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5 Of The Biggest Bills You Will See In Your Lifetime As A Singaporean
Whoever said adulting would be fun was clearly playing a cruel joke on all of us.
As a woman in her mid-20s who is soon to be married and who has recently paid the down payment on her future home, if I could pick just one word to describe adulthood, it would be ‘expensive’.
While many of us were blissfully unaware of how much we were spending during our carefree teenage years, once you reach your late 20s or early 30s and you are standing at the cusp of the next phase of your life (i.e. marriage), you quickly realize how much it costs to build – and to live – a life here in Singapore.
Here are 5 of the biggest bills you’ll see in your lifetime as a Singaporean. A word of warning: Brace yourself for these numbers.
1. A House
Price Tag: ~S$240,000 - ~S$580,000 for a BTO flat
It’s no secret that home ownership is prohibitively expensive in Singapore; everyone who is soon to be married will be well acquainted with this fact.
One of the most expensive things you will purchase in your lifetime is a house, and it’s the price of the first property you will ever own that will be the rudest shock to your system.
If we consider the BTO launches that happened this year, that bill will be somewhere between ~S$240,000 for a 4 room flat in Woodlands to ~S$580,000 for a 5 room flat in Toa Payoh.
After you subtract off the grants, that comes up to about ~S$180,000 and ~S$580,000 respectively for the two types of property.
Not going the BTO way? If you’re considering resale flats, be prepared to part ways with a sum of between ~S$260,000 for a flat in Marsiling and ~S$1,200,000 for one in the award-winning Pinnacle @ Duxton. Yes, that’s S$1.2M for a HDB flat.
Do we even want to think about the price of private property?
2. Renovation Costs
Price Tag: ~S$40,000 - ~S$70,000
According to Qanvast, HDB homeowners spend an average of S$50,000 on home renovations, while people living in condominiums spend an average of S$75,000.
Of course, that price tag differs depending on various other factors, such as the size of your flat. People spend an average of about S$35,000 to renovate a smaller 70sqm house, while the average amount spent for larger homes of 140sqm and larger is S$120,000.
Interior style also plays a huge role in determining how much your total bill will run up to. A simpler Scandinavian or Industrial style home costs an average of S$40,000 while a more contemporary look and feel costs an average of S$70,000. Yikes.
All that said, it is not unusual for people to keep within a modest S$20,000 budget when designing their home. At the end of the day, it all depends on what you want, what you need, and how much you’re willing to spend.
Cost-cutting Tip: To shave down home renovation costs, drive across the causeway to Malaysia or go online to sites like Taobao to purchase your furniture pieces!
Price Tag: ~S$35,000 - ~S$73,000
While your wedding day may be one of the most unforgettable days of your life, it is also likely to be one of the most freakishly expensive days of your life.
When you’ve factored in key items such as the engagement and wedding bands, the bridal package, wedding banquet, actual day costs, and the cost of your honeymoon, you can rack up bill of between S$35,000 to S$73,000.
With any luck, you’ll recoup the amount you spent in ang pows from friends and family, but we say don’t count on it.
Cost-cutting Tip: If you don’t want to spend an arm and a leg on your wedding day, go the unconventional route and skip the hotel banquet! Have your wedding in a café or a restaurant and you’ll save a huge chunk of your wedding cost.
4. Hospital Bills
Price Tag: ~S$200 - ~S$67,000 (Bill depends on multiple factors including the reason for hospitalisation, procedures undergone, and length of stay)
We’ve all heard of and seen stories of astronomic hospital bills on our Facebook feeds.
Just 3 months ago, a woman took to social media and revealed that her mum’s care and treatment at the hospital resulted in a whopping S$1,018.469.29 in bills – a figure none of us would wish to see in our lifetime.
Hospital bills are one of the most painful things to pay for, and often, we only discover this too late – when the bill is already in our hands.
Take breast cancer surgery for example. The total bill, for hospitalisation and all procedures necessary, starts between S$1,372 - S$1,909 if you’re staying at the lowest grade C-class ward. Opt for an A-class ward and it can cost you between S$7,619 - S$13,009.
And if you decide to seek surgery at a private hospital? That number can be multiplied three-fold or even more.
While health is important, it’s definitely hard to part with that kind of money just to get better.
Cost-cutting Tip: Choosing yourself a good insurance policy will serve you well in such instances. In the best case scenario, you won’t have to pay a cent for hospitalisation, and in the worst, you only foot a fraction of the bill.
Price Tag: At least S$65,800
Singapore is notorious for being the most expensive place in the world to buy and own a car.
This is due to the heavy fees and taxes the government imposes on car owners to limit traffic and pollution, owing to our high population density.
The cheapest cars in Singapore will cost you between S$65,800 and S$77,000, COE and all other taxes and fees included. The brands in the mix? Malaysia’s Perodua, China’s Chery and Japanese Mitsubishi.
If we’re talking about the 3 most popular car models in 2016, the Toyota Corolla Altis, Mazda3 and Nissan Qashqai, the price ranges between S$97,800 for a Mazda3 and S$110,300 for a Nissan Qashqai.
Cost-cutting Tip: Can’t bear the thought of spending so much money on a car? Then a second hand car is the way to go!
Protect The Things You Love The Most
Feel poor just reading this article? Don’t worry, you’re not the only one.
Thankfully, some of the things we value most - and that cost us the most - like our homes and our cars can be insured so as to soften the blow in case something bad happens to your home or car.
Freelancers who work from home in particular will benefit from an extensive home content insurance coverage. Not all home insurance policies cover the home office, which means that in the event that your work equipment (e.g laptops, printers) is lost or stolen, you will not be able to make a claim.
There is no sure-fire way of preventing such unfortunate events from happening, so the only way to protect yourself from the huge financial cost of getting back on your feet is to make sure you’ve covered yourself and all your most valued things with insurance.
If you’re new to insurance, the first thing you should know is that not all insurance policies are created equal. In fact, there are 4 different layers of insurance. The more layers of insurance you have, the more protected you are in the case that emergency strikes.
4 Layers of Insurance
Ranking according to importance, you have Hospitalisation Insurance, Life Insurance, Critical Illness Insurance and Endowment Plans.
Hospitalisation Insurance covers hospitalisation, surgery and personal accidents both local and overseas. This type of insurance ensures that when you have to put yourself through treatment or therapy, you don’t wipe out all of your hard earned savings.
Life Insurance, on the other hand, covers death, terminal illness and total permanent disability. The most basic form of insurance, Life Insurance policies ensure that in the case of an unexpected death or disability, your dependents are well taken care of.
One thing to take note of is that most Life Insurance policies exclude serious illness and the treatments required. Instead of having you and your family dig deep into your own pockets to pay for the exorbitant medical bills, Critical Illness Insurance takes the financial burden off you and your loved ones.
And finally, there are Endowment Plans. More of a savings plan than an insurance policy, putting your money into an Endowment Plan will give you better returns that if you put your money in a deposit account. As an added bonus, you also get basic insurance coverage.
Still don’t know the what’s what of insurance? Why not get a professional to explain it all to you? To gain a better understanding of insurance and what kinds of insurance you’ll need, sign up for a consultation with FRANK here!
This article first appeared on Discover SG, and was written in collaboration with FRANK by OCBC.
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