How Much Do You Need To Retire in Singapore?

Guest Contributor

Guest Contributor

Last updated 18 June, 2019

Want to know how much it takes for you to retire? How about doing a mini-retirement test drive to find out.

Editor’s note: opinions expressed in this article reflect the view of the writer.

When I turned 40 last year, it suddenly felt as though I was running out of time in life. 

I started wondering why I am running on a treadmill that no longer excites me (I used to love my job!).

I came across a video shared by SGYI and decided then to do a mini-retirement test drive to see how well I could survive living on my monthly passive income, practising a minimalist life, and working on things that truly excites me.

Here are some highlights/lessons learnt from this mini-retirement test drive:


  1. Your colleagues and friends think that you are crazy when you retire too young.
  2. You will constantly be bombarded by friends/colleagues/headhunters who want to push you back to the treadmill again. It is difficult to resist the temptations.
  3. Your friends who have never treated you before started buying you drinks and meals. 
  4. Your friends stop inviting you to join them for vacations because they feel anxious that you are spending money without a job.
  5. You keep getting questions in terms of how you spend your free time.


  1. You need to set aside a decent set of emergency funds as your income is now not as consistent as your monthly salary. The passive income varies across different months thus you need to be more prudent in the way you plan your spendings.
  2. You should still adhere to a saving and investment pattern with the passive income you receive.
  3. You realise that you don’t really need that much money to survive. In fact, you save more without having to try too hard because you have more time thus you tend to eat more healthy or less, you have time to take public transport and you no longer crave for “stuff/things” to relieve you from the stress you derived from work. You can live decently and comfortably with just 2.7 K SGD per month.
  • Food – approx. 500 SGD per month
  • Transport – approx. 250 SGD per month
  • Utilities such as mobile, cable, water, electricity – approx. 250 SGD per month
  • Misc / Savings – 200 SGD per month
  • Parents Allowance – 1.5 K SGD per month


  1. You may easily lose count of days, weekends and public holidays.
  2. You need more discipline as you can get caught up with idleness as you have so much time in your hands. There’s always the temptation to push things till tomorrow. Thus, you should still set goals for yourself else you may eventually lose the purpose in life and maybe even self-identity as the years go by. Imagine you have another 40 years to go!
  3. You won’t get bored as there are so many things that can keep you preoccupied. Whether these things can make you feel fulfilled is another story.
  4. Your travel experience can be more meaningful as you no longer have a schedule you need to keep up with nor a set of responsibilities that occupy your mind during your travel.
  5. It broadens your perspective and gives you inspiration in terms of how others live their lives and make a living differently as you start connecting with networks outside your comfort zone or norm.
  6. Less clutter makes life more simple, with less chores. It allows you to focus on things that truly matter.


  1. You become more healthy as you are more conscious about what you eat and how your body reacts to them.
  2. Waking up naturally every day is a beautiful experience and in fact, should have been a human right.
  3. You start having a glow without having to slap on those expensive beauty creams.


  1. You start building more genuine relationships as there are no more agenda. People with an agenda slip away by themselves.
  2. Technologies like Facebook, Whatsapp and Line keep you connected thus you won’t feel lonely and disconnected but you have to be conscious not to spam your friends who are still running on the treadmill.

Backup Plan

  1. Get your LinkedIn and recommendations updated so that if you decide to go back to the treadmill after a few years, you still have the credentials with you.

Now I understand why the very rich never seemed to be able to stop working. Living an intentional but purposeful life is extremely important to a person’s well being in any phase of one’s life. I have since started on an exciting project…


Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish 

This article was originally published on Lady, You Can Be Free.

Read these next:

CPF Has No Equal as Investment Vehicle: Singapore’s Mr. CPF
How Much Savings Should I Have at 35 in Singapore?
3 Myths About Retirement Planning in Singapore (And Why They’re Wrong)
‘Asian Women Need To Start Investing and Stop Thinking Of All Debt as Bad’
5 Money Lessons We Can All Learn From Game of Thrones

Lady, You Can Be Free

By Lady, You Can Be Free
A lady who hopes to achieve financial freedom (SGD 10K per month passive income) by 47 and spend her time striking off her bucket list.


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