58% of emerging rich here rely on bank savings to hit goals : Poll

Many of Singapore's emerging affluent segment are trying to achieve their top financial goals by placing their assets in lower-yielding products like bank deposits, according to a new survey.

It found that 58 per cent of those polled here use savings accounts as their preferred method to reach their financial goals, higher than the global average of 49 per cent.

This may explain why 25 per cent of Singapore respondents feel they are far from hitting those goals, noted Standard Chartered Bank, which polled 11,000 emerging affluent consumers from 11 markets across Asia, Africa and the Middle East, including 1,000 here.

The emerging affluent are those aged 21 to 55, with an annual income ranging from $60,000 to $192,000.

The annual study said 44 per cent of people surveyed here cite children's education as their main goal; 22 per cent of them say it is an investment property; while 22 per cent want funds to set up their own business.

One in two of Singapore's emerging affluent in the 35 to 44 age bracket says children's education is the top financial goal.

CHOICE OF INVESTMENT INSTRUMENTS

Other than savings accounts, respondents also favour other products to achieve their top financial goals. Around 21 per cent use fixed deposits, 17 per cent cite equity investments, and 15 per cent favour mutual funds.

Around 54 per cent of Singapore's emerging affluent consumers also say they do not have an investment strategy. They say they either do not know which product to pick, or believe they do not have sufficient financial knowledge to even try.

Digital money management is gaining popularity, with 65 per cent saying they feel like they have more control over their money, thanks to online banking. And 61 per cent say their familiarity with digital tools has been vital to their success.

Singaporeans are also embracing digital wealth management.

More than half say they would invest in financial products online with assistance from an adviser, while the same number would accept a high level of risk for a high level of return when investing online.

The findings suggest that even as respondents increasingly rely on digital means to grow their wealth, they believe that advice from a trusted adviser is key to achieving their goals.

HIGH EXPECTATIONS OF SALARY INCREASE

Only 16 per cent of respondents say their salary had increased significantly - by 50 per cent or more - over the past five years, while 33 per cent expect significant increases in the next five years.

With such high and possibly unrealistic expectations, it is not surprising that 44 per cent of those surveyed say their strategy to meet financial goals is career progression and salary increases.

Mr Andrew Chia, head of retail banking at StanChart Singapore, said: "Emerging affluent consumers may find that over-reliance on savings accounts and earnings risks delaying the achievement of financial goals."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on November 18, 2018, with the headline '58% of emerging rich here rely on bank savings to hit goals : Poll'. Print Edition | Subscribe