Singapore Budget 2019: What middle class Singaporeans need to know

In this article, I’ll be zeroing in on the things that I found relevant and important to middle class Singaporeans. Singaporeans who are making a decent monthly salary and are don’t always receive much benefits and support from the government.

Last night, I spent 2 hours catching up on the Singapore Budget 2019, making notes of the opportunities and insights that were mentioned by Mr Heng Swee Keat during his speech.

Let’s get the goodies that the government is dishing out this year that middle income Singaporeans will and will not be getting.

No GST vouchers for middle income Singaporeans

This year, only Singaporeans aged 21 and above, who earned an income of up to S$28,000 in 2017, are eligible for the GST Voucher payout.

If their home’s annual value at the end of 2018 was S$13,000 or below, they will receive S$300. If their home’s annual value at the end of 2018 was more than S$13,000 but no more than S$21,000, they will receive S$150.

Personally, I have no issue with this because the payout is not a lot of money in the first place. With or without this payout will not make a difference to my financial lifestyle.

In fact, I consider myself lucky to be in a situation where I don’t need this payout. So let’s not get salty about this okay? 🙂

Working adults get 50% personal income tax rebate (capped at $200)

This is a small win for middle income Singaporeans because we actually qualify for this. But let’s put this into perspective.

For someone who has a taxable income of $50,000 after relief and deductions, the income tax payable will be reduced from $1,250 to $1,050. Assuming the income tax is paid interest-free through GIRO for 12 months, the tax paid each month would be reduced from $104.16 to $87.50 ($16.66 difference).

If your taxable income works out to be more than $50,000, this rebate of $200 can become quite insignificant.

Now let’s look at things that I believe many financial bloggers will not be writing about Singapore Budget 2019.

In case you haven’t noticed, Mr Heng has given us a lot of clues about where the economy is heading in the next few years and how the government intends to shape our country to adapt to the changing global landscape.

Use Industry Transformation Maps to anticipate where your industry is heading

Under the S$4.5 billion Industry Transformation Programme, the Future Economy Council (FEC) that is currently led by our Finance Minister, Mr Heng Swee Keat has developed 23 Industry Transformation Maps (ITMs) to address issues within each industry and deepen partnerships between Government, firms, industries, trade associations and chambers.

Based on the industry that you are in, you can examine your industry’s ITM to have a general understanding of what businesses will need to do in the next few years.

As an employee, you can anticipate what your company (or other future employers) will need and start picking up specific skillsets to stay relevant in the job market. This will also increase your chances of getting promoted too!

For business owners, the ITMs help to identify future business needs. By pivoting your business capabilities and expertise around these business needs will increase your chances of thriving in the tough business landscape.

Reskill yourself for the jobs of tomorrow

For some middle income Singaporeans, the jobs that they hold may risk becoming irrelevant in the near future as businesses are moving towards what Mr Heng calls manpower-lean solutions.

While we are not getting more SkillsFuture credits, what was highlighted in the budget speech are the addition of new Professional Conversion Program (PCP) in new growth areas – blockchain, embedded software and prefabrication.

Today, there are more than 100 PCPs in 30 sectors that we can tap on to learn new skills for mid-career changes and prepare ourselves for the jobs of tomorrow.

Conclusion

For middle class Singaporeans, I feel that Singapore Budget 2019 has focused on helping businesses and industries thrive in the competitive global economy and providing Singaporeans with ample opportunities with pivot themselves to stay relevant.

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