European expats favour travel over retirement saving

European expats favour travel over retirement saving

SINGAPORE - For some British and other European expatriates living here, going on holiday now seems to be more important than saving for retirement.

A recent survey by Standard Life, a long-term savings and investments company, has found that more than a fifth do not save anything for retirement.

This is despite better salaries (85 per cent), more disposable income (78 per cent) and more savings (73 per cent) than they enjoyed prior to arriving in Singapore.

The survey also found that 83 per cent keep aside up to 20 per cent of their monthly salary for vacation and travel purposes, and 67 per cent of respondents save up to 20 per cent for short-term lifestyle and leisure habits. More than a third do not make a conscious effort to save anything on a regular basis.

Ms Emily Carrick, 29, client director of a branding agency, has been working in Singapore for nine months and loves to travel. She said: "I travel once or twice a month on a personal basis, and return to the UK about twice a year and use my credit card for travel-related expenses."

However, the British expatriate does save about 10 per cent of her monthly salary for retirement, for example, in a private pension fund here and in an account in Britain.

The other 90 per cent is used mostly for rent, travel and social activities here, and with an expected increase of disposable income the longer she works, she plans to save more for her retirement in future.

Standard Life Singapore's chief executive Neal Armstrong said of the findings: "At first glance, the results of our survey are promising and show that respondents are taking a step in the right direction by saving more. However, as recently reported, Singapore is one of the world's most expensive cities to live in, making it easy to fall into the trap of spending more on short-term lifestyle luxuries, the abundance of nearby travel temptations and the commitment of returning home to visit family.

"This certainly seems to be the case for nearly a quarter of respondents who prioritise lifestyle choices over planning for their future."

The rising cost of living in Singapore is also felt by parents, with more than 10 per cent of the respondents spending more than 30 per cent of their monthly income on school fees.

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