Well-educated and Well-paid Singaporeans Mired in Debt — A Personal Story

A relative of mine was recently approached by his cousin for money.

My relative runs his own business, lives in a landed property in Singapore (for the knowledge of readers living outside of Singapore, due to affordability, the majority of the population here live in flats/apartments), and drives a nice car.

I suppose that because of these visible signs of wealth, his cousin assumed that he might be a generous lender.

Judging from external appearances, this cousin might considered as an unlikely candidate for owing a great sum of money.

He has a university education, and the last we heard, was the finance director of a large MNC. Whenever we would meet him during the Chinese new year, he would act proudly, and would try to impress to others that he was holding a very important position within the company, and that his career was going places.

So, it came as a big shock that this person would ask for a loan, and my relative was also taken aback by the size of his original request ($100,000).

He then tried to negotiate for $50,000, but as the two men discussed the matter, some angry words were exchanged, before a final plea for $15,000 was made, but rejected.

My relative does not know why his cousin needed the money, but suspects that it could be due to gambling debts, although this person outwardly was not known to have gambled previously.

It is also not known whether his family is aware of the debt.

According to the Straits Times, it may not be as unusual as it seems for well-educated and well-paid Singaporeans to be mired in debt. Apparently, there are 32,000 people here who share this similar profile.

It seems that the major reason for falling into unsecured debt is overspending on lifestyle wants. Other reasons include a spouse losing a job, making stupid investments, loaning money to friends, and gambling.

The bible says that “the rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender” (Proverbs 22:7, NIV), and consequently, I hope that there are no bible-believing Christians among the 32,000 in debt, especially for the reason of overspending on lifestyle wants, for the bible has also made it clear that we are not to “love the world or anything in the world” (1 John 2:15, NIV).

However, if there are indeed Christians who are in debt due to overspending on lifestyle wants, I pray that they learn their lesson. “For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” (Hebrews 12:6, ESV)


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