Overcoming 3 Financial Issues That Young Singaporeans Face

We encounter several new hurdles as young adults. We no longer receive a daily allowance from our parents and we have to pay the bills. Not to mention, our financial capabilities are seemingly low at the start of our careers.

On that note, here are three financial issues that young Singaporeans face and ways to overcome each one…

ISSUE #1: LACK OF FINANCIAL KNOWLEDGE

We cannot deny the fact that personal finance is rarely taught in schools. According to Kevin Gallegos, a consumer finance expert at Freedom Financial Network, the Millennials’ crying need for more financial literacy cannot be overstated. It is never too late! Financial literacy is something you shape through conscious effort, much like learning how to write.

Image Credits: pixabay.com

Image Credits: pixabay.com

Young adults must take the initiative to educate themselves about the important topics surround money. These topics include budgeting monthly expenses, saving for retirement, and managing student loans. Following an online resource like MoneyDigest.sg or MoneySENSE.gov.sg can provide the foundation for you to learn the basics.

ISSUE #2: HAVING A LOW INCOME

Unless you are an heir to a successful company, the start of your career marks the time when your finances will be stretched. Having a low income impacts your ability to fulfill your primