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Manulife Survey: Singaporeans are taking charge of their financial health

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The most recent Manulife Asia Care Survey finds that Singaporeans have accepted that COVID-19 is here for the long-term. They remain concerned about the economic recovery, income security, and their mental health. These concerns are leading to an increase in agency to take charge of their financial well-being.

According to the recent Manulife Asia Care Survey, 57 percent of Singapore respondents believe the pandemic will last another 12 months or will never end. 52 percent show a willingness to tolerate the virus becoming endemic, allowing life to go on. A similar 50 percent expect certain measures such as social distancing and mask-wearing to continue for at least another year.

The survey also found Singapore respondents are worried about worsening mental health, with just 53 percent saying their mental health is good. For perspective, this is higher than Hong Kong (47 percent) and Japan (43 percent), but below the region as a whole (64 percent).

The (possible) relationship between work, burnout and declining mental health

In Singapore, work has been singled out at the leading cause of burnout in Singapore (46 percent). This is twice as high as for the region (23 percent). However, only 52 percent are comfortable with seeking professional mental health advice. This is far lower than respondents from neighbouring countries such as Indonesia (80 percent) and Vietnam (78 percent).

Surprisingly, Singaporeans are generally open to receiving advice on general health and well-being from medical professionals, with 70 percent saying they are comfortable seeking professional advice on these topics.

Fortunately, many Singaporeans use physical exercise as a means of regulating or improving their mental health (66 percent); compared to respondents from Japan (51 percent), China (55 percent), and Hong Kong (56 percent).

Taking back control of their financial well-being

Just over a third (34 percent) of Singapore respondents has reported a decline in income. This has led to people reducing their spend (30 percent) on unnecessary of big-ticket expenses, to alleviate the impact of COVID-19 and mitigate further financial risks.

The survey has found that 28 percent of Singaporean respondents have enough savings to last for more than a year. This is well below the regional average (36 percent).


However, despite seemingly working with less overall liquidity, Singapore respondents are indicating that they have priorities when it comes to rebuilding or regaining financial well-being. These measures include investing more (20 percent), planning for retirement (10 percent) and saving more (41 percent) despite the pandemic.

Insurance remains a priority for many of the respondents. 88 percent of them own insurance, above the 75 percent regional average. The most popular insurance products in Singapore include hospitalisation (55 percent), life protection (50 percent) and critical illness (49 percent) – with all areas ranking above the regional average.


Among the 58 percent looking to purchase new insurance plans in the next 12 months, endowment/savings insurance (20 percent), hospitalisation cover (16 percent), wealth / investment linked insurance (16 percent), and health (16 percent) are top of the list in Singapore.

65 percent are increasingly becoming comfortable buying insurance through online channels such as insurance comparison websites (26 percent) and insurance company websites (20 percent). Factors affecting purchase decisions include pricing (38 percent) and product information being too complicated (28 percent).

Singaporeans have gained resilience after more than two years of living through a pandemic. Our survey shows that while people may feel that parts of their lives have deteriorated, they have also made major adjustments in other areas to cope and take back control. Choosing to improve their financial habits and actively manage their overall wellbeing, Singaporeans are looking for more information and support to eliminate uncertainties in their lives. Life and health insurers can fill this gap by helping consumers address their changing life concerns, financial and coverage needs.

Dr. Khoo Kah Siang, Chief Executive Officer at Manulife Singapore.

Images credit: Manulife Singapore