Tuesday, March 4, 2014

L.A.M. on why the Most Expensive City in the World in 2014 is Singapore.

So the Economist Intelligence Unit has named Singapore the World's most expensive city to live in 2014.

This is hardly a surprise because the people in Sunny Singapore have always known that we have some of the most expensive things. Such as:

1) World's most expensive cars

Pictured: Buying a car in Singapore burns a hole in your bonnet.

Singapore comes out tops when it comes to purchasing an automobile. For the uninitiated, a Certificate of Entitlement which costs north of $70K is required before you can purchase a car. Furthermore, there is a registration fee of $140 and additional registration fee that goes up to 180% of the value of the car. On top of that,there is an excise duty of 20% of the the car's open market value. In essence, if you were to purchase a simple Sedan worth $30K, you might end up paying an additional $115K worth of taxes, COE and fees. In short, when you buy a car, you are donating an additional 4 cars to the government.

2) World's most expensive politicians

Pictured: World's most expensive hand wave.

It is an open secret that Singapore has the best paid politicians. Based on this article from Moneysmart, Singapore's Prime Minister is paid 3.5 times more than second place Donald Tsang (2.2million vs 642K per annum). However, the truth is even more skewed. Apart from the Prime Minister and the President, all of the other Ministers in the Cabinet are paid nearly twice as much as Donald Tsang at more than 1.5million per annum. This means that the top 20 highest paid politicians in the world are all from Singapore.

3) World's most "expensive" Social Security Program

In Singapore the Central Provident Fund is a compulsory comprehensive savings plan for working Singaporeans and permanent residents primarily to fund their retirement, healthcare, and housing needs. It is administered by the Central Provident Fund Board, a statutory board under the Ministry of Manpower. The employer has to contribute 16% of the employee's monthly gross salary while the employee contributes 20% of his monthly gross salary.

Based on information from thehearttruths, Singapore not only has the highest contribution rate for our Social Security Program. (See chart above.), but also one of the lowest returns on employee contributions compared to other Social Security programs around the world.

4) World's most expensive place to be an alcoholic

According to rediff, Singapore is the world's most expensive place to drink alcohol. And with the latest increase in alcohol duties announced in Budget 2014 (see. L.A.M. on Budget 2014 and How it Really Affects You), we will see alcohol prices rise even higher.

5) Most "expensive" military

In my other article, L.A.M. on Whether Our Military Spending is Too High, I have shown how Singapore has one of the highest Military Spending in the world on a per capita basis and per sqft basis.

6) 4th most expensive transport infrastructure project

 The Marina Coastal Expressway is the tenth expressway in Singapore. It is Singapore's most expensive expressway and also happens to be the 4th most expensive per km at $680Bn per 1000 km.

7) 5th most expensive place to own a property

According to the Telegraph, at £10565 per sq m, Singapore is the 5th most expensive place to own a property, behind Paris, Hong Kong, London and Monaco.

8 & 9) 11th most expensive place to smoke and 13th most expensive for a "cheap" date

The people at zerohedge have concluded that Singapore is the 11th most expensive city for a smoke and 6th most expensive city to smoke a pack of Marlboro Cigarettes and with the latest increase in tobacco duties announced in Budget 2014 (see. L.A.M. on Budget 2014 and How it Really Affects You), we will see prices rise even higher.

On top of that, we are the 13th most expensive city (9th most expensive country) for a "cheap" date.

With these 8 reasons stated above, it is no surprise why Singapore ended up being the Most Expensive City in the World in 2014.


P.S. Feel free to leave comments below on what else should be included in this "most expensive" list.

For solutions on how to survive the Most Expensive City in the World, look here.


Anonymous said...

With our cost of living higher than the Swiss, have we overtaken the Swiss in living standard? And whatever happened to cheaperer, betterer and fasterer?

John Lam said...

Good question. The straight answer is no, we have not reached Swiss standards. Also, cheaper, better and faster is about human resource productivity.

Anonymous said...

what about healthcare and education?

John Lam said...

Good points. Healthcare appears to be relatively affordable in Singapore compared to most developed countries. Similarly for education.

Below is an study costs survey from HSBC


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Judi Bola said...
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Blogger said...

Are you paying more than $5 / pack of cigarettes? I buy all my cigarettes over at Duty Free Depot and this saves me over 50% from cigs.

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