Singapore often ranks as the “most expensive city in the world.” A simple Airbnb rental will often cost 5x more in Singapore than Bangkok, for example. But of course, there are still some people who are rich even in Singapore.
So, how much money would it require to be “rich” in Singapore, when you look at the details? And do you have enough to qualify?
A monthly income of ~$12,000 USD or more would arguably make you “rich” in Singapore. That amount puts you in the top 5% of earners, along with attorneys, CEOs, and doctors. For net worth, you’d need ~$3.5 million USD of assets to be in the top 1% in Singapore.
I’ll expand on those numbers and more below, to help you understand what really counts as “rich” in Singapore. We’ll look at average pay and net worth, cost of living comparisons, and a lot more!
What is Wealthy in Singapore?
When we talk about being “rich” in Singapore, we have to look at both how much money people have and what they earn. Let’s start with how much money people have.
As of 2021, to be in the richest 1% in Singapore, you need ~$3.5 million USD in assets (source). That’s a lower number than in the US, Switzerland, New Zealand, and some others—but it’s the highest in all of Asia.
In the context of SE Asia in particular, SIngapore’s wealth really sticks out. In Malaysia, you only need ~$485,000 USD to be in the 1%. Meanwhile, in the Philippines and Indonesia, the number is around ~$60,000 USD. (source)
In 2022, there were an estimated 298,650 millionaires in Singapore (in US dollars). That’s 12.7% of the adult population. That’s a lot of millionaires. That’s more than 1 in 8 adults.
What Is a Good Salary in Singapore?
Now let’s talk about monthly income. First, let’s look at the lower end of things—what do lower-income jobs pay in Singapore?
Singapore is one of the few countries in the world that does not have a legal minimum wage. However, we can look at reported salary numbers for some of the lower-income jobs:
- Waiter / Waitress: 2,480 SGD (~$1,830 USD)
- Cashier: 2,930 SGD (~$2,170 USD)
- Mechanic: 3,050 SGD (~$2,260 USD)
- Secretary: 3,710 SGD (~$2,740 USD)
So, the lower end of Singaporean earners generally make ~$2,000 to $3,000 USD per month. Indeed, only the bottom 20% of workers earn 5,080 SGD or less per month (~$3,760 USD). Most Singaporeans earn more.
But what about higher-income jobs? How much do richer Singaporeans make?
“High Income” Earners in Singapore
Here are reported monthly incomes for some better-paying careers in Singapore:
- Attorney: 15,600 SGD (~$11,540 USD)
- Dentist: 18,200 SGD (~$13,460 USD)
- CEO: 18,300 SGD (~$13,530 USD)
Aside from these specific jobs, we can also look at broader salary distributions. What do the top 50% of earners make? What about the top 5%? As of 2023, Salary Explorer reports the following:
- The top 50% earn 7,680 SGD or more per month (~$5,680 USD).
- The top 25% earn 11,600 SGD or more per month (~$8,580 USD).
- The top 15% earn 13,100 SGD or more per month (~$9,690 USD).
- The top 5% earn 16,700 SGD or more per month (~$12,350 USD).
- “Almost everyone” earns 37,700 SGD or less per month (~$27,880 USD).
So, let’s recap: When it comes to monthly income, the low end in Singapore is ~$2,000 to $3,000 USD per month, while the median is ~$5,680 USD, and the top earners are in the range of ~$12,000 to $28,000 USD or more per month.
Cost of Living in Singapore
We can also compare the average cost of living in Singapore to other countries, using Numbeo. This should give us an overall sense of the scale of prices.
The following table shows the “cost of living with rent” in Singapore compared to other countries. As you can see, Singapore has a higher cost of living than all these other countries:
|Country||How Singapore Compares|
|United States||Singapore is ~32% more expensive.|
|Australia||Singapore is ~35% more expensive.|
|Canada||Singapore is ~42% more expensive.|
|United Kingdom||Singapore is ~46% more expensive.|
|South Korea||Singapore is ~50% more expensive.|
|Japan||Singapore is ~59% more expensive.|
|China||Singapore is ~70% more expensive.|
|Thailand||Singapore is ~71% more expensive.|
|Vietnam||Singapore is ~74% more expensive.|
|Philippines||Singapore is ~74% more expensive.|
|Colombia||Singapore is ~80% more expensive.|
|India||Singapore is ~84% more expensive.|
Assuming you’re accustomed to life in America or another highly developed country, then you’d probably want at least the same budget after you move to Singapore. Probably, you will need more.
With $5,000 to $10,000 per month, you’ll live pretty well in Singapore. But to really feel rich, you’ll need more yet.
What It Takes to Be “Rich” in Different Asian Countries
Read my other guides to what counts as “rich” in Asia—complete with salary data, net worth statistics and more: