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Would It Make Financial Sense For A Malaysian To Work In Singapore?

It’s not just about the money.


Due to Singapore’s superior currency and status as a developed country, most Malaysians tend to assume that that life is better on the other side of the causeway. However, after a detailed analysis, that might not necessarily be the case.

It is true that for bachelors, life in Singapore could be like living in paradise. Dollar to dollar, it is cheaper to travel, hang out at popular places, hipster cafes and also get more groceries for SGD 50 in Singapore than you would be able to for RM50 in Malaysia.

For Families

However, if you are planning to settle down and start a family, the picture can start to change drastically. This is because once you factor in the need for a house and a family car, Malaysia seems to offer the better deal.

Read Also: Malaysia vs Singapore: Which Country Has A Better Standard Of Living?

Working In Singapore While You’re Young

It might still make sense for a young Malaysian to work in Singapore while they are young. A young Malaysian working in Singapore has a higher chance of being exposed to a faster-paced and more efficient working environment.

Although there are also fast-paced and efficient working environments in Malaysia, the global exposure in Singapore would definitely do more good than harm to one’s career.

Besides that, one would also stand a chance to save up enough to buy a house or accumulate sufficient capital to generate passive income from when they return to Malaysia in a couple of years.

What Is Your Profession?

However, the math might not work out as nicely for everyone depending on your profession. If your skill set does not allow you to get a sufficiently high paying job in Singapore, you might not be able to save much due to the base cost of living you have to fork out as a foreigner working and living in Singapore.

Based to estimates, the bare minimum you will need to survive in Singapore can range anywhere from SGD1200 to SGD1500.

What Job Opportunities Are There For You?

Singapore tends to have many entry level marketing or admin related jobs for hardworking Malaysians. Besides that, if you have a very specific skill set that is in high demand throughout the world such as software engineering, finding a job could be easy for you.

Some firms in Singapore are known to offer as high as SGD5000 a month for fresh grads in the software engineering field. An experienced software engineer can command a monthly salary of SGD15000 to SGD20000 or even more.

How Much More Do You Stand To Earn?

However, many of the admin or marketing related jobs for Malaysians only pay in the range of SGD1600 to SGD1800. After factoring in the monthly cost of living in Singapore which includes your rent (which is expensive), transportation, food and entertainment costs, there might not be much left for you to save.

Hence, for working in Singapore to make sense, you would need to be able to secure a job that pays you at least SGD2000 and above. That way, you can save SGD500 to SGD1000 a month, translating to around RM1500 to RM3000.

That might not sound like much, but it would be enough to save up for a downpayment for a house in a few years or service a mortgage in Malaysia while working in Singapore.

Career Prospects

It is also important to find out about the career prospects for the job that you plan to take up in Singapore. If you’re planning to take up a standard admin or marketing job, the career prospects might not be as bright as there are few opportunities for promotion.

In that case, you have to be prepared to take home more or less the same salary for a good number of years. Do the math to make sure that it makes financial sense to make the move over to Singapore.

But of course, if you are an outstanding individual or are willing to put in the effort to be one, that shouldn’t matter in the long run as you can work hard to get yourself there.

Build Your Portfolio Faster

If you are fortunate enough to find a job that pays sufficiently well in Singapore, you’ll stand to be able to save up enough to build out your investment portfolio at a much faster rate (in ringgit) than your peers back in Malaysia due to Singapore’s stronger currency.

Read Also: What Is A Diversified Investment Portfolio?

Pay Off Your Housing Loan Sooner

If you own a house in Malaysia, you also stand to save up enough to pay off your housing loan sooner. If you manage your finances well, you might be able to fully pay off your housing loan by the time you decide to return to Malaysia.

Read Also: Taking A Housing Loan Vs Paying In Full: Which Is Better?

Does It Makes Sense For You To Work In Singapore?

Hence, if you’re young and hungry for more experience and challenges, working in Singapore might make financial sense. Your working experience in Singapore could also help you get a better paying job when you return to Malaysia.

However, bear in mind that is only if you are fortunate enough to get a job that pays sufficiently well in Singapore for you to save at least SGD1000 or more a month.

If you are talented, possess a valuable set of skills or are a business-minded and entrepreneurial person, don’t forget that there might actually be much better opportunities waiting for you in Malaysia. Be sure to explore them first before deciding on whether to make the jump to work in Singapore.

Read Also: How Much Do You Need To Save To Retire Comfortably In Malaysia?

DollarsandSense is a website that aims to help people make better financial decisions, one interesting bite-sized article at a time. Like us on Facebook to stay in touch with our latest article. 


DollarsAndSense Malaysia is a website that aims to help people make better financial decisions, one interesting, bite-sized article at a time. Like us on Facebook to stay in touch with our latest articles.