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 getting a housing loan and an auto loan while not sacrificing their other expenditures. Here’s how we breakdown the math.
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 installment 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.
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.
Editor’s note: In Singapore, the median pay is at S$3,500 and that is an interesting statistic to determine your pay-level here in SG as well.
Occupation Income Table
|Rank||Occupation||Weighted Average of Median Gross Wage Per Month (2015-2016)||Sample Size|
|2||Financial derivatives dealer/ Broker||22,309||68|
(including oil and bunker trader)
|5||Specialist medical practitioner
|6||Foreign exchange dealer/
|7||Securities and finance dealer/
|8||Chief operating officer/
Chief executive officer
|10||In-house legal counsel
(except judiciary, ministries and statutory boards)
(institutional sales of financial products)
|13||Policy and planning manager||13,157||529|
|14||Financial/Insurance services manager
(eg financial institution branch manager)
|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
|21||Chief information officer/
Chief technology officer
|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)
|28||Technical/Engineering services manager
(Eg shipyard manager)
|29||IT service manager||10,741||376|
|31||Quality assurance manager||10,558||1192|
|33||Postal service manager||10,513||76|
|34||Sales and marketing manager||10,092||10928|
|35||Wholesale trade manager||9,725||1546|
(news and periodicals)
|39||Ship engineers and related professional||9,830||144|
|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|
|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|
|59||Management and business consultant||8,674||1585|
|60||Food and drink technologist||7,559||72|
|61||Social welfare manager||6,680||387|
|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|
|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|
|73||Call centre manager||6,692||136|
|74||Information technology testing/ Quality assurance specialist||6,047||251|
|77||Industrial and production engineer||6,276||6598|
|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|
|94||Petroleum and natural gas extraction technician||5,903||167|
|95||Medical diagnostic radiographer||5,694||505|
|97||Accountant (excluding tax accountant)||5,623||2601|
|98||Education and training institution manager||6,550||2249|
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