Manage Time Planning and Achieving Financial Fitness in Singapore

With the increase in financial awareness, more and more financial adviser representatives are being recruited in Singapore. In fact, it is said there are more financial adviser representatives than doctors in Singapore. Yet, despite the increase in expertise, adults in Singapore are still confused over how financial planning works or even where to begin.The complex nature of financial planning means that everyone would require a financial plan tailor-made to suit their unique financial positions and circumstances. While it is impossible to do so with an article, we can give you the next best thing – an overview of the steps taken to become financially fit.Step 1: Settling DebtsFinancial planning is always complicated, so allow me to tell you a story to simplify this subject.Once upon a time, there was a guy named Jack. Jack lived in a condo in Singapore and decided to lend $1,000,000 to his friend, Jill, for 10 years in exchange for 1% interest per annum. Jill accepted the agreement and had to pay an additional $10,000 to Jack every year. At the end of the 10-year period, Jill had paid a total of $1,100,000 to Jack, which was $100,000 more than the amount she originally borrowed!Most bank loans in Singapore are made on a ‘per annum’ basis. This means that a percentage of the original amount owed – the principal – will be charged as interest at the end of each year. The good news is that some loans allow partial redemptions in which you pay off bigger chunks of the loan along the way when you get your bonus or receive windfalls. This way, it is possible to reduce the principal owed more quickly, which would then result in a reduction in interest charged. Do check with your lending bank(s) if the loans in question allow partial redemptions without penalty, and if any lock-in periods apply.Let’s take Jack and Jill’s case as an example.The original amount Jill borrowed from Jack is $1,000,000. Therefore, the principal Jill owed was $1,000,000. Let’s assume that Jill’s business took off and she made a profit of $710,000 one year later. Jill decided to set aside $510,000 to repay Jack. In this scenario, $10,000 of her money would be used to settle the one-year interest she owed Jack. The rest of the money – $500,000 – would be used to settle part of the principal Jill owed Jack.


As such, the principal Jill owed Jack would reduce from $1,000,000 to $500,000 ($1,000,000 – $500,000) and her interest payable per year was reduced to $5,000 (1% of $500,000).The same applies to your bank loans. The quicker you settle your debt, the less interest you have to pay. Hence, the first step of financial planning should always be to settle all debts as soon as possible so that you can start building and accumulating wealth.By the same token, avoid rolling over your credit card balance and avoid using unsecured credit lines. Many people unwittingly bleed financially from their over-reliance of easy credit.Step 2: Build a Safety NetOne of the reasons why financial planning is so complicated is because life is a series of wild cards.Car breakdowns, theft, layoffs, fire, flood, hospitalisation – there are a number of events that could hinder your plans to grow your wealth, for example, if you are planning to invest in fixed deposits or invest in real estate.These avenues are less flexible and you may not be able to access the funds locked up in them in the event of an emergency. Even if you are able to unlock them,you’d have to incur some form of financial penalty(or loss if, say, the property market is not in your favour).And that brings me back to the second step of planning for financial fitness – building a safety net.A safety net is a sum of readily available fund that is set aside specifically to cushion emergencies. As such, you should steer clear from using that fund, regardless of how much you want that new phone or what discounts the Great Singapore Sale is offering. Note that you may set aside another sum of money for entertainment purposes or for occasional splurging, but your safety net should be separated from these other funds.Health insurance is another safety net you need to consider. Medical bills are not getting any cheaper, and huge unforeseen medical bills have been known to wipe out entire savings, so do prepare, I mean, insure yourself adequately.Another issue you may wish to take note when planning for this step is that the amount needed for a safety net differs across individuals and families. Due to the fact that there are many incidents – such as layoffs, major illnesses or accidents – that halt your income, some financial experts state that your safety net should be able to cover your expenses for at least 6 months. Others, however, claim having a safety net that covers 2 months of expenses is plenty.Planning your finances with the help of a financial consultant can help you determine the amount you need to set aside for your safety net. While you’re talking to your financial consultant, you can also have them get you the appropriate life insurance or medical insurance to protect yourself and reduce your exposure to large medical bills.Step 3: Invest 10% to 20% of your incomeNaturally, investment plays an instrumental role in financial fitness in Singapore. Inclusive of their CPF contributions, readers from Singapore should consider investing a total of 10% to 20% of their monthly income to build their wealth.Why?The Canadian millionaire, Kevin O’Leary, said it best.”Here’s how I think of my money – as soldiers – I send them out to war every day. I want them to take prisoners and come home, so there are more of them.”- Kevin O’Leary, Founder of SoftKeyUnless you have already retired, you’d have a constant stream of income after settling your debts and creating your safety net. Keeping that constant stream of income in your bank would be like grounding your soldiers in your camp. While this strategy keeps your soldiers safe and prevents them from dying in the battlefield (I.e – losing money due to poor investment choices), it also restricts their ability to capture prisoners (I.e – earning money from good investment choices).


So what do you do if you are not familiar with investment strategies? How do you differentiate between a good investment choice and a poor one?You can always attend financial seminars in Singapore to educate yourself about investments and financial planning. Alternatively, you can engage an independent financial advisory firm to have key aspects of your wealth managed.”If I engage financial experts in Singapore to manage my investment portfolio, should I invest ALL of my income to maximise my profit?”No!Financial planning is important but life is more than just protecting your future self. It is also about living in the moment and enjoying life as it is. Investing all of your income, even after you paid for all your expenses, will deprive you of the joy of living in the present. As such, as a ballpark figure, investing 10% to 20% of your income might help keep you balanced while you build a fund to savour later. Nonetheless, to better identify a reasonable percentage specific to your situation, do contact your financial consultant to advise you.And that’s the gist of it.I wish you – my reader – good luck on your journey to financial fitness.Important: The information and opinions in this article are for general information purposes only. They should not be relied on as professional financial advice. Readers should seek independent financial advice that is customised to their specific financial objectives, situations & needs.

