Young Koreans Spend Less and Save More

  • By Hwang Ji-yoon

    July 25, 2020 08:43

    Koreans in their 20s and 30s are spending less and saving more while often juggling two jobs. Their goal is to retire when they are in their 40s.

    According to a poll by job search portal Incruit last month, one out of three salaried workers in their 30s said they fall into the category. This contrasts starkly with the so-called "YOLO" (you only live once) mindset, which flourished only recently. But these days, many young salaried workers are using their surplus cash to buy stocks, real estate or start their own businesses.

    "My dream is to earn a lot of money and retire when I'm in my early 40s," said a 29-year-old employee of an IT company in southern Seoul. Instead of heading out for a drink with coworkers in the evening, he spends free time working out how to make money. He has invested W60-70 million into gold, electronically-traded funds and stocks.

    Since last year he has also been freelancing and earns another W1 million to his W3 million monthly income (US$1=W1,203).

    One 41-year-old manager at a manufacturer in North Gyeongsang Province plans to quit her job in late September. She saved up around W2.5 billion, including her severance pay, and now earns a stable monthly income from the rent from a couple of apartments she owns.

    "It's tough to give up the satisfaction and stable pay you get from working for a big company, but I got tired of spending a lot of money to ease the stress from work. I hope to find happiness in a humbler life after retirement and content myself with the small asset that I saved."

    These people differ from typical frugal spenders. Kwon Do-hyung, a retirement consultant, said, "Such people actively reject working just for the money." But their futures can be less than rosy.

    Kim Tae-gi at Dankook University said, "You need to carefully calculate the worth of your assets and your knowhow before you retire and assess how long you can continue generating earnings." 

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