Singapore Has “x” number of Millionaires? Where Do You Stand With Your Wealth?

Over the weekend, I was chit chatting with my friend who is a banker for more than two decades. He said that Singapore really have too many rich people.
I then asked him to make a guess, how many people in Singapore have more than USD 1 million net worth? This is based on Credit Suisse 2020 wealth report?

According to the report, calculation of net worth includes all personal financial assets, properties including owner-occupied homes and also market value of pension funds (e.g. CPFs), and subtract all outstanding debts. Figures are derived from national statistical agencies.

How many millionaires (USD) in Singapore? 

My friend’s answer is; “close to 1 million people.”
For perspective (data in 2020), Singapore has 5.7 million people.  Labour force is about 2.3 million (40%). Population of adults age 21 years and older is approximately close to 4.9 million (>85% of population).
The answer is 270,000 millionaires in Singapore in 2020. This translates to 5.5% of total Singaporean adult population with more than S$1 million net worth. i.e. less than 6 in 100.
Not as many as we thought!
How many in Singapore with US$ 50 millions and above? 


Net worth of US$ 50 million and above are considered ultra-high-net-worth (UHNW) adults. My friend’s guess is 10,000!
Again, not even close. The figure is way lower, with a total of 1,361 UHNW adults in Singapore last year, a mere 0.28% are UHNW! i.e. less than 3 in 1000 people.
My friend is surprised by the low figure. You can’t blame him, because of his job nature in the bank handling wealth of all the rich people. It is natural that he will have expected more rich people in Singapore.
Lest we forget that there are still a big group of Singaporeans with wealth just sufficient for their daily life, with a group of people struggling to make their means too!

COMPARISONS – PERCENTAGE OF MILLIONAIRES 


According to the report, there are 56.1 millions of millionaires in the world in 2020. i.e. Roughly 1% of adults in the world are dollar millionaires.
Switzerland is having the highest percentage of millionaires at 15%, followed by Australia and United States at 9.4 and 8.8% respectively.
In Asia, only HK is ranked higher than Singapore with 8.3% millionaires. Following behind Singapore is Japan (3.5%) Taiwan (3.1%) Korea (2.5%) and China (0.5%).
Overall, Singapore is ranked 11th in the world, in terms of millionaire percentage.
Refer to below table.

COMPARISONS – NUMBER OF UHNW INDIVIDUALS 

United States has the most number of UHNW with 110,850 people having more than USD 50 million, equivalent to 55% of the world total.
China is a clear second with 28,130 UHNW individuals, followed by Germany (8,630), the United Kingdom (5,100), Japan (4,670) and India (4,320).
The remaining countries in the top ten nations are France (3,750), Canada (3,510), Italy (3,560) and Switzerland (3,300).
Refer to below chart.

COMPARISONS – MEAN & MEDIAN WEALTH 


Singapore is ranked 10th in terms of mean wealth per adult in 2020. Average adult in Singapore has a wealth of USD 333,000.
Switzerland is again ranked 1st with average adult having USD 673,960 of wealth.
This is pretty decent figure for Singapore.  However, using the mean data is not really a good choice to look because of the non-normal distribution of wealth across the population.
To have better representation number, we will need to look at median.
When ranked by median wealth per adult, Singapore was ranked 20th in the world with USD 86,717. This figure is really surprisingly low for me.
Australia is the top ranked country with median wealth per adult of USD 238,070. This is pretty surprising for me, as I will have expect Switzerland or other European countries to the top the table.

INEQUALITY 


The report also found that Singapore’s wealth Gini coefficient stood at 78.3, much higher than its Asian peers Japan, Korea and Taiwan, with 2020 wealth Gini coefficients of 64.4, 67.6, and 70.8 respectively. A higher Gini coefficient indicates greater inequality.
Singapore’s wealth share of the top 1 per cent is also higher than the other three countries at 33.9 per cent at the end of last year. This is compared with 18.2 per cent for Japan, 23.6 per cent for Korea, and 27.7 per cent for Taiwan.
“In a small country like Singapore, higher wealth inequality can result from an unrepresentative cluster of very high net-worth individuals,” said the report.

SUMMARY

If you have more than USD 1 millionaire in net worth, then you are consider as top 5.5% wealthy in Singapore and top 1% richest in the world.
If you are not dollar millionaire, but have a net worth of more than USD 87,000, you are already considered more wealth off than the median Singapore adults.
If the figures are accurate, then I reckon that quite a handful of bloggers here are doing really well! Are you surprised by the figures so far?
Imagine a SGD million private housing is no longer expensive and many HDBs are also selling over the million SGD mark, and yet there are not so many millionaires here and the median wealth is also not as high.
Hmmm…..
Will love to hear your views on the figures!

For more information on the report, please refer to:
https://www.credit-suisse.com/about-us/en/reports-research/global-wealth-report.html

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3 thoughts on “Singapore Has “x” number of Millionaires? Where Do You Stand With Your Wealth?

  1. Hi,

    I'm in my late 30s and inclusive of CPF, I've above USD 1m in net worth. I was lucky to progress well in my career and gotten stable returns from investments and my business (sleeping partner, took a loan and invested with my close friend when I was in my early 20s and has proven to be the best investment I've to date). Within my group of friends I'd say it's split 50-50, but almost all have above USD 400k net worth.

    5.5% may seem low but within the age group band of 35-45 years old, I'm guessing it's at least 15%. I think USD 1m net worth below 40 is quite attainable but requires discipline and some luck. But is that a lot? I think it's a good buffer and can provide a relatively ok lifestyle for a single person based on USD 30k-50k spend per annum. For a family of 3, probably need USD $1.5m liquid asset excluding primary property used for lodging.

    Net worth is just a number and there is much more important things beyond that. These days, I tend to be less concerned on that but it's probably because I've set aside a good buffer. Looking to achieve FIRE in 3 years time which gives me the option and flexibility to re-think as current job has a lot of responsibilities and stress – manpower management, deliverables, complex issues, based overseas etc.

    Comparison is fine but most people will be sucked into 'why are you so lucky and I still have to suck it up' mindset which is a vicious toxic cycle.

    If you have achieved USD $1m net worth, that's good and please help the less fortunate in whatever capacity you can. But if you haven't, it's not the end of the world and life goes on. In fact, it's the people who have less who seemed to be happier and more relaxed and wondering why the richer counterparts are always worried! Haha

    1. Hi NA,

      Glad to hear your last part of the comments in helping the less fortunate in whatever capacity we can. I agree with you and it is really honourable. And yes…wealth don’t necessary translates to joy and happiness.

      Congrats for you and your friend being above the average net worth of SG.

      For the age band of 35-45 yo of 15%, I am not so sure. This is because this is the age where, household expenses are hefty and the profits from properties are definitely not as lucrative as those who are above 50, who purchased their flats at much lower price.

      Personally, I would have think that those 55-65 are probably the wealthier lot statically because of the higher accumulated CPF, cheaper housings during their time and lower cost of living during their time. This group is probably the more frugal lot.

      Also, there is a catch of thinking that most of our friends have higher net worth, but this probably need to divide by 2 pax, because I reckon that most in Singapore have joint wealth in their properties and are still in significantly debt compared to the value of the house. Anyway, this is just my opinion.

      Meantime, thanks for dropping by with your valuable comments and have a great weekend.

  2. Hi Rolf,

    Wealth comparison is fine for young people who have financial targets to see where they stand. Competition is a strong motivator.

    After a person has enough $$ for financial freedom, wealth comparison is irrelevant. In fact, it causes more heart ache than satisfaction because no matter how rich, someone else will be richer. Haha. For people who are lucky to be in the position to have way more than enough for himself and his family, it may be a good idea to be less penny pinching and spend more to boost the income of other people who provide a decent service/product but charge a little above average.

    Wealth is a good numerical measure for financial success but it has its flaws as a measure of success. I think how one attains wealth matters more than how much wealth one has attained. There are high paid but incompetent CEOs. There are high paid snake-oil salesmen. Then there are people like me who made some money in mainly zero-sum financial games. Any financial success achieved is enviable but better to keep a low profile and not glorify wealth attained in this manner.

    What I would like to see more are role models who create wealth for themselves and at the same time, create value to others in the process. Raising 4 kids, being a successful corporate leader who create good jobs and useful products/services is a better measure of success than pure networth alone. I see you have good chance in achieving that. Stay healthy!

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