Which Job Do You Need to Afford Both a Home And a Car in Singapore?

Want to own a home and a car in Singapore? This is how much you need to earn every month to do so.

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 ValueChampion'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.

Income required to own a car & a home in Singapore is about S$6,500 per month

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 instalment 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 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.

Parting Thoughts

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 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.

RankOccupationWeighted Average of Median Gross Wage Per Month (2015-2016)Sample Size
1Ophthalmologist 40,280 98
2Financial derivatives dealer/Broker 22,309 68
3University lecturer 16,368 1069
4Trade broker (including oil and bunker trader) 25,025 37
5Specialist medical practitioner (medical) 24,823 322
6Foreign exchange dealer/Broker 21,747 124
7Securities and finance dealer/Broker 15,810 530
8Chief operating officer/General Manager 20,636 4703
9Managing director/Chief executive officer 21,024 5116
10In-house legal counsel (except judiciary, ministries and statutory boards) 16,796 693
11Ship broker 15,500 50
12Sales professional (institutional sales of financial products) 11,101 1142
13Policy and planning manager 13,157 529
14Financial/Insurance services manager (eg financial institution branch manager) 14,543 11282
15Hydrographic surveyor 13,831 70
16Creative director (advertising) 13,147 116
17Marine superintendent engineer 13,573 142
18Commodities derivatives broker 17,064 96
19Software and applications manager 11,913 1036
20Compliance officer/Risk analyst (financial) 12,527 1638
21Chief information officer/Chief technology officer 11,688 4178
22Treasury manager 12,804 251
23Human resource manager 10,971 3688
24Network and communications manager 11,404 827
25Business development manager 11,312 3860
26Research and development manager 11,214 443
27Budgeting and financial accounting manager (including financial controller) 10,924 7331
28Technical/Engineering services manager (eg shipyard manager) 10,465 6787
29IT service manager 10,741 376
30Journalist 10,874 59
31Quality assurance manager 10,558 1192
32Advocate/Solicitor (practising) 10,800 351
33Postal service manager 10,513 76
34Sales and marketing manager 10,092 10928
35Wholesale trade manager 9,725 1546
36Editor (news and periodicals) 9,910 362
37Manufacturing plant/Production manager 9,461 4575
38Procurement/Purchasing manager 9,596 1647
39Ship engineers and related professional 9,830 144
40Administration manager 9,041 3823
41Financial analyst (eg equities analyst, credit analyst, investment research analyst) 8,203 1323
42Market research analyst 8,122 345
43ICT sales professional 8,956 327
44Health services manager 9,202 1757
45Advertising/Public relations manager 8,888 897
46Information technology project manager 10,191 931
47Customer service manager 8,818 1875
48Financial/Investment adviser (eg relationship manager) 11,379 2990
49Supply and distribution/Logistics/Warehousing manager 8,344 2338
50Premises and facilities maintenance manager (including building security manager) 7,996 2251
51Transport operations manager 8,626 2827
52Building and construction project manager 8,134 2929
53Human resource consultant (excluding executive search consultant) 9,139 367
54Landscape architect 8,150 186
55Park/Garden/Nature reserve manager 8,095 56
56University, polytechnic and higher education teacher 7,971 242
57Industrial safety engineer 7,603 1193
58Data scientist 7,836 242
59Management and business consultant 8,674 1585
60Food and drink technologist 7,559 72
61Social welfare manager 6,680 387
62Database administrator 7,021 241
63Civil engineer 6,849 2546
64Building architect 7,299 727
65Network/Infrastructure architect, engineer and specialist 6,713 1947
66Recreation centre manager 6,925 475
67Medical and pharmaceutical products sales professional 6,642 384
68Systems analyst 7,047 5090
69Software, web and multimedia developer 6,681 2132
70Information technology security specialist 6,829 743
71Wellness centre manager (eg hair/beauty/slimming/spa/manicure/massage) 6,356 155
72Electronics engineer 6,532 5539
73Call centre manager 6,692 136
74Information technology testing/Quality assurance specialist 6,047 251
75Chemical engineer 7,391 321
76Sports coach 6,579 133
77Industrial and production engineer 6,276 6598
78Chemist 5,893 542
79Technical sales professional 6,008 2722
80Clinical research professional 6,324 348
81Travel agency manager 5,632 153
82Artistic director (stage, film, television and radio) 5,815 116
83Real estate agent 6,200 127
84Biologist, botanist, zoologist and related professional 5,995 351
85Aged care services manager 6,163 71
86Applications/Systems programmer 6,142 3663
87Pharmacologist and related professional 6,132 272
88Insurance sales agent/Broker (including independent financial planner) 7,095 178
89Mathematician, actuary, statistician and other related professional 4,200 523
90Mechanical engineer 5,841 8004
91Tax accountant 6,000 82
92Telecommunications engineer 6,380 921
93Environmental engineer 5,787 89
94Petroleum and natural gas extraction technician 5,903 167
95Medical diagnostic radiographer 5,694 505
96Electrical engineer 5,680 1716
97Accountant (excluding tax accountant) 5,623 2601
98Education and training institution manager 6,550 2249
99Advertising copywriter 5,945 71
100Interior designer 5,127 459
Duckju Kang

Duckju (DJ) is the founder and CEO of ValueChampion. He covers the financial services industry, consumer finance products, budgeting and investing. He previously worked at hedge funds such as Tiger Asia and Cadian Capital. He graduated from Yale University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics with honors, Magna Cum Laude. His work has been featured on major international media such as CNBC, Bloomberg, CNN, the Straits Times, Today and more.

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