Which Job Do You Need to Afford Both a Home And a Car in Singapore?

Which Job Do You Need to Afford Both a Home And a Car in Singapore?

 How can you afford both a home and a car in Singapore?

Everyone dreams about one day owning a car and a home. However, this is not an easily achievable wish for most people: homes can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, while Singapore is notorious for having extremely expensive car prices starting from S$100,000. Then, how much salary do you need to make this dream come true? As it turns out, quite a lot. In fact, 60% of the top 100 jobs in Singapore don’t pay enough for a person to be able to afford both a home and a car.

How Much You Need to Make to Buy a Home and a Car

According to ValuePenguin’s analysis, a person needs to make at least S$6,400 per month to afford a housing loan and an auto loan while not sacrificing their other expenditures. Here’s how we break down the math.

Which Job Do You Need to Afford Both a Home And a Car in Singapore?

First, an average 4-room HDB flat costs about S$500,000″ in Singapore. Realistically, most people will choose to make the minimum of 20% down payment, which is 20% S$100,000. To service such a loan over 30 years at an average cost of 2%, a person has to make a monthly instalment of S$1,478.

Then, there is another S$60,000 of car loan that you need to get in order to purchase an average car of around S$100,000. Servicing such a loan back at around 3% flat rate over 7 years requires a monthly payment of S$1,190.

Lastly, there are living expenses and CPF contribution. Using the government’s monthly household expenditure survey, we estimated that an average person spends about S$2,500 per month. By adding all of the above figures together with another 20% CPF contribution, we arrived at a minimum monthly salary of S$6,400 to be able to afford a home and a car in Singapore.

60% of Top 100 Jobs Don’t Make Enough to Afford a Home and a Car

This finding really puts into perspective what it means to live in the most expensive city in the world. In fact, the cost of owning just an average home and an average car can be prohibitively expensive for a vast majority of the population. According to Ministry of Manpower’s annual occupational wage survey, it seems that 60% of the top 100 jobs in the country make less than the said S$6,400 that we calculated in our analysis.

To arrive at this conclusion, we took the weighted average of the median gross income in 2015 and 2014 for 308 jobs that the Ministry of Manpower collected data surveyed. The result was quite striking. While doctors, managers and executives made well in excess of S$6,400 required to afford a 4-room HDB and an average car like Toyota Corolla, even jobs that are normally regarded as “high paying” jobs like data scientists and financial analysts made median salaries of S$6,300 or less.

Parting Thoughts on How to Afford Both A Home and A Car in Singapore

Of course, this may not hold true for all the people out there. Our analysis here assumes that only one person will be earning an income to finance a family’s home and car purchases. A family with 2 working persons with S$5,000 of monthly living expenses could still afford a home with S$4,793 of monthly salary per person. In this case, top 80 jobs in Singapore made S$4,800 or more on average.

Also, because we used the “median income” to assess the situation for an average person in each occupation, we underestimate how many jobs can really afford to own a home and a car in case a person is a top performer. If we repeat the same methodology using the 75 percentile income, i.e. the minimum income of the top 25% of each occupation, it turns out that about 80% of top 100 jobs make approximately S$6,400 or more. If you are trying to choose a career path, it may be a good idea to take this into account.

When scanning our data below, it’s important to note that some professions like trade brokers have a highly volatile stream of income. Also, the MOM survey’s sample size for each profession differed dramatically between 2014 and 2015 for certain jobs like university lecturers, which we adjusted for by taking the weighted average of the median income for each occupation over the two years.

