Expats in Singapore worried about rising living costs: survey

Lunchtime crowd and expats crossing Robinson Road in the CBD area, 10 August 2011. British and European expatriates are worried about rising living costs in Singapore, even though most of them earn more and save more here, according to a survey
Lunchtime crowd and expats crossing Robinson Road in the CBD area, 10 August 2011. British and European expatriates are worried about rising living costs in Singapore, even though most of them earn more and save more here, according to a survey released on Wednesday. -- PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - British and European expatriates are worried about rising living costs in Singapore, even though most of them earn more and save more here, according to a survey released on Wednesday.

It also found that most of them think that maintaining a lavish lifestyle is more important than saving for their retirement or their children's education.

Half of the 128 respondents polled in July this year felt that their salary did not match the cost of living in Singapore, said savings and investments firm Standard Life, which conducted the study.

About 47 per cent of respondents also said they felt "nervous" about their retirement financial situation, it added.

This was even though 80 per cent of the expats surveyed earned more and 70 per cent saved more than they did before moving to Singapore.

"Expats live like kings today; 90 per cent of respondents prioritise lifestyle over retirement savings and savings for children's education," Standard Life said in its report.

"This demonstrates how the anxiety expressed by nearly 50 per cent of respondents regarding their long-term financial situation surprisingly does not appear to translate into direct action."

Mr Neal Armstrong, chief executive and principal officer of Standard Life Singapore, said in a statement that though more expats are earning and saving more in Singapore than they did before coming here, "the increase in earning power and disposable income coupled with greater saving potential have unexpectedly been offset by rising costs of living".

He added: "Many of the expatriates we reached out to through this survey view balancing financing family commitments and retirement planning as mutually exclusive savings goals."