How Much Savings Should I Have By Age — 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s

Deborah Gan

Deborah Gan

Last updated 10 January, 2024

Not sure if you’re saving enough? Read on to find out a realistic guide on how much you should have. But remember, these figures should only be used as a point of reference as everyone has varying financial commitments and lifestyles.

When it comes to savings, everyone wants to ask the golden question “How much savings should I have at xx years old?”. But I’ll just give you an honest answer. It really depends. It depends on your financial commitments, your phase of life and your priorities.

Think of someone your age. If you’re 30, you may be starting a family and getting a house. At this stage, you’re probably working hard to increase your savings as much as possible and as fast as you can because you’ve got big purchases coming up.

But someone else your age who doesn’t want to start a family soon might be working to accumulate wealth through investments. Savings wouldn’t be a huge priority because he would rather lock up his money in investment products with high returns for retirement.

So you see, everyone has a different lifestyle and commitment. So since we can’t give you a magic number, the numbers we’re presenting to you should only be for reference. Whether you want to use it as a goal or a milestone you’ve achieved is entirely up to your lifestyle and financial habits.

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Average savings rate by year

If you didn’t know, the Department of Statistics Singapore actually keeps track of the personal savings rate of Singaporeans, according to the people they surveyed. Personal savings is calculated as the difference between our disposable income and personal income expenditure on goods and services.

Because this changes every quarter, calculating the 10-year average savings rate might be more representative of our saving habits. According to calculations, the 10-year average savings rate is 31.5% of our income.

Year
Personal Savings Rate
2023
34% (Q1 to Q3 only)
2022
34.5%
2021
36.7%
2020
40.0%
2019
28.9%
2018
28.9%
2017
28.6%
2016
28.7%
2015
27.5%
2014
27.0%
10-year average savings rate
31.5%

Source: Department of Statistics Singapore

From the data, it seems like the average Singaporean saves about 31.5% of their income. However, you shouldn’t beat yourself up over it if you’re not saving this amount. It can be extremely unrealistic to save 31.5% for some, and that’s totally fine.



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How much should I be saving?

So actually, if you think about it, Singaporeans are saving more than what is recommended. If you’re into personal finance at all, you should know about the common 50/30/20 rule when it comes to our expenditures. 

As a rule of thumb, 50% of your income should go to your needs like food, groceries and transport, while a maximum of 30% should go to your wants, which you don’t need but might be good to have. The remaining 20% should go to your savings.

So let’s do a side-by-side comparison on the recommended amount we should be saving compared to how much Singaporeans are earning now, according to age groups and their corresponding median monthly salary.

Age group
Median monthly salary (2023)
20% savings (50/30/20 rule) (nearest whole number)
31.5% average personal savings rate (nearest whole number)
15 - 19
S$1,638
S$328
S$516
20 - 24
S$2,925
S$785
S$921
25 - 29
S$4,446
S$889
S$1,400
30 - 34
S$5,792
S$1,158
S$1,824
35 - 39
S$6,825
S$1,365
S$2,150
40 - 44
S$6,825
S$1,365
S$2,150
45 - 49
S$6,581
S$1,316
S$2,073
50 - 54
S$5,850
S$1,170
S$1,843
55 - 59
S$4,323
S$865
S$1,362
Above 60
S$2,621
S$524
S$827

Source: Labour Force in Singapore 2023 report

 

 


How much savings do I need in my 20s?

Being in your 20s is all about self-exploration and experimenting with which career path you’ll want to pursue. Though your starting pay will probably be a lot lower than another person in their 30s, it’s time to build a solid emergency fund for yourself.

Receiving your first few paychecks might make you feel powerful knowing that you’re finally earning your own money, but that shouldn’t force you into an insane shopping spree every time your pay comes in. 

Using the 50/30/20 rule as a reference, you can try your best to follow the 20% savings rule strictly. Especially in the first few years when most wouldn’t be too concerned about starting a family or moving out, that should be the best time to save as much as you can when financial commitments are low. 

Be sure to save as much as you can and try to budget your finances wisely. Little tweaks here and there can impact your finances significantly in the long run.

 


How much savings do I need in my 30s?

When you’re in your 30s, this is the juncture where you might be taking on the most financial commitments. Whether it’s getting a house, planning for a wedding or trying for a baby, all these milestone events will most likely happen during this phase and dip into your savings pot a lot.

This might shake up your savings quite a bit, and it might be unrealistic for some to still maintain the same level of savings. But with that said, you should never drain your entire savings on these costly necessities. Even if you have enough saved up to pay for these costs.

Sometimes, debt isn’t a bad thing. Taking on a loan might be more expensive than paying it by yourself, but it does free up cash for you to invest or save. Always ensure that your emergency fund is intact as a safety net in the event you experience unexpected cashflow issues in the future like an unexpected retrenchment or critical illness.

 


 


How much savings do I need in my 40s?

In your 40s, you’re probably set in your career and probably in the prime years when your salary is at its peak. But you might belong to the second camp too — considering a career change after pursuing the same industry for the past 20 years.

Whatever it is, don’t neglect your savings. You might be living a very comfortable life and could potentially be at the last leg of your home mortgage. But you shouldn’t be complacent with your finances and continue your due diligence to save. 

Perhaps, you could also start saving for your children’s education fund if you have some spare cash!


How much savings do I need in my 50s?

In case you forgot, ding ding! Retirement is just around the corner. Savings is really more important than ever. You shouldn’t focus on too many investment products where your money is locked up, especially in high-risk investments.

This is when you should relook at your investment strategy and focus more on shorter-term products that are much safer. You should also focus on your savings and build them up bit by bit for retirement. 

 

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Don't give in to lifestyle inflation

Whether you want to make reference to Singapore's average personal savings rate or the 50/30/20 rule, you shouldn’t follow it like it’s the law. Always make sure the rate at which you’re saving is sustainable according to your financial goals and current financial situation.

That being said, many might fall into lifestyle inflation. As their salary increases, their expenses also increase proportionately or even at a faster rate. Logically, when your salary increases, your expenses shouldn’t change. 

Yes, you may be able to better afford nicer meals from time to time and treat yourself to material goods once in a while, but your expenses shouldn’t be increasing that much just because you have more money.

If you stick to your usual expenses, imagine just how much more you could save with your higher paycheck. That would significantly fast-track your journey towards your financial goals and help to achieve them faster.

 

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The bottom line

Savings should not be an age-specific goal. It’s unhealthy to focus on age. Ultimately, your savings goal should be a dollar amount and not an age.

If you earn S$5,000 a month and your savings goal is S$30,000, then of what relevance is your age?

If you don’t have a single dollar saved and want to start right now, then save aggressively in the coming year (maybe save 50% instead of 20% of your monthly salary). You’ll be done in 12 months. It doesn’t matter if you’re 25, 35, or 45. As soon as you start making an effort, you can resolve the situation.

Don’t panic over how much you have right now and whether that’s “right” for your age. Focus on how much you need and how you’re going to get there. Don’t be under the impression that it’s “too late” now or that you missed the boat on being financially responsible.

 


 

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A mahjong addict with an undying love for dogs, Deborah is always on the hunt for cheap deals because she is always broke. That is why she is attempting to be more financially savvy to be.. less broke

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