I'll define this properly first.
There is a difference between reason and excuse.
To me, an excuse is something which used to console yourself.
Example, I can't lose weight because I can't exercise because my back hurts.
This is an excuse, cos there are other options and other exercises which you can do to lose weight.
Or, I got a car because my wife is working in the far corner of the country.
This is also an excuse, cos she can still take public transport, just that she needs to wake up earlier.
Whereas, to me, a reason, is a valid explanation of something.
Example, I was late for work today because I was stuck inside the MRT when it broke down.
It can't be helped and there's no other option which can be taken, and you had taken reasonable consideration to try to accomplish the task.
Or, I bought the larger television because it was cheaper than the small one.
That's a valid reason to be buying a larger television, unless it can't fit into the house.
I'll define not being poor as having a fair enough lifestyle. I think a household income of $3,500 per month before CPF is not poor ($2,800 disposable income after CPF) It's a bit rough, but not poor.
No kids, cos I have no experience budgeting with kid costs.
So the scenario is, ITE/Poly grads, a couple, no kids, staying in a 3 room HDB, no debt (except house).
Let's start budgeting a reasonable lifestyle.
My $4 plan is too extreme for most people, I would consider it unreasonable.
I set savings at 10% already so the excess can be used for any miscellaneous issues.
So the story is that they earn a gross salary of $3,500, used to stay with their parents, they managed to save up some money and decided to move out, managed to lightly furnish their house to a reasonable livable condition.
This post isn't about savings or retiring early. It's about having no excuse for not be able to live a reasonable lifestyle.
So IF we can come to an conclusion that $3,500 gross income per household is reasonable to attain, and that the expense table above is also a reasonable fair lifestyle for a couple, then we can conclude that there isn't any really good excuse for anyone to remain poor.
And so now, we explore how the couple could easily achieve a $3,500 income.
Now, you'd think I'll straight off say Uber and the story is over. But I would think that would be cheating. Cos, there is a criteria for driving Uber, the candidate needs to hold a driving license for 2 years. So let's say this couple doesn't have this skill set.
And they also have relatively irrelevant diplomas, so the jobs needs to be a relatively general skilled job which any hardworking person can do, which allows on-the-job-training.
Else we won't have much of a story today.
I'm not even going to include sales jobs cos some folks are good in sales and some people just can't talk very well.
Let's look at some simple searches...
Maybe 10 hours a day for 5 days a week. I'll count as 20 working days.
So that ends up with $1,100-$1,600.
Ok that doesn't work out to our required $3,500 per month.
Remember, this study is to determine if the couple can easily live a reasonably good life. So I'm giving them the luxury of not having to work on weekends.
Let's look at other easy to get jobs...
To get $3,500 per month, each party would need to earn, $1,750 each or $21,000 per year, so if we work backwards, that needs to be a $8.75 hourly pay.
At $24,000 per year, this job works out well for the couple and there's a career progression so they will be able to earn more as time goes on.
Usually, people would say this is a feminine job, so let's say the wife gets this job and let's look for another simple role for the husband.
Here's a good career...
As you can see, being a police officer fits the criteria which we set out above.
The story works out nicely too.
The couple, they have relatively irrelevant diplomas from Poly or ITE, the wife works as an admin assistant, the husband is a police officer. He uses his sign on bonus to pay for his house furnishing. Both of them earns combined more than $3,500 per month and lives a relatively good life.
Oh wait... I think a police officer needs to work on one weekend. Ok fine, let's make it more difficult for me again. Let's say, like most guys, he doesn't like to work in police or SAF.
So I'll have to search again...
1 hour later...
Ok I give up.
I can't really find another job which doesn't require skills that fits the bill easily, The candidate needs to have some sort of other skill, like driving, cos that allows the person to take up delivery jobs. There are some jobs like a warehouse packer but usually those jobs are on a 5.5 day or 6 day work week. So it doesn't fit the story which I started out with.
I'm a bit sad, coos I thought that it would be easy to find.
Anyway, so the conclusion is, the couple can both be admin assistants and the story would work out. So it IS possible for a couple to have irrelevant qualifications and earn a combined $3,500 per month, work 5 days a week and live a good life pretty easily.
However, it would be probably be better if they had specialized diplomas or other skills or were willing to work 5.5 days or 6 days a week. Alternatively, they could both join the civil service as police officers.
A skill which is easy to attain and is immensely useful would be driving.
Nonetheless, based on the above, there is still no good excuse for an average healthy person to be poor or remain poor in Singapore. As long as the person is hardworking, willing to learn and upgrade, has some financial discipline, they should be able to live a life in Singapore quite comfortably.
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