Rank Occupation Weighted Average of Median Gross Wage Per Month (2015-2016) Sample Size
1 Ophthalmologist 40,280 98
2 Financial derivatives dealer/Broker 22,309 68
3 University lecturer 16,368 1069
4 Trade broker (including oil and bunker trader) 25,025 37
5 Specialist medical practitioner (medical) 24,823 322
6 Foreign exchange dealer/Broker 21,747 124
7 Securities and finance dealer/Broker 15,810 530
8 Chief operating officer/General Manager 20,636 4703
9 Managing director/Chief executive officer 21,024 5116
10 In-house legal counsel (except judiciary, ministries and statutory boards) 16,796 693
11 Ship broker 15,500 50
12 Sales professional (institutional sales of financial products) 11,101 1142
13 Policy and planning manager 13,157 529
14 Financial/Insurance services manager (eg financial institution branch manager) 14,543 11282
15 Hydrographic surveyor 13,831 70
16 Creative director (advertising) 13,147 116
17 Marine superintendent engineer 13,573 142
18 Commodities derivatives broker 17,064 96
19 Software and applications manager 11,913 1036
20 Compliance officer/Risk analyst (financial) 12,527 1638
21 Chief information officer/Chief technology officer 11,688 4178
22 Treasury manager 12,804 251
23 Human resource manager 10,971 3688
24 Network and communications manager 11,404 827
25 Business development manager 11,312 3860
26 Research and development manager 11,214 443
27 Budgeting and financial accounting manager (including financial controller) 10,924 7331
28 Technical/Engineering services manager (eg shipyard manager) 10,465 6787
29 IT service manager 10,741 376
30 Journalist 10,874 59
31 Quality assurance manager 10,558 1192
32 Advocate/Solicitor (practising) 10,800 351
33 Postal service manager 10,513 76
34 Sales and marketing manager 10,092 10928
35 Wholesale trade manager 9,725 1546
36 Editor (news and periodicals) 9,910 362
37 Manufacturing plant/Production manager 9,461 4575
38 Procurement/Purchasing manager 9,596 1647
39 Ship engineers and related professional 9,830 144
40 Administration manager 9,041 3823
41 Financial analyst (eg equities analyst, credit analyst, investment research analyst) 8,203 1323
42 Market research analyst 8,122 345
43 ICT sales professional 8,956 327
44 Health services manager 9,202 1757
45 Advertising/Public relations manager 8,888 897
46 Information technology project manager 10,191 931
47 Customer service manager 8,818 1875
48 Financial/Investment adviser (eg relationship manager) 11,379 2990
49 Supply and distribution/Logistics/Warehousing manager 8,344 2338
50 Premises and facilities maintenance manager (including building security manager) 7,996 2251
51 Transport operations manager 8,626 2827
52 Building and construction project manager 8,134 2929
53 Human resource consultant (excluding executive search consultant) 9,139 367
54 Landscape architect 8,150 186
55 Park/Garden/Nature reserve manager 8,095 56
56 University, polytechnic and higher education teacher 7,971 242
57 Industrial safety engineer 7,603 1193
58 Data scientist 7,836 242
59 Management and business consultant 8,674 1585
60 Food and drink technologist 7,559 72
61 Social welfare manager 6,680 387
62 Database administrator 7,021 241
63 Civil engineer 6,849 2546
64 Building architect 7,299 727
65 Network/Infrastructure architect, engineer and specialist 6,713 1947
66 Recreation centre manager 6,925 475
67 Medical and pharmaceutical products sales professional 6,642 384
68 Systems analyst 7,047 5090
69 Software, web and multimedia developer 6,681 2132
70 Information technology security specialist 6,829 743
71 Wellness centre manager (eg hair/beauty/slimming/spa/manicure/massage) 6,356 155
72 Electronics engineer 6,532 5539
73 Call centre manager 6,692 136
74 Information technology testing/Quality assurance specialist 6,047 251
75 Chemical engineer 7,391 321
76 Sports coach 6,579 133
77 Industrial and production engineer 6,276 6598
78 Chemist 5,893 542
79 Technical sales professional 6,008 2722
80 Clinical research professional 6,324 348
81 Travel agency manager 5,632 153
82 Artistic director (stage, film, television and radio) 5,815 116
83 Real estate agent 6,200 127
84 Biologist, botanist, zoologist and related professional 5,995 351
85 Aged care services manager 6,163 71
86 Applications/Systems programmer 6,142 3663
87 Pharmacologist and related professional 6,132 272
88 Insurance sales agent/Broker (including independent financial planner) 7,095 178
89 Mathematician, actuary, statistician and other related professional 4,200 523
90 Mechanical engineer 5,841 8004
91 Tax accountant 6,000 82
92 Telecommunications engineer 6,380 921
93 Environmental engineer 5,787 89
94 Petroleum and natural gas extraction technician 5,903 167
95 Medical diagnostic radiographer 5,694 505
96 Electrical engineer 5,680 1716
97 Accountant (excluding tax accountant) 5,623 2601
98 Education and training institution manager 6,550 2249
99 Advertising copywriter 5,945 71
100 Interior designer 5,127 459
Value Penguin

Value Penguin

ValuePenguin is personal finance company based in New York. DJ is responsible for building ValuePenguin's presence in Asia, from researching personal finance topics in the region to building relationships with financial and media institutions. He previously worked as an investment analyst at leading hedge funds in New York including Cadian Capital and Tiger Asia. His expertise is in the global technology, consumer and financial industries. He graduated from Yale University with a degree in Economics, and speaks Korean, English and Mandarin Chinese.
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