Is Your Net Worth Above US$255,488?

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The average net worth in Singapore is US$255,488 per adult, according to the just-released and inaugural Credit Suisse Global Wealth Report 2010. In Singapore dollar terms, this is S$335k per adult.

If you do not know how to calculate your net worth (also known simply as “wealth” in the report), see the Salary.sg article on Calculating Net Worth and Benchmarking It.

Interestingly, our median net worth is a mere US$30k per adult (or S$39k per adult). This means that people above the median have so much wealth that it skews the average to almost ten times the median.

Most other countries do not have such bad skewing, including US (whose average is 5x its median), India (3.8x), France (3.8x), Indonesia (3.6x), Taiwan (3.1x), UK (2.9x), China (2.7x), Australia (2.6x), Canada (2.4x) and Japan (2x).

To illustrate the skewing, imagine a group of five friends with $10, $20, $30, $40 and $50 each in their pockets. The current average is $30. The median is exactly the same, at $30. Now, give an additional $1,100 to the richest guy. The median remains at $30 but the average is skewed to $250!

This is what’s happening in Singapore.

Other information nuggets from the report: Singapore has about 1 million people in the world’s top 10% whose net worth is each more than US$72k (S$94k), and 110,000 people in the world’s top 1% whose net worth is more than US$588k (S$771k).

What is your net worth?


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26 Comments

  1. So many people in Singapore bought condos worth 800K and above. That means all of them are in the top 1% on the world! I’m amazed.

  2. to Koh, Calvin is right that many people bought condos with lots of debt (ie the mortgage loans). and many of these people bought with a partner (usually the spouse). even if they pay off the loan on a 800k condo, they each only have a share of 400k in it. only if they have another 300k+ of other assets will they be in the top 1%.

  3. wife and myself, debt free with combined net worth SGD 2M.

    we started work 11 years ago, but actually did nothing special, just working hard, getting good salary increments and investing in property.

  4. To Above Average, which industry are you in?

    I have a friend who has a non-sales job (e.g. fixed income, nothing significatn), but instead of putting all effort on his job, allocate some time for monitor the property market in singapore, especially after the 2007 economic dip. So, he made a bet, in property after the economic dip, and a few after that. Now, he is sitting pretty on few condos, and renting them out at a good yield, besides the capital appreciation on his properties.

    He got the timing right and a lot of hardwork monitoring and making bets.

  5. Then Many young couples are in the top 1% in the world. No big deal. They stay in Hdb and eat at hawker centres. Top 1% is a joke. Either that or Singapore people lead a lifestyle that’s too modest, or that they are trapped in the ‘asset rich cash poor’ situation, working their butts off to pay for the overburdening mortgages. And banks make the money… Buy bank stocks.

  6. My wife, myself and many of our friends, all of us true blue Singaporeans (gotta say this nowadays), are in the top 1% in the world by net wealth (each of us has more than 800k net wealth), but we surely don’t feel like we’re that wealthy. I agree with John that perhaps it due very much to having too many assets and too little cash to enjoy life as it should be enjoyed. We appear wealthy on paper but we are certainly not enjoying the wealth like the others in other countries. Then maybe one day we’ll wake up from our dreams and realize what’s the point of having so much paper wealth…

  7. more than 50% in the survey has more than 39k and 35% has more than 335k. from what i see, it seems that most of you guys are doing okay. what’s there to complaint about?

  8. Singapore’s median and average big gap difference is due to our small population. The other countries mentioned all had huge population compared to us. For a small population country, it just takes a bunch of rich capitalists to skew the average value.

    Remember when some academic report said that Singapore is ungreen and overdeveloped? They count by country area vs developed area. Those big countries have tons of ulu mountains and deserts and forests, of course their ratio values very green friendly.

  9. statis – your argument doesn’t hold well. take a look at the gini indexes here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_income_equality

    Singapore’s gini index is embarrassing (so is HK’s), but your small-country reasoning can’t explain the much lower income disparity (and wealth disparity) of ireland, norway, finland, denmark and switzerland, whose population figures are respectively 4.4m, 4.8m, 5.3m, 5.5m and 7.6m.

    these countries should also have their fair share of “rich capitalists” and their income and wealth are more evenly distributed.

    btw, who are the “bunch of rich capitalists” in Singapore? we don’t have li ka-shing, lee shau kee, the kwok family and robert kuok (who resides in HK). LKS alone has almost 3 times the wealth of our richest man ng teng fong and 14 times that of peter lim. yet our income disparity is just as bad as HK’s.

  10. Who else? Corruptors from Indonesia should make the list as well. A middle rank (meaning almost no power) corrupt tax officer called Gayus alone could buy up to 3 condos in prime locations. Imagine his numerous bosses PLUS the corrupt tycoons.