Planning for Long Weekends

WORK! WORK! WORK! We all are very much occupied from Monday to Friday while continuously working at our desk with full dedication. Do not spare time for ourselves even when we are at home, What all we do after such a long tiring work is to eat and take rest during weekends, subsequently prepare ourselves for another upcoming Monday with all the tiring work grind again for rest of the week.

Who doesn’t want a break from routine? Who doesn’t want a long weekend to enjoy with family/friends? Who does not want to rejuvenate so to face the tiring and routine lifestyle again in office?

Everyone wants a break from hectic routine. Everyone wants to have fun and relaxation without being tensed about work, meeting deadlines and stressed out due to the pressure of meeting expectations.

Pre Planning for Long Weekend Outing

But then again, while going for a long weekend, escaping from your daily routine comes with a price of planning and packing in advance.

Planning requires many things to be considered beforehand. What should I carry with me? What should I wear on the journey?

What kind of dress should I pack for the party, the dinner, and trip to explore the city?

There are many things, you have to plan to go for a long weekend outing.

Packing these kinds of stuff is not a difficult or tiring task; the difficult task is to decide.

It is to choose which garb to pack. Let us help you a little in this weary task.

Here are some ideas that you might want to consider for attires to be packed.

“Travel and change of place impart new vigour to the mind.” Travelling is something which we all love. But even during travel, we have to clinch what clothes we want to wear. As it is very much important for us to be comfortable even during travel. These are some of the garbs you might want to take a look to determine from.

Dress by default – You never want to dress up like a bum or a hobo to go on a journey. You won’t want to overdo your look, but you won’t even want to look like someone who just woke up from the bed.

Dress up comfortably- Dressing up comfortably is a must. You won’t want to wear your tight jeans for travelling. Wearing some trousers, joggers who have some room in them are ideal to wear for a journey. Wearing fitting t-shirts or shirts in which we feel tight is never comfortable to wear for an expedition. It would be best if you go with your loose tees to wear for a trip.

Use quality luggage – Luggage is a vital thing for your travel. You would always want a luggage which would keep your clothing safe, keep you organized and at last your luggage should be able to take thumping here and there and still protect your gadgets. Luggage should be easy to carry and light in weight.

Comfortable shoes – Wearing comfortable shoes is as crucial as wearing a comfortable attire. You can never expect to have a comfortable journey wearing your heels or wedges or even your many straps boots. Wearing sports shoes & sneakers is the best option to go with other than slippers/floaters. Both slippers and shoes would be very comfortable for you to wear and remove whenever you wish without doing much work.

Some travelling tips and tricks that’ll help you a lot -

Pack less: Do you really need six pairs of heels, an iron and 6 jeans? Travelling with the least luggage should be your goal. Take less and you’ll travel faster and easier if travelling by flight then even cheaper.
Learn a little: Learning a new language never hurts. So learn few words o the local language and have the courage to use them. Just a few words will go a long way; locals tend to warm to those who try communicating to them in their own tongue.
Hoodie: Always pack a hoodie in your luggage. Hooded tops make excellent travel garments, just slip up your hood to retreat from the world of noise and light when you want to sleep.
Bring your earplugs: If silence is golden, then ear plugs are worth their weight in platinum. For a long trip, invest in some good noise cancelling headphones. They are worth every penny to tune out a noisy road, snoring man or chattering people.
Pack reading stuff: Always pack some stuff that you can read on your long journey, be it a paperback or Kindle. Kindle are made for long travels, no more carrying heavy paperbacks, increasing your luggage weight and have many books to read.
Roll your clothes while packing rather than folding them.
Carry Sun glasses & Sun Screens to take care of yourselves from intense sun beams
Carry little extra cash: Always carry cash, while travelling. Not too much as it can get stolen and you’ll always have ATM to take out some cash. Carrying some cash is required as what if the ATM you go to stopped working or doesn’t have cash. So have some cash with you that you can use when necessary.
Keep balm / Mosquito repellent: Balm not only soothes your sore muscles after a lot of travelling but also works as an insect repellent, mosquito repellent is other must have in the travel.
Wake up early: Rise before sunrise, it’s a magical time for clicking photos due to soft diffused light. Have the best attractions to yourself while avoiding crowds.
Don’t feel embarrassed: Even if you do something embarrassing, don’t feel embarrassed. Laugh at yourself with others. Don’t be afraid if things are screwed up. You will definitely look like a fool while travelling to new places. But it’s worth enjoying every moment.
Take a lot of photos: Great photos are ultimate souvenirs. You meet those people once so capture with your camera in a form of photo.
Back up: Keep a backup of your documents like passport, driver’s license, etc. backup your files and photos of your computer on an external hard drive and online with some storage in the cloud. You never know when your laptop, wallet or luggage might get stolen.
Get lost: Write down the name of your hotel so you can catch a taxi back if needed, then just pick up a direction and start walking. Explore the place on your own. You’ll get to see how people live and work in different regions, the actual part of the town with your own eyes rather than other tourist or someone else’s eyes.
Eat local food: Going to a new place and not eating their local food, that’s absurd. Go, eat and explore their taste and delicacies.
Break out of your comfort zone: Go on a solo trip. Break out of your comfort zone, meet new people, interact with them, learn from them and make some lifetime memories.