The top 6 financial fears all millennials share
By Jolene L, 06 November 2017 2042
If you are a millennial, you've probably been called a strawberry a few times. You are supposed to be self-absorbed and entitled, and you bruise easily. But there are some real fears millennials share in this day and age. Due to a more flexible work culture and a higher standard of living, you are thrown into a very different world from the one your parents experienced when they were young adults. Finances are top on the list of things fear. Here are the top 6 fears all millennials have.
1. Not being able to find a well-paying job
"Being unable to afford marriage, a house and to provide for my family and parents. A part of me feels like I shouldn't have to worry about such things, but how can I not? Singapore is getting increasingly expensive to live in. Jobs are getting cut and times are looking bad. I hope things get better soon." Ming Terk, 27
With a bleak job market and the prevalence of the gig economy, job security is a huge fear. Finding that dream job seems harder than ever. You've probably envisioned yourself climbing the corporate ladder and living it up as a successful business professional but reality is further from the truth. You work 12 hour days, go home exhausted, and still feel plagued by the mountains of bills.
2. Not being able to find a job that gives you purpose
"Not having any purpose in life, with no motivation to wake up in the morning. I wouldn't know what to do if I felt like I didn't have a purpose in life; it's far too important to me." Kyla, 24
If you are like most of your peers, finding purpose in your job is highly important. Doing work that fits into your value system contributes to your job satisfaction and purpose in life to justify the time you spend doing what you do. If you’re looking for your first job and really don’t know where to start, a possibility would be to explore management trainee programs that offer you the opportunity to try out various functions before settling on what you find most suitable for yourself. That said, your first job doesn’t dictate your career. Constantly evaluate and seek opportunities to pursue a career that gives you purpose.
3. Not being able to afford healthcare
"I can't imagine seeing my parents' health getting stripped away from them. Watching them age is scary. I didn’t notice the gradual shift, but all of a sudden I realized the changes in the everyday things - Hiking used to be a breeze, now they need frequent breaks. Holidays used to be adventurous, now I need to cater for their changing needs. I fear the day that they get really sick. I only hope that when that happens, I have enough money to get the best care and treatment that they will need." Charis, 25
Singaporeans have a common saying of “One can die, but cannot fall ill”. While the medical sector is advancing, the cost of healthcare is also rising. Being in a sandwiched generation, we not only have to take care of ourselves, we also have to look out the younger and older generations. If a visit to your General Practitioner already costs an average of $40, it’s scary to think how much specialist care or hospitalization will cost if anyone should unfortunately fall seriously ill. Health Insurance cannot defray the whole cost, but it definitely covers the bulk – and in times of need, this money can go a long way in alleviating the stress of financials.
4. Not earning enough money to buy a home
"BTOs in Singapore is so expensive now a days. Even with grants and schemes, we still have to ensure we have enough savings before taking on this huge financial commitment. We all want the best for our future and our family, but how is it possible to provide for so many things with a limited amount of salary?” May, 28
Despite curbs on the housing market, buying a home – even subsidized ones –requires you to fork out a sizeable down payment. New HDB flats with 2 bedrooms can cost more than $250,000. And the down payment for that is 10% or $25,000, which you can pay using funds from your CPF Ordinary Account. If you don't have enough funds in your Ordinary Account, you are to pay the difference in cash. This is just part of the cash outlay for buying an HDB – there are other fees to pay for too, such as the application fee, option fee, stamp duty and conveyancing fee. Beyond that, you also have to service your mortgage, which could use up most of your monthly CPF contributions.
5. Not being able to lead a fulfilling life
"My biggest fear is mediocrity, leading a mundane life – get a 9 to 6 job, save for a BTO, get married and have a family. With a lot more young entrepreneurs making successes these days, there's a lot of pressure to stand out from the norm and not become one of those who fall into routines." Jim, 26
If you’re like most Singaporeans, you were brought up with the concept that studying is important, going to university is important, getting a degree is important, and that all these will give us a fulfilled life. Yet, with a first class degree, it no longer guarantees a fulfilled or successful life. You have to push boundaries and come up with innovative ideas, just to prove that you’re not just average. Even then, innovation may not be your source of fulfilment. It takes courage and determination to find fulfilment, which is often absent due to all the other commitments you have at this juncture in life.
6. Not being able to save enough money for the life you want
"Probably the fear of not being able to live the life I envisioned for myself. I feel like adulthood hits you like a truck, and suddenly you're left clueless about what you are to do next." Ra, 23
While you are starting out in your career, paying for monthly food and transport costs, and trying to live a fulfilling life, saving money is put on the backburner because there simply isn't much of it left in your bank account. This is especially so in Singapore, where the cost of living is so high that it has been ranked as the world's most expensive country to live in for 3 consecutive years.
While these fears are real and prevalent, the good news is that you have plenty of time on your hands. Which means it's not too late to start planning for your future and getting your finances in check. Yes, you have to compete for well-paying jobs in an uncertain job market but you can always put in the time and effort to work your way up. That said, leading a balanced lifestyle is important to stay healthy. Exercise regularly, eat well and cultivate an interest that makes you emotionally happy. These things will help you feel like you're living a meaningful life.
At the same time, start planning your finances. Think about getting health insurance plans, easily available online, to help tide you over uncertain life events. At the same time, put some of your earnings into a savings plan to help you reach financial goals, such as buying a home and getting married. If you’re not sure which savings plan to choose, consult our digital adviser, askSage.
It is normal to fear the uncertainties of life. Income helps you fear less with its comprehensive range of insurance and savings plans that are aimed at helping you plan for your future, so that you can have peace of mind today.