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3 Ways to Manage Your Time as a Student

3 Ways to Manage Your Time as a Student

1) Sacrifice is inevitable, so choose your sacrifice wisely
There are 24 hours a day, and we must know our priorities. Start by shifting our mentality from “I can’t get all of this done” to “What am I willing to sacrifice?”. “If I only had 1 hour to do activity A or B, which would I choose? And why?”. Importantly, ask yourself about what truly matters to you. Ultimately, the value of these choices comes from the sacrifices we made.

2) Discipline provides you with Freedom
I believe this has happened to us before: Mindlessly scrolling through TikTok during a “study session” for hours only to realise that the time is up, and you haven’t achieved half of what you set out to accomplish. Here are some methods to combat this:

Firstly, using a to-do list or timeboxing our day can give us the structure we need to ensure that we are on track to completing our assignments. Always give your tasks buffers to avoid overloading and overstressing yourself and factor in break times. That way, we have something to look forward to, and the breaks become more fulfilling.

Secondly, use a calendar to schedule significant due dates and activities. Having all our tasks visible may be daunting, but there is clarity in our deliverables.

3) Learn to say “No”
For my extroverted peers, this may be the toughest. When a friend invites you for supper, or “just one round of mahjong”, you might find it extremely difficult to reject such an offer. Nonetheless, learning to say no with conviction might be the secret to unlocking more time for yourself as it achieves two things:
Firstly, people would respect your time more as they see how much you would respect your goals. Next, saying no allows us to keep on track with achieving our goals, and not let external forces derail our progress.

Keep Hustling and Stay Hungry!

Kwek Xiu Qi
Financial Services Consultant

Should I bother chasing savings rates in banks?

Should I bother chasing savings rates in banks?

We should seek to personalise our financial solutions.
Bank savings rates will be good for the maintenance of liquidity.
Slightly longer-term goals with a fixed date of execution can utilise fixed deposits.
But everything else should be better utilised in combinations of better returning assets.

There is never a short and sweet answer to every personal finance question – different circumstances call for personalised solutions. We could, however, categorise and have certain rules of thumb to guide us along and help us decide whether we should be enticed and attracted by bank savings rates.

The first scenario that many of us would consider is our emergency funds. We need our safety net to be as liquid as possible since that is the first pot of wealth we will tap into during any unforeseen incidents. For this, we would likely have to look towards bank interest accounts that could give us interest rates ranging from 0.05%-3.00%* depending on the conditions fulfilled.

For people with shorter term goals or liabilities that must be paid off in 2-3 years’ time, they could explore targeted rates that banks offer in fixed deposits. On one hand, we will be locking away the sum of money that we will need at a secured 2.8%* for 2-3 years, which is beneficial for people who were able to prepare. In such instances, your financial planner will help to address the amount and type of fixed deposit to set aside into.

For the last group of people whose needs fit none of the above, perhaps we should not be blindly chasing saving rates in banks since there is always an upper limit as to how much the banks are able to offer. In most instances, they are not rates that could beat inflation, which then defeats the purpose of growing our wealth and in return, increasing our purchasing power.

Wrapping up, plan one’s growth of wealth appropriately. Chasing savings rates in the banks can only help us to a limited extent and the onus is on us to best optimise our portfolios, especially with the right professional advice.

*Interest rates correct as of writing

Lin Xiao Xuan
Financial Services Consultant

What should we value most in a job?

What should we value most in a job?

We spend 40 hours (maybe more) at our job every week. Work takes up a lot of space in our lives. This means that the culture we find at our place of work impacts our morale, productivity, and happiness.

Spending all day ingrained in a culture that doesn’t resemble you and your core values can drain your energy and enthusiasm for your job. Even if the perks of the job are amazing, cultural issues can make those perks lose their shine.

But have you ever stopped to think about your personal work values? Employee and employer work values, not only determine work culture but also your optimal career path.

There are both intrinsic and extrinsic motivators that can make a job more fulfilling. Intrinsic motivation occurs when people engage in tasks or activities that are personally enjoyable.

The reward is intangible and comes from within the person. Extrinsic motivators are more tangible rewards and come from an outside source such as a person’s pay.

Here are some factors you should value most in your workplace:

• Good Working Conditions
• Appreciation for Work Done
• Flexibility at Work – Work-Life Balance
• Career Advancements
• Good Benefit Package
• Competitive Salary
• Effective Management

So, before you ask for that promotion or accept your next job offer, you need to be clear on the types of work values that are most important to you. Sit down, look at your intrinsic and extrinsic motivators, rank them based on your own personal values.

When you understand what you value most, finding a career and an employer that closely fits your values can increase your job satisfaction. And since work takes up much of our time, finding a right job increases our overall happiness as well.

Work takes up a lot of time in our lives. We should be more keenly aware of what motivates and drives us, both tangible and intangible.

Xenia Hea
Financial Services Consultant

What has changed 1 Year Post Grad?

What has changed 1 Year Post Grad?

Previously, I wrote an article on the “Fresh Grad Starter Pack” and this article is a follow-up one year post graduation. I am writing this article from my perspective
and observations about my batchmates.

Clarity in Cash Flow
Firstly, clarity in cash flow management. Building a good habit is crucial right from the first pay cheque. It has been a year since I graduated, and I’m pleased that most of my friends are well versed in tracking their income and expenses to prevent overspending.

Build a Comprehensive Insurance Portfolio
Secondly, build a comprehensive insurance portfolio by allocating at least 10-15% of your income to insurance. Last year post-graduation, most of my peers have gotten basic insurance settled: Life Insurance, Accident and Hospitalisation. This gives them the peace of mind to pursue other financial goals in life.

Overall, it is heartening to see how my friends have progressed through adulting. An area that could be reviewed would be the investment portfolio, especially during a volatile period now. I’m glad that more of my friends are interested to kickstart or review their investment portfolios.

Yeo Tze Hern
Financial Services Consultant

4 Key Tools That Help You Fool-Proof Your Estate Planning

4 Key Tools That Help You Fool-Proof Your Estate Planning

Before we delve in deeper, let me first explain what estate planning is, and why it matters. Simply put, it is having a plan which ensures that the people and causes that you care deeply about receives your financial legacy in an efficient and effective manner. We may all think that we have all the time in the world to put this off, or that our family members can handle it, but we never know what tomorrow may bring, and our families having the assurance of a well-planned estate puts their minds at ease during a period of grief and bereavement. Not having an estate plan delays the distribution of assets, costing both time and money for family members to laboriously trace funds through multiple financial institutions. It may even lead to disputes between your loved ones due to ambiguity and discrepancy with your true intentions, as intestacy laws take the default distribution arrangements.

Now that I have hopefully convinced you of the importance of estate planning, let’s look at the 4 key tools.

1. Make sure that your insurance policies pay out to your nominated recipients in a timely and smooth manner. This can shorten the estate distribution process from months to within days.

2. Draft a will to express your wishes and intentions. This eliminates ambiguity and makes disputes less likely to occur.

3. Doing up a CPF nomination for your CPF monies prevents additional administrative charges and delays, ensuring that these funds are distributed quickly and without hiccups.

4. Granting a lasting power of attorney to trusted loved one(s) allows them to make decisions on your behalf, preventing personal assets from being frozen if you should unfortunately lose your mental capacity due to illness or accidents.

Shirlene Toh
Financial Services Consultant

How can I broach the topic of money with my parents?

How can I broach the topic of money with my parents?

Money is not an easy topic to talk about, however, it is necessary. Before you approach this subject with your parents, you must understand that it might be difficult and awkward for them. Some parents might even be embarrassed because they are not ready to let you guys know about their finances, and they still want you to be able to look up to them, so keep your tone open and gentle.
Regardless of what they say, take some time to empathise with them and don’t belittle or judge them for the decisions they have made in the past.

A way to begin is to ask them if there are things you can do to lighten their plates financially, such as helping out with the monthly household expenses or bills. After sharing these with you, it’ll be easier to get an idea of their financial situation. They might not be upfront with you about it, you can try to get them to open up by asking them to envision how they want their retirement to be and how you guys can get there together. Some important specifics include:

• Monthly Income
• Monthly Expenses
• Any Outstanding Loans
• CPF Account balances
• Any Savings/Investments Plans in place for Retirement

After having an idea of their financial situation, you can then work together with them and your financial advisor to plan for their golden days, restructure their portfolios, and fill in the missing gaps.

Planning ahead can help make these transitions in their lives easier, both financially and emotionally.

Sherrill Gan
Financial Services Consultant

Things I wish I knew when I was an Undergrad

Things I wish I knew when I was an Undergrad

Undergraduate life is tough.

It is the period where you will make important decisions for your career, on top of juggling multiple commitments.

While there isn’t one true way to live out your university life, these are 3 crucial things that I wish I knew more when I was still an undergraduate.

Focus on developing high income skill sets
You are your greatest investment I see a lot of friends, spend over 15 hours every week overanalyzing their investment portfolio to get that extra 5% on their investments during their university days.

However, most of us do not have a large sum of money to begin with when we are young. An extra 5% on a small $1,000 investment is only $50 gain in a year. But an extra 15 hours invested into uplevelling your skill sets that help secure better career opportunities in the future, could possibly result in an extra $500- $1000 more guaranteed pay above your peers every month!

Embrace Failure positively
Oftentimes, I see many of my friends beat themselves over their grades. Or over a failed internship offer.

Remember that the outcome is NOT your self-worth. And only through failures can we learn to be a much better person.

Enjoy the journey
Join a club or an interest group that you can share your greatest passions with! Society often romanticizes hustling and any time not directed towards improving yourself is unproductive time.

But happiness is more than just your success. It is the sum of your experiences, your growth and joy you can share with the community that matters to you.

Focus on growing your character, your experiences, and your skills when you are
an undergraduate, which will eventually positively manifest into greater career and relationship success down the road!

Kenny Ng
Financial Services Consultant

3 reasons why young people shouldn’t skip critical illness coverage

3 reasons why young people shouldn’t skip critical illness coverage

My client was 21 when she first discovered cysts in her ovary. An athlete since young, she never imagined this to happen. Today, she worries about her condition worsening and how her lifestyle could change.

So, why exactly do you need critical illness insurance when you’re young, healthy, and with no family history? As a fellow young adult, here are 3 reasons why I believe you should not forgo your safety net against critical illnesses.

1. The odds are critically high
Studies show that 1 in 5 Singaporeans has a lifetime risk of cancer. Yet even with statistics, no one can predict when critical illnesses will strike. We are now more likely to survive them with better detection and treatments. The question is whether we are financially ready when they occur.

2. It pays to delay
Ever thought about what else is expensive? It is losing our income when we are unwell. Realistically, this is 3-5 years of sustaining our living expenses, family needs, and long-term rehabilitation costs. Without payouts from critical illness coverage, we would be draining not only our savings but those of our loved ones.

3. We buy coverage with our health
Granted, critical illnesses typically occur later in life so why buy insurance in our youth? That is because good health makes us insurable. It gets trickier when medical conditions pop up over the years so we should avoid that.

You might have just begun building your career and pursuing your life goals. The last thing that should happen is watching these derailed by an unexpected medical crisis. While health is on your side, I urge you to speak to a trusted consultant to plan for your critical illness coverage, because your life is worth it.

Grace Lim
Financial Services Consultant

With Cryptocurrencies grabbing all of the media headlines, what are they and how will they affect me?

With Cryptocurrencies grabbing all of the media headlines, what are they and how will they affect me?

With Cryptocurrencies grabbing all of the media headlines, what are they and how will they affect me?
Cryptocurrencies (Crypto) are digital, decentralized currencies without a central governing body. Crypto was believed by fanatics to be the future of currency and would coexist with traditional fiat currencies such as USD and SGD.

Crypto has increased in value at an unprecedented rate. For example, Bitcoin (BTC) had an average annual return of 1,576% from 2010 to 2021. Compared to Apple stock with an average return of 35.54% from 2010 to 2021.

But 2022 is the year of Crypto Winter, where the overall value of Crypto came crashing down. Due to factors such as the Fed’s interest rate hikes, increasing rates of inflation, and the Ukraine war, investors moved towards safer instruments such as bonds. Recently, the fall of LUNA and FTX made many lose confidence in Crypto. Even BTC lost 65% of its value.

Crypto, unlike stocks, lacks fundamentals and is usually not backed by significant assets. For example, Apple stock is relatively more stable because Apple as a company has assets such as iPhones, which through sales transactions fulfill a want for human beings.

While some Crypto coins have differentiating features such as Ethereum, providing a service called Smart Contracts, allowing participants to transact with each other without a trusted central authority, it is not widely used due to its complexity. Crypto is also not widely used as a currency, unlike USD/SGD due to its extreme volatility. See “El Salvador“.

Because no one can determine if Crypto would reach widespread adoption or if it’s just another bubble, I advise my clients to either avoid crypto or allocate a maximum of 5% of their portfolio into Crypto due to the extreme volatility and the chance of their deposit going to 0. Also, please do not forget the password of your Crypto Wallet!

This article is not financial advice, do your due diligence!

  • Crypto was thought by many to eventually co-exist with normal fiat currencies
  • The value of Crypto Skyrocketed from 2010-2021
  • However, due to events in 2022, investor confidence in Crypto fell and its value plummeted
  • I advise my clients to allocate a maximum of 5% of their portfolio into crypto or avoid it altogether

Bryan Cheong
Financial Services Consultant

Engaging your Financial Services Consultant, the Ins and Outs

Engaging your Financial Services Consultant, the Ins and Outs

Get Recommendations or Referrals from friends
Find out their Advisory Process
Trust your Gut

Before engaging in any long term relationships you would definitely want to find someone that you can work best with. Here are the top things to note when working with a Financial Services Consultant.

Firstly, try to talk to friends or family that already have a Financial Services Consultant, as they would have worked with the Financial Services Consultant for a while and would know whether they are reliable. Working with someone that you mutually know, would definitely help to filter off the more sleazy and shady advisors.

Secondly, during the first meeting with the Financial Services Consultant, take note of their advisory process as it is a tell-tale sign if the advisor is there to just push a product onto you or whether they are there to help. A proper process would include a Cash Flow Analysis, Portfolio Review and discussion on Future Goals. If the Financial Services Consultant is trying to sell you a product in the first 15 mins of your conversation, you should get ready to run!

Lastly, but probably the most important point is to Trust your Gut. During your 1st, 2nd or 3rd appointment, you should feel comfortable and definitely not suspicious. Ensure that expectations are aligned and that the characteristics of the Financial Services Consultant are something you can connect with – transparency, knowledge, and capability are things you should be looking out for.

In summary, be specific with who you engage in by setting certain criteria before deciding on the right Financial Services Consultant for you.

Benjamin Ng
Financial Services Consultant