Young execs spend more, says MasterCard

UP-AND-COMING executives in the 25 to 35 age group blow more than a quarter of their monthly salaries on non-essential pastimes like shopping, going to pubs and travel. 

Unlike the average Singaporean – who spends about 23% of his income on non-essential items – the super-consumer yuppie typically sees 28% of his pay cheque going towards discretionary consumption. 

That is the highest of any population group here, said MasterCard in a conference last week.  

According to MasterCard’s economic adviser Dr Yuwa Hedrick-Wong, in 2001, this group has an annual income of S$43,000 (RM93,000) on average, giving it a collective discretionary spending of S$5.46bil (RM11.8bil).  

By 2006, the 280,000 people in this segment, who would either be single or married without children, would have seen their average annual pay increase to S$63,000 (RM136,000).  

That would give them a collective S$8bil (RM17bil) to splurge on so-called discretionary goodies such as dining out, branded fashion and whatever else takes their fancy.  

This discretionary expenditure would have a “huge business impact,” especially on the retail sector, which has recently been badly hit by the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome and the fall in tourist numbers, said Dr Hedrick-Wong. 

MasterCard has forecast that Singapore’s retail sales would fall by 1.5% in the second half of this year. For the whole of last year, sales declined by 2.5%. 

One Singaporean who epitomises the young, high-earning sophisticate is Chew Boon Kiat, 35, an economist with private bank European Financial Group. 

While others are tightening their belts in the present downturn, he continues to spend about S$400 (RM900) a month on items such as jewellery, cufflinks, ties and shoes.  

“Even in a downturn, my consumption remains about the same,” he said. 

“It is a lifestyle choice. I feel more comfortable with certain brands.” – The Straits Times/ Asia News Network 

For another perspective from The Straits Times, a partner of Asia News Network, click here.

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