Baby boom households in Singapore prioritise financial security

SINGAPORE: Households here headed by baby boomers generally spend less than those in other age cohorts, according to data from market research provider Euromonitor International.

But this does not indicate that baby boomers – those aged between 60 and 78 in 2024 – are stingy. They are just more prudent with their spending, boomers said.

Jana Rude, senior insights manager for consumers at Euromonitor International, said boomer households spent an average of US$58,468 in 2023.

This was lower than the expenditures of households led by Generation Z – aged from 12 to 27 – which spent an average of US$106,045 that year.

Households led by millennials – aged 28 to 43 – spent US$105,486, and those led by Generation X – aged 44 to 59 – spent US$92,528.

Consumer research company GWI had similar observations.

Its senior trends analyst Sun Jo Ling said 60% of baby boomers in Singapore prefer to choose a cheaper product, even if it is not a recognised brand.

Sun added that 80% of baby boomers would rather wait for a product to go on sale than buy it at full price.

Concerns over cost of living are among reasons why baby boomers are more pennywise.

A Euromonitor International survey conducted in January found that 55.5% of baby boomers here were comfortable with their financial situation in 2023, below the global average of 62%.

Rude added that 29.5% of them had financial concerns, ranging from the high cost of living to healthcare and housing expenses.

GWI’s Sun noted that baby boomers are more pessimistic about personal finances than other age cohorts, with 26% believing their situation will worsen.

Sun added that there was a 50% increase in financial pessimism among boomers from the fourth quarter of 2019 to the fourth quarter of 2023.

“Such fears are compounded by baby boomers’ realisation that they live in a different world now,” said Dr Kelvin Tan, head of the minor in applied ageing studies programme at the Singapore University of Social Sciences.

Their world has become a lot more uncertain, marked by rapid technological change, he added.

At the same time, Singaporeans are living longer, with 83 years being the average life expectancy at birth, up from 82.4 years in 2013.

The boomers are living longer, and if their parents are still around, they also have to take care of them as they are also living longer now.

Tan added: “Do we have enough money? Do we need to rely on our children if we use up our money and have another 10 more years to live?”

Boomers are therefore more careful when it comes to spending, as they need to make sure they have enough money to last over their lifetime, he said.

But, like Song Seng Wun, boomers do spend when they need to.

Song will be 64 in 2024 and now works part-time as an economic adviser for CGS-CIMB Securities Singapore.

“Sometimes, I have a good meal. Sometimes, I just go for a simple meal at the market. It is really what makes me satisfied for the day,” he said.

Mano Sabnani, who is in his early 70s, decided a few years ago that his family did not need two cars, so he sold one.

“I was no longer working full time and did not need to drive to the office. I also wanted to exercise more and use public transport,” said the former journalist. — The Straits Times/ANN

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Singapore , boomer , Gen Z , consumer , household , spending


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