The “chirping” Singaporeans in Iskandar

A WhatsApp friend sent this to me many years ago, even before Ringgit was at current low point versus the S$. “Why do Singaporeans make chirping sounds when they are in Iskandar?’ Naturally, no one knew how to answer. The answer? The Singaporeans would keep saying, ‘wah… very cheap… very cheap…’ So, in brief, they are ‘chirping’ all the time as soon as they reach Johor Bahru (JB). Well, every report I read or economists would tell me that the S$ would continue to be strong versus the Ringgit. Question is only how strong.
What could possibly happen with such a strong currency? Well, Malaysians who are working in Singapore could save and buy more Malaysian properties. Singaporean retirees who would like to stretch their money by at least 3 times could also choose to stay in Malaysia instead. In order to be near enough to their homeland, perhaps Iskandar would be one strong option. The High Speed Rail may or may not change this but the dates seem to get further away as many decisions remain pending currently. Read here: Singapore Transport Ministry: Not yet ‘true,’ still discussing  I would of course also like to propose one more option. Singapore – Penang. It’s just an hour away by flight…. Read here: Middle income Singaporean household and Penang connection There’s no need to promote Ipoh. It’s already a better option. Better food too. Haha.
In one recent article in The Edge by Ryan Khoo, it was stated that the median age for Singaporeans today is 40. This actually meant that one very real option for life after retirement would have to be in Malaysia and most probably in a nice condominium overlooking Singapore, perhaps. Reason is very simple, taking just the lowest possible inflation rate times the HDB flat’s prices for the next 25 years until these people retire and you would get what I mean. The living costs would be high by then and with their HDB flat, it meant that they ares sitting on a pile of very valuable currency. Utilising it for a bigger living space right across the causeway so that they are still near their family and friends? Probably.
According to Ryan, some other reasons for the Singaporean retirees to consider Iskandar? Healthcare options in Malaysia which remains attractive. I know this very well because I had an appendicitis operation in Singapore when I suffered immense pain during my business trip to Singapore just 2 years ago. The price difference? RM10,000 that I had to top up for my medical bill…. We are only talking about appendicitis…..
There’s also the High Speed Rail and the rapid transit system too. They will definitely improve the links between both countries instead of the current crazy jams every time there’s a holiday and during peak hours every working day. The game changer is however more links and not just waiting for all these new infrastructures which will be taking a long, long time.
All these are not that important if we are earning within the top 10 percent in Singapore today. If we are the top 10 percent, I think it’s possible to retire in even more exotic places and not necessary to be in Singapore. However, for the middle income retirees, whatever savings would be extremely important. Relying on their children who may also be struggling is not a beautiful option.   Face it objectively. Happy working hard for the next 25 years. In the mean time, save and invest.
written on 11 Jan 2016
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