    All of these are public by the way.

  11. Of course, Singapore is always whoring itself for cash. Doesn’t matter where it comes from: corrupt Indonesian officials, Burmese dictators etc. all park their money here.
    Ethics are not allowed in SG banks!!

  12. http://www.earthrights.org/blog/french-bank-involved-trail-funds-burmese-dictatorship

    “According to our research, the BNP Paribas branch in Singapore was, and may still be, not only the depository bank of the project but also the primary bank of the Burmese regime itself. The Burmese peoples’ gas revenue was transferred from BNP Jersey accounts in the BNP Singapore branch to other accounts at the same bank, accounts held by the military regime.

    That means the Burmese military dictatorship relied on an account in the bank to move its funds – funds which should be benefiting the people of Burma.”

    The Burmese dictator-in-chief, Than Shwe, underwent surgery for cancer in Singapore. Do you think he paid his treatement with his Medisave?

    And Lun Thi, Energy Minister’s son Zin Maung Lun and Zar Chi Ko (the Energy Minister’s daughter-in-law) now live in Singapore and moved out their properties from Burma. I’m sure they don’t live in a HDB apartement…

    The United States and Europe have fairly strict financial sanctions on Burma, financial institutions in SG turn a blind eye.

  13. Is moving money from corruption considered money laundering? If not, then as long as the bank has done its part to verify the legitimacy of the money, however questionable, there shouldn’t be any further questions asked. Aren’t Swiss banks doing the same?

  14. Are you guys sure these questionable filthy rich people are taken into account in the Wealth Report? Don’t they just take into account PRs and citizens only? I don’t think these people you guys mentioned as “corrupt officials” are PRs of Singapore, right?

  15. You would be surprised! Of course, the officials themselves are not PRs but their sons, daughters, wives, mistresses etc. might very well be. They will get a big allowance from daddy in form of an ‘investment’ in their shadow companies. Regularly you see shops in prime locations that are always empty but somehow survive. It is not only officials of course but also PRC ‘business men’.

    Banks have limited resources in doing background checks and it doesn’t help if the Burmese financial institutions are in the hands of the dictators too. Legally there might not be a strict problem but it is definitely morally wrong! But of course morals and banks don’t mix…

  16. Ho said it all. That’s another part of money laundering i.e. giving the assets to relatives, sons, etc.

    Also think about the most important thing that would make Singapore prosperous? Good policy? Sure, but part of that good policy includes:
    1. Keeping the surrounding country weak one way of which is through corruption.
    2. Be a place that absorbs all that corruption money in a “I scratch your back, you scratch mine”.

    You are not small kids anymore, there is really nothing special about the island of Singapore despite what your geography teacher tells you, Indonesia, Malaysia etc have tons of islands that can be used as alternatives with much CHEAPER labor. So why hasn’t this happened ever? Could this people be THAT STUPID? Remember Indonesia’s economy is bigger than Singapore so they can’t really be that dumb no?

  17. Good points! Although I don’t think it is part of our official government policy to support corruption in neighbouring countries.
    Probably more a combination of greed, lack of ethical & moral compass and pragmatism (“if we don’t do it than some other bank or country will”) in Singapore’s financial institutions.

    Regardless of the cause, the outcome is still the same! Singapore is guilty of allowing the Burmese junta, its relatives & business allies, corrupt government officials from neighboring countries to bank and park their ill-gained assets safely and virtually unmolested over here.

  18. Singapore has about 1 million people in the world’s top 10% whose net worth is each more than US$72k (S$94k)

    why is so low?
    I saw a lot singaporeans are rich. You see all malls filled by singaporean teens to buy luxury products.
    And the salary we can get at least 2K. Why is just S$94K for top 10%? And the median is only S$39K. I suspect they include the primary school students too

  19. Being seen spending money and being rich are two different things!
    Young Singaporeans have the “luxury” to stay with their parents until they marry (read: MUST). This means they have a lot of disposable income because they don’t have to bear any housing costs…

  20. Is there any government with an official policy of supporting corruption internal and otherwise? The U.S.A does not support among other things corruption, money laundering and tax evasion, Are there U.S. people doing all of the above? Of course, just check out the 50K people with the UBS account and that’s just the known ones. Also as the US educated chairman of Li & Fung said in his broadcast to Harvard Business School : Anyone doing business in China and claiming no corruption, bribing, etc is lying.

    Common sense, that’s all.

  21. Given a choice, would u prefer to be a corrupted official with many condos or a law obiding citizen with an average income and a nasty boss?

  22. Pingback: Whats your net worth - Page 97 - Salary.sg Forums

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