Singapore is often touted as one of the jewels of Southeast Asia, backed by a powerhouse economy and an industrial population. However, even the citizens of this city-state aren’t immune to economic troubles. According to recently released information, over 2,800 people filed for bankruptcies in Singapore over the course of the previous year.

There’s also the troubling trend of rising average debt among Singaporean households. According to one source, the average debt of a household in Singapore is at approximately $55,000.

The source showcases that this number has been climbing steadily higher over the past decade.

But what drives Singaporeans to debt and pushes them over the edge into bankruptcy?

Here are the five most common reasons people may take out a personal loan in Singapore or eventually declare they’re bankrupt. Understanding can be the key to securing your own financial future.

1. Costs of Medical Treatment

Medical expenses are on the rise everywhere, and Singapore is no exception. According to one source, the average cost of a medical visit to a public hospital in the country can cost anywhere between $1,000 and $7,800. Meanwhile, surgical treatments cost marginally higher, going for somewhere between $1,600 and $10,500. Treatment at a private hospital, with the enhanced facilities and care that entails, can cost three times as much as visiting one of their public counterparts.

Of course, the best way to avoid a potentially bankrupting visit to a hospital is by taking care of yourself. Aside from keeping an eye on your physical fitness, pay attention to your diet and other behaviors that could adversely affect your health, such as smoking and alcohol consumption.

2. Unnecessary Expenses

Singapore has plenty of shopping malls, bazaars and arcades, not to mention an abundance of online shopping options that are becoming readily available to everybody. This has led to an increased tendency to splurge on unnecessary items.

One of the ways experts determine that people are spending more and more is by monitoring Singapore’s credit card debt as country. According to a source, in 2017, the national credit card debt of Singapore was worth almost $11 billion dollars.

If you wish to avoid draining your bank accounts and tying up your finances paying off unnecessary expenditures, there are a couple of tips to follow. First is that you should always determine if an item you plan on purchasing is an immediate need or simply a want. This can help you resist the urge to buy them. Second, if you routinely pay with a credit card, get used to paying with cash. This will limit what you can spend on single shopping splurge.

3. Problems with Businesses

The COVID-19 pandemic has hurt many businesses all over the world. The necessary social restrictions required to ensure the disease does not spread easily through populations have made it hard for businesses to remain open or financially viable. Many businesses have had to shutter temporarily for months to dampen the financial strain of keeping open but operating at a loss. After prolonged lockdowns, some have even had to shutter permanently.

Unfortunately, given the severity of the pandemic, there are few ways to dampen such a blow. Some measures you can employ to keep your business afloat without having to declare bankruptcy include reducing staff hours. This will keep your staff employed while reducing your losses. You can also form mergers or partnerships with other small businesses, pooling your resources together to hold on longer.

4. Job Troubles

A corollary to the problem of businesses shutting down and forcing their owners to declare bankruptcy is that workers and employees often lose their jobs long before then. A lot of businesses seek to remain afloat by getting rid of employees they no longer deem necessary to their operations. While this can work, and some businesses provide adequate compensation, loss of a primary means of income is always bad news to any household.

One way to make the sting of unemployment less painful is by ensuring you have a comfortable savings account. This can help tide you and your family over while you look for a new job.

5. Gambling Issues

Although Singapore has only three casinos operating in its boundaries, these establishments are enormous, catering to the gambling urges of thousands upon thousands of people. For example, the Marina Bay Sands Casino has over 1,600 slot machine and other games in an area that’s over 15,000 square meters.

Aside from enormous casinos, gambling dens and casual bets take place in many private and residential dwellings across Singapore, some of which push their players into financial hardships such as bankruptcy. If you feel like you have a gambling addiction or problems, seek professional help immediately.

Bankruptcy is a serious issue, but it’s by no means the end of the line. Even if you have to declare personal bankruptcy, you can still pull yourself up and rebuild anew. Of course, preventing such an instance from happening in the first place is the better alternative, one that you can achieve by understanding the common causes of financial instability.