Smart Investor Malaysia


Fired Up: A Look At Southeast Asians Pursuing The Financial Independence, Retire Early (FIRE) Movement


Having an early, secure retirement is a dream of many, and a small, but growing number of people are striving to turn this dream into reality. The FIRE movement, acronym for Financial Independence, Retire Early, is essentially about aggressively tightening belts, and finding multiple sources of income in order to achieve early financial freedom.

Milieu Insight released the results of their ‘Financial Independent, Retire Early’ study, which aimed to find out how common the FIRE movement is among Southeast Asians, and the steps they are taking to achieve their goal. The survey was conducted in May 2022 with N=1500 employed respondents, aged 18-49 years old, each from Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines.

Do Southeast Asians want early retirement?

  • The bulk of respondents expect to retire in their 50s or 60s (62%); Indonesians tend to expect earlier retirement, with only 52% expecting to retire in their 50s or 60s
  • Retiring early (defined as retiring before 50s) is a possibility for 60% of respondents, but only 14% think that they are on track for early retirement – Singaporeans seem most pessimistic about being able to do so, with only 9% indicating that they are on track

Steps towards early retirement

  • Most common strategy towards early retirement is regular saving (71%), followed by ‘being careful with how I spend my money’ (63%) and ‘investing’ (63%).
  • Finding additional employment is much less common (37%) as part of strategy to retire early, but tends to skew towards Thais (54%)
  • Insurance – one way of investing – is also more common among Singaporeans (56%) and Filipinos (53%)
  • Perhaps due to vast amount of resources on the Internet, most people are hands-on for retirement planning, with only 31% of those who plan to retire early saying that they have a financial consultant to help plan for retirement

A look at the most common strategies for early retirement: Saving and investing

  • Among those who save regularly for early retirement, 43% save more than 20% of their incomes
  • Among those who invest, 36% indicated that more than 20% of their incomes go towards investments
  • The most common investment types are:
  • Investment funds (56%)
  • Stocks (53%)
  • Real estate (52%)
  • Cryptocurrency and NFTs, which are gaining momentum but have yet to enter mainstream investing due to their volatility, registers at 41%, and seem to be more popular in Thailand (57%) and the Philippines (54%)

How do people feel about FIRE?

  • 57% feel very or somewhat positive about their journey towards achieving early retirement
  • Comparing those who are on track to early retirement, and those who are planning to retire early but don’t think they are able to, the former tends to feel more positive about it (83% vs 49% who selected very/somewhat positive)


Based on Milieu Insight surveys with N=1500 employed respondents, aged 18-49 years old, each from Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines, conducted in May 2022.

About Milieu Insight

Milieu Insight is a consumer data and analytics company that connects businesses directly with their target audience. Milieu’s platform offers businesses a wide range of tools for accessing, analyzing, and visualizing high-value and timely consumer opinion data to help power better decision-making and strategy. For more information about Milieu Insight visit:

Join our Telegram to get the latest from Smart Investor

Recent Posts

Related Posts

Smart Investor Newsletter

Get Our Latest Articles And More Delivered To Your Inbox!

Are you sure want to unlock this post?
Unlock left : 0
Are you sure want to cancel subscription?