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What Singaporeans define as 'a better life': Financial independence, good health

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A study of 1,008 Singaporeans across four generations found that having enough money for daily expenses is a top-three item on the wishlist. Can employers help by understanding the motivations and aspirations of locals, and providing policies that fulfil these?

The study by AXA, called Better Life Index: Uncovering Singaporeans’ journeys towards a better life, found Singaporeans' (across four generations) top five struggles in achieving long-term goals:

  • 51% Increasing cost of living
  • 35% Unable to save enough money
  • 29% Job insecurity
  • 29% Hard to find work life balance
  • 26% Not enough financial protection
Meanwhile, in achieving their short-term goals, Singaporeans face the following worries:
  • 58% Increasing cost of living
  • 41% Unable to save enough money
  • 33% Hard to find work life balance
  • 30% Job insecurity
  • 28% Emotional and mental stress
What the study also did was break down what "a better life" means to Singaporeans across the four generations prevalent, for example, for both Generation Z and Millennials, 'financial independence' features at the top of the priorities. Meanwhile, for Generation X and Baby Boomers, the number one concern is 'better health'.

Across the four generations, the lowest five priorities/concerns were:

  • 9% Work-life balance
  • 8% Wealth/asset accumulation
  • 8% Quality time with family
  • 7% Enjoy life
  • 7% Good income
The infographic below has more details on this:

So what can employers do about these findings?

According to the survey findings, any initiatives undertaken to promote better saving habits, become better at financial planning, and support improved physical as well as mental health are likely to be welcomed by employees.

On the broader front, the survey explores how Singaporeans are progressing on the three components of a life journey –realisation, empowerment and achievement.

Under 'realisation', seven in 10 Singaporeans aspire to fundamentally live a life with good health, a happy family and achieve financial freedom. Although there is an internal drive for them to be happy, health, family and wealth form their main aspirations in life.

Under 'empowerment', despite health being the top goal for most Singaporeans, financial struggles stand out as their biggest obstacle in achieving their goals. Increasing cost of living and the inability to save enough money are also mentioned as the top barriers in achieving their goals.

Under 'achievement', the score was actually the lowest across the three sub-indices, indicating the strong need for Singaporeans to take firm steps towards their goals, and feel satisfied with their levels of achievements. Only six in 10 Singaporeans are happy with their current lives, and an even lower proportion say they are fulfilled in their achievements, relationships, and other aspects of life.

All images / AXA

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