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What would a 21 years old do with $100,000?

20 years ago, students flying around on holidays are almost unheard of. Today, university students are travelling with friends on holidays, holding the latest iPhone, carrying designer bags to school, and some privileged students driving in luxury cars.

In Asia’s Private Banking, wealthy clients had set up trusts or direct monetary/property gift to their children to help their children gain a strong financial foundation early in their life.

At 21 years old, they may not have the necessary knowledge to manage a large sum of money. Thus, wealthy clients had always been vigilant and work with Private Banks to provide an effective solution for their children.

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Wealth Transfer for Middle-Income Families

As middle-income wealth grew, more educated and financial literate parents are also transferring wealth to their children at an early stage. In Singapore, sums of $5,000 to $100,000 being given to children at 21 years old is an increasing trend.

Many parents are giving their children a head start in life by giving them not only a strong education, but also transferring wealth to them at an early age.

We took a peek into what 21 years old university students in Singapore would do with a windfall, should their parents decide to give them $100,000.

  • 2 Interviews with Undergraduates in Singapore
  • Survey of 30 Students & Young Adults (18 – 28)


Respondent 1:

Jerita Tan, Year 3 Student at Singapore Management University

If she received $100,000, she would use some of the funds to pay off her tuition loan. Her top priority is to travel and explore new destination. She had always wanted to go to Japan, but it is an expensive place.

Private jet is arriving tropical resort in the morning
Private jet is arriving tropical resort in the morning

This is how her imaginary expenditure / portfolio looks like:

Plan Amount Percentage
Tuition $20,000 20%
Travel $40,000 40%
Save $40,000 40%


On savings

“Maybe an insurance savings plan with Prudential”

Recently, she was in touch with an insurance agent who described how a savings plan could help her with her kids’ education 20 years later.

When asked about other ways to save the money

“Perhaps, I can do investments, but I ‘m not really sure what is it about.  Heard from parents that it’s risky and should not be playing investment related stuff.”

(Jerita Tan is a year 3 social science student, currently studying at the Singapore Management University. She has limited knowledge of investment-related issues and is planning to major in psychology.)


Respondent 2: 

Terence Tan, Year 2 Student at Singapore Management University

If he received $100,000, Terence would prefer to use the money for investments into property and singapore government bonds. He would spend a small portion on leisure activities. Travel to Maldives and enjoy the prestine beaches, buy Nike flyknits and stuffs that would had been otherwise beyond his budget.

Garden Leave
Garden Leave


This is how his imaginary expenditure / portfolio looks like:

Plan Amount Percentage
Leisure $10,000 10%
Property $80,000 80%
Investments $10,000 10%


On student loans

“I’ll not rush into paying off my student loans as school loans have one of the lowest interest rates. This means that the compound interest on the principal is much lower compared to any other debts that I would undertake outside (such as bank loans). Instead, I’ll look into investments-related issues.”

On buying property

“In Singapore, my top priority is to purchase a property”

Estimated HDB 5-room (Median Price in Bukit Merah) $783,500
10% Downpayment $78,350
Cash $70,000
CPF $8,350


On Investments

“I will choose to invest in something more liquid.”

“For a student that is currently full-time studying, I may not have the knowledge and time to monitor market news and do proper researches. In particular, I will look into government bonds. Government bonds may yield a lower interest rates compared to corporate bonds, but it’s safer as it has the backings of a strong reserves of the reliable government in Singapore. Bond has a higher yield compared to placing the money in bank accounts. Hopefully, a good yield of about 4-5 percent is decent enough to grow my money as I have to take into consideration the inflation rate in Singapore.”

(Terence Tan is a year 2 business management student, currently studying at the Singapore Management University.)


In an independent survey of 30 people – 

  • Aged 18 to 28
  • Average Age 21.67
  • 55.3% are from business / finance background.

business man with her staff in conference room

Save or Invest

76.7% of respondents expressed interests to save or invest the money

Travelling & Spending

23.3% of respondents will spend on traveling and spending the money.  They did not mention about saving or investments.


Academic background and life-stage plays an important part as the 3 oldest respondents expressed clear financial objectives:

Age Background How they would use the gift of $100,000
26 Banking and Finance Invest in Stocks that pay constant dividends.
27 Business Invest in safer items like Bonds, place in time deposits, spend on a decent laptop.
28 Human Resource $2,000 for a holiday,   invest the rest.


The survey is conducted by Celeste Lim.  She is a year 2 banking & finance student, currently studying at the Singapore Institute of Management University.


Key Insights: 21 Years Old

  • They are generally aware of of savings & investments
  • They are open to exploring savings & investments options
  • Business / Finance background students have clearer financial thoughts, plans & objectives
  • They have strong personal preference for lifestyle spending, and will budget for the spending if given the money


Wealth Transfer Solutions

Are financial service providers, banks & wealth managers ready for the new wave of wealthy young adults?  Have wealth managers discuss with parents on possible solutions for an effective wealth transfer and gift to their children?

Online Trading
Online Trading

Turn these insights into talking points with your clients.  Whether the money ends up in the Apple Retail Store or Apple Shares, you will have a strong impact in their parent’s financial decisions.



The interview with Jarita Tan is conducted by Terence Tan.  The independent survey is conducted by Celeste Lim.

Terence Tan, Researcher at Caproasia Online and Year 2 Student at Singapore Management University

Celeste Lim, Researcher at Caproasia Online and Year 2 Student at Singapore Institute of Management

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