Singles Are Poorer Than Larger Households

  • By Yang Mo-deum

    October 20, 2018 08:24

    The net assets of a single household are only one-third of those of a two to five-person household, according to a survey released by KB Kookmin Bank.

    Half of singles' expenditures go into food, rent and home maintenance, and most of what is left is deposited in savings accounts. The 2,100 singles in Seoul the bank interviewed said the best thing about living alone is freedom and the worst thing loneliness.

    The average net assets of a single household are W123.6 million, about one-third of the W320 million to W384 million held by two to five-person households (US$1=W1,133). Some 34.2 percent of singles live in jeonse or Korean-style deposit lease homes, 33.6 percent rent, and 28.2 percent own their home. But among all households, 60.7 percent own their homes.

    Still, half of the singles are in debt, although the rate of debt growth is slow. Some 33 percent of their expenditures went into food, and 21 percent into rent and home maintenance costs. Among larger households, only 11.1 percent goes into housing costs.

    Singles' favorite financial assets are mostly parked in principal-guaranteed savings. Some 77.3 percent said they prefer savings that guarantee the principal for their retirement savings rather than more adventurous investments like stocks or funds.

    Some 56.8 percent said they put money into deposit or savings accounts, while 17.8 percent admitted they are not saving any money for retirement, although they said they need to set aside an average of W282.2 million for retirement.

    Seven out of 10 respondents said they are satisfied with living alone, though women are happier than men. Among women in their 20s who live alone, 82.7 percent said they are happy, falling to 70 percent among women in their 30s to 50. But among single men in their 20s, only 71.2 percent are happy, falling to 60 percent among men in their 30s to 40s and to 51.4 percent among men in their 50s.

    Some 39.5 percent said the biggest advantage of living alone is freedom, followed by personal leisure time (33.2 percent) and the absence of family responsibilities (7.3 percent). The biggest concern is loneliness with 44.3 percent.

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