MOM statistics for 2018 showed that the median income for 2018 increased by 3.5% after adjustment for inflation. It now stands at $4,437. The median income last year was $4,232.
$4,437 sounds like not a bad deal. When we were younger, many would have complained if people told you that you will get this income.
However, reality sucks. This median salary just means that there are equal amount of people who earn beyond and below that amount. It is just the midpoint. It is better than an average which can be skewed by billionaire salaries but it still does not tell the whole story.
Firstly, this value is inclusive of our employer's CPF contribution. So the actual figure is lesser than that. Yes it's your money but if you cannot decide fully what you want to do with it, you can't say you have control over it.
Then there's the thing about expenditure. We know that things are just getting more and more expensive. The cost of living is increasing. Basic goods and needs already take up a huge chunk of your expenditure.
The last Household Expenditure Survey carried out by the Department of Statistics (in 2012/13) found that the expenditure for an average Singaporean household was $4,724. This is not fake news or fake statistics. This is official findings by SingStat and they are in the midst of collating statistics for 2017/18. With inflation and rising costs, surely the household expenditure will be greater than that?
Households made up of PMETs may not be as well off but they are not all much better off. They work to earn but not live a life.
For lower income households where the total household income may be less than $4,500, what happens to them? What if they have very young children still attending schools? S
Survival is a real issue for them. What's there to be happy about?
The writer, Kelvin, is not elite. He is not also not rich.