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Saving $100k by the time you are 30 years old

Today the Straits Times Published an article showing that it is possible to save $100k with roughly 6 years of work.

The key thing is

  • You have to save at least 50% of your annual pay
  • You got to live within your means and make sacrifices

What I felt it misses out are

  • Young adults have many other liabilities that make it practically hard to achieve this
  • Housing, Wedding, Honey Moon, Student Loans
  • Hence the need for sacrifices!


How I did it

I did a check on my Quicken (see another good reason to do budgeting!) and  it showed that I was able to achieve that amount by 30.

In fact seems a lot of folks can judging from what you read around.

Then again I probably fit the profile of what this experiment did

  • Single
  • Cheap Hobbies
  • Some sacrifices
  • Near 50% saving rate

I think I have it much harder since for 3  out of the 6 years my salary was less than the  median salary provided.

One note is that I only consider the amount that goes into Wealth Building Account as what the article considered.

Other saving goals probably out of the equation.

Some kids are even more absurd

I know many smart young adults nowadays that are sensible enough to do one or more of the following

  • Scholarships (study well!)
  • Start  working part time and accumulate
  • Tuition and accumulate
  • NS pay accumulate
  • Start learning about money

Some crazy dudes I know with that combination, will have $100k before he starts work at 25 years old.

Why does this matter?

If you would want to grow wealth

  • By spending less building wealth
  • Leaving more of your salary for escalating expenses

You got to let time value of money help you.

Here are 2 guys. One guy saves $1k per month from 25 to 35 years old then stops.

The other guy starts late and only starts saving from 35 to 65 years old (30 years)

At the end of the day, the guy that save for 10 years only uses 120k  while the guy that starts late uses 3 times the amount. The difference is the guy starts late only manages to come out 40k ahead.

Have a plan when you start working

I can understand why folks had a hard time because some things weren’t taught in school but  in life (sadly)

If you managed to come across this article then hope this helps

Its good to have a map that provides you a map how you want to spend your money. If you don’t have you can use the following as a guide.

Start Thinking how much to funnel to savings and wealth building

For me,  the duration of each goals are different and there are advantages of splitting them up. A few guides that you can take a look are here:


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Ronald Yeo

Saturday 19th of September 2015

I am just a local Singaporean basic degree holder, male, no wife or girlfriend. I have been working for 6.5 years. In year 1, I started with a starting pay of 2K. Now at age 30, I have a take-home pay of $2.8K. I have reached already this target of $100K in cash, excluding CPF and other investments. i just scrimped and saved on everything.

Actually, even well before this article was printed, at age 25, 5 years ago, I already had this goal.

Now I want to look at investing property, (no BTO for me, as I am single) only to understand that everything I have, it stills fall short even for a studio apartment. I would like to encourage everyone to continue saving; but the rule of thumb is that your property should be 5 times of your annual income - something that is far out of reach of many Singaporeans like me.


Saturday 19th of September 2015

Hi Ronald!,

Thanks for sharing your experience with us. If I may say your accomplishment is great because I have a lot of engineers not even able to do what you do when their starting pay is higher than yours.

I would like to find out, what was the main trigger for you to form that goal at 25 years old?



Thursday 20th of November 2014

Hi, do we not need to include inflation over the years?


Friday 21st of November 2014

That is not necessary because we are only talking about a target to hit in a constraint time frame. not talking about retirement or some big topic

Alan Tan

Tuesday 18th of March 2014

Define normal pay. I'm earning gross $1.6K. With 20% goes to CPF, I have a nett salary of $1280. Of these $700 is dedicated to my education, $100 to my other savings account. So I'm left with only $480 to survive for a month. Nearly impossible to survive on this meagre sum in one month in Singapore. How to create wealth when I have only $480 on me?


Wednesday 19th of March 2014

Hi Alan, after you have finish your education, shouldn't that free up $700. assuming you gain a higher employment, that should provide you with more cash flow as well. on a $120 transport and $200 eating out, you should still technically have 160 to build wealth.

If you look at T L in the comment below, a person working on that amount was able to save 50% of it.


Tuesday 18th of March 2014

How did you get 6% from investments?


Tuesday 18th of March 2014

hi, the nominal rate of stocks investing over a long time is rather 6-7%


Monday 17th of March 2014

I am single, no housing, wedding, honeymoon, student loans, and have saved slightly more than 50% of my take home for the past four years. Of the other 50%, 40% goes to my parents and 15% to medical bills for a chronic condition not recognised by medisave. The rest is transport and food, and a few luxuries like books and Christmas and birthday presents, and one weekend trip to Bali for which I found every discount and cheap option possible. After all this scrimping and saving, how much do I have? .... $30,000. Why? Maybe because no one I know starts at $3050, and certainly no one I know gets two months' bonus on top of 13th month. On the other hand I know people making $1200 and less gross, who have not had an increment in years and will probably never get one, and people who don't get 13th month, and who get $100 bonuses. Oh, I'm sure SOME people do, just like some people make $6000 a month and are capable of spending it in such a way they can't afford bus fare, but when the news publishes things like this, that makes it sound like "oh, everyone can do it, if you can't you just have poor saving habits" - it makes me want to scream and punch someone. For the record I do make more than $1200, and tbh I thought my gross starting pay of $1700 was only slightly less than average, but I see I was wrong. I dunno where I got this impression - might have something to do with having the same kind of qualifications as about 70% of Singaporeans, as well as being turned down - sometimes with incredulous looks - whenever I try to apply for assistance.

As for the people earning $6000 and not having enough for bus fare - I think the problem there is they know they have good income. If you know you have $6000 coming in tomorrow, and $18000 (holy cow, that's more than half of all I've managed to save in 4 years) in bonuses will just float in at the end of the year as a reward for not quitting and every year they'll get $300 extra every month (which makes for almost $1000 extra in bonuses every year), if I had that kind of income, I'm sure I'd be a bit more careless too. I might have even not flown budget to Bali, and maybe even *gasp* gone on two holidays in 4 years! Maybe even to Phuket! The solution? Let's put all these people on $2000 salaries and see if they figure it out. If they can't, they clearly don't have the kind of brains that merits $6000 salaries anyway.

Seriously, if this is the kind of thing the news is printing, no wonder no one is having kids anymore. I know I don't dare even date in case I actually meet someone I like, because then I'll have to either break up with him or spend the rest of my life doing what I've been doing for the last four years, only with even less savings to show for it, since we'll be servicing a 25 year housing loan, assuming we elope (which would incur the wrath of our families) and don't bother with a honeymoon. And God forbid we have children! And then retirement.... actually I'd probably just jump off a roof rather than have to figure out how to live on the pittance in my cpf at that point.

Incidentally, that $30,000 in my savings? I'm about to burn it all and add a student loan on top of it so I have a chance at touching $3050 with outstretched fingertips by 40. I'm 30 now. I don't think my chances are very good, and even if I do get there, I'll be starting my savings over from scratch. Four years of sacrificing for nothing, and to be obliquely told I'm not saving right because I don't have $100,000 already. I dreamed of investing once, when I got my first job. Considering how long it's taken me to get to a paltry $30,000, I don't think I'll ever be in a secure enough financial position to do so.

So yes. A good income may not be enough to make you solvent, but good saving habits without a good (read: much better than average) income will not make you solvent either, and you won't even have the nice things the $6000 people spend their salaries on to console yourself.


Tuesday 18th of March 2014

Hi there, first of all you write well. You seem to have some hidden message in your comment. The writer have to state a baseline, and thus he chose a degree grad, which is prevalent nowadays.

The common comment i get on facebook is that this amount is rather high. I used to agree its rather high, but my grinding in one of the not so well paid place tells me using 2,800 is not really that far off. And more conversations tell me 29 years old with 5000-10,000 could get more common.

Its just gonna be not for everyone. The writer's intention is good, but it comes across as unsteady because there is a section that will struggle to get that. I know. Because my colleague today told me to help find a job for the GF to get $2,000/

I do have to applaud you for saving that amount, and the decision not to date is somewhat similar to what i felt sometimes consider i also suffer from chronic problems not claimable by medisave.

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