From The Straits Times    |

Credit: Her World

Do you find that you’re spending less these days, but still not saving as much as you want to?

You’re not alone. According to the results of the Her World What Women Want survey 2023, 54% of respondents tweaked their habits by spending less to combat the effects of inflation. Inflation has impacted the relationship that women have with money – for one, it’s motivated 56.7% of women to invest more, while essential spending has gone up by 5-20% for more than 75% of respondents.

For this year’s What Women Want survey, we wanted to understand the financial health of Singaporean women: How do you approach saving, spending, inflation and retirement planning? We received more than 800 answers, from women aged mainly between 25 and 44, and got a snapshot of the financial health of Singaporean women.

Here are some of the key results:

Spending

Respondents typically spend about 30% of their salary on essentials, and 15% on shopping and entertainment. They mainly spend on F&B, followed by beauty and fashion. 60% of respondents are diligent about tracking their spending every month, while 63% have debts to clear. Of course, housing loans top the debt pool, followed closely by credit card debt.

Respondents were cognisant that they need to reduce their spending, with 46% stating that they would like do so, but are deterred by lifestyle preferences (69.2%), and family commitments (55.9%).

Investments

The good news is that 9 in 10 respondents currently have investments in financial products, including fixed deposits (49%), stocks (42.9%), saving bonds (38.3%) and investment-linked products (34.8%). Interestingly, 19.2% have property investments, while 11.9% have crypto investments. Half manage their own funds, while 22.9% use a robo advisor (like Endowus or Syfe).

Only 7% said that their financial knowledge was excellent, and while 38% rated it as good, the majority (47%) believe that their know-how is average. The majority (65.5%) turn to their friends and family for financial advice, while 38.3% rely on social media.

Her World respondents started investing pretty early on, with 56.1% starting their journey in their 20s, and 4.3% in their teens. Their main motivators are future-proofing (65.9%) and early retirement (61.5%).

Saving and Future-proofing

Speaking of early retirement, 57% believe that it’s incredibly important to save for retirement, and 40.8% would like to retire between the ages of 50 and 60. It also seems like Singaporean women are workhorses, as less than 15% are planning to retire before the age of 50.

While the majority are looking to dip into their CPF (83.6%) and their savings (81.9%) when they retire, around 28.5% hope that they can receive some passive income, while 5.1% have not even thought about their retirement.

On average, the Singaporean woman believes that she needs about $800,000 of savings to retire comfortably.

The good news is that 77% of women have a six-month emergency fund; 28.7% save a median of 21% of their salary every month, putting their money in high-interest bank accounts (62%), fixed deposits (42%) and endowment plans (26%).

Inflation

We can’t talk about money without mentioning the I word. Yes, Singaporean women are worried about inflation, and yes, it has affected all of us: about 15% of respondents have had to postpone a personal milestone, such as buying a house and getting married, while more than half of the respondents have tweaked their spending habits accordingly.

Most responded to rising prices by cutting their spending (92.1%), but others started saving more (44.7%) and making more investments (20.4%). Of their biggest sacrifices, 65.7% said that they cut spending on fashion, followed closely by beauty and entertainment. Only 20.8% cut their fitness budget, proving that physical wellbeing is still important to the Singaporean woman.