UHNW individuals are defined by Wealth-X as having total assets of at least US$30 million (S$38 million). On average the 1,355 UHNW Singapore residents have US$180 million in total assets. Together they have a combined wealth of US$160 billion. Singapore has a ratio of billionaires per capita 3 times higher than that of the United States, with one billionaire for every 200,000 residents.
Of course, not all their money is made from property asset enhancement. The government has made sure the rich get richer, through measures such as:
- Gains derived from the sale of a property in Singapore is not taxable as it is deemed as capital gain;
- There is no estate duty payable for deaths on and after 15 Feb 2008;
- Generally, dividends paid on or after 1 Jan 2008 by a Singapore company are not taxable. Foreign dividends received in Singapore on or after 1 Jan 2004 by resident individuals are also not taxable;
- Goods & Services Tax or GST on Investment Precious Metals was removed by the Singapore government on 1 October 2012.
Throughout the course of history, the flow of migration has always been directed towards destinations where there is perceived freedom and prosperity. Nobel prize-winning economist and champion of laissez-faire economics Milton Friedman referred to this as “people voting with their feet”. It works both ways. Singapore is very welcoming and inviting to the über rich, it is also getting very hostile to those struggling to make ends meet. The tragedy is that the poor are too tied down by debt servicing to make the relocation with their feet.
A Mr Tan, 71, who has a postgraduate in mathematics, actually pleaded with his doctor to end his life and his wife's two years ago. Even he could not do the math, caring for his dementia afflicted wife, a son with obsessive-compulsive disorder and a daughter with schizophrenia, all on the pathetic financial assistance and food rations from the community development council. There's no report on the ultra destitute individuals in Singapore.