Some might remember that I talked about an article written by Cai Haoxiang in The Business Times in 2013. He wrote about what an average household’s monthly expenses could look like in 2042, using the Household Expenditure Survey 2007-2008 from the Department of Statistics as a reference.

In 1997-1998, an average HDB household’s expenses were S$2,681. In 2007-2008, it was S$3,138. That was an increase of 17%. By 2042, if core inflation is 2% a year, that number would hit S$6,400. In 3 decades, the number more than doubled.

If we were to assume that costs would increase steadily, monthly expenses for an average HDB household could hit S$7,500 by 2052.

Many people say they need $1 million in savings when they retire at 65. I don’t know if they know this for sure or if they are just saying it because $1 million sounds like a big deal.

OK, let us look at how long would that $1 million last?

Hold on to your seats.

At a draw down rate of $7,500 a month, about 11 years, assuming that the banks did not pay interest on savings and that there would be no further inflation.

The money will run out at age 76.

Alamak, how like that? Many people are expected to live till 85 or older these days.



That is 35 years away.

So, if you are 30 years old this year and you are from an average HDB household, this could well apply to you.

Aiyoh. Stress.

OK. Before you run around doing a Chicken Little, an average HDB household was assumed to have three to four members. So, if your household size is smaller, then, expenses should be lower.

Single or dual income no kids (DINK) at 65, anyone?

Of course, even for married couples who have children, at 65, their children should be financially independent of them. So, again, expenses should be lower than what is assumed here.

I am going to stick my neck out here and say that, in 2052, $4,000 of spending money a month could probably give most people who are 65 and retired a comfortable life.

If you are 30 this year, have $1 million in savings by age 65, you should be able to fund a $4,000 a month retirement easily into your 90s.

If we max out our CPF contributions annually and top up our CPF SA to hit the Full Retirement Sum earlier, we could have this magical $1 million in our CPF account by the time we are 65.

Don’t believe me? Read this.

Singles and DINKs will find this easier to achieve than those who are married with kids, everything else remaining equal.

Some might have to try harder and some might take more time but if this is important enough to attain, then, do the right thing. Start today.

This article originally appeared on AK’s blog.