your hard-earned cash.

 

Insecure

In Singapore, billionaires rub elbows with people struggling to put food on the table. Dazzling displays of wealth and a materialistic culture that relates self-worth to wealth means that lots of people feel pretty darn insecure.

And that means a lot of money gets wasted in a bid to boost flagging self esteem, even if the person in question really can’t afford to spend that much. For instance, lavish weddings are usually nothing more than attempts to show off, while “upgrading” your perfectly serviceable Kia for a BMW is frequently an attempt to show you have “arrived”.

 

High maintenance

It could be all those Korean dramas. In Singapore, being “high maintenace” or princessy is often a point of pride, proof that someone has the resources to demand the high life. Anyone who self-identifies as high maintenance obviously needs to spend a fair bit of money to upkeep their image, unless they’re lucky enough to have a sugar daddy/mummy to do the spending for them. And since spending lots of money validates their self image, saving and investing are unlikely to be priorities.

 

Kiasu

The word “kiasu” has become Singaporeans’ defining characteristic, and can be seen in most segments of mainstream society, from the parents who overload their kids with tuition to the aunties who cut in line at NTUC. In some circumstances, being kiasu can actually save you money, such as if you’re an auntie making a beeline for the sale section at the supermarket.

Unfortunately, aunties aside, it seems that saving and investing money isn’t something people are that kiasu about these days. Instead, people get kiasu about spending thousands on tuition to make their kids O level ready by the time they’re in Primary 3, or greedily investing in too-good-to-be-true schemes that turn out to be scams.

 

Entitled

When you think the world owes you a living, the mere thought of having to clamber onto the bus with a bunch of sweaty fellow commuters or share tables with the hoi polloi at a hawker centre can be difficult for your delicate constitution. Broke? Instead of getting a side job or working on your CV, why not just complain about it instead? And of course, when a new iPhone gets released, you totally deserve to have the best. And who has time to do anything yourself when you can pay someone to do it itstead?

 

Kiasee

Other than the hardcore gamblers who sail the Batam seas in floating casinos or shout themselves hoarse in Hokkien at the Turf Club, Singaporeans are by and large risk averse. The siege menality that has become a trademark of the Singaporean psyche means that kiasee people are aplenty. Kiasee people are afraid to lose money, so they don’t invest.

They believe that the only investment that’s safe enough for their money is property, but they don’t have enough money to buy property and anyway they’re not married so they’re not eligible for HDB property right now anyway. So instead they let their money languish in their bank accounts, slowly getting eroded by inflation and the occasional splurge at Louis Vuitton.

Do you exhibit any of the above qualities? 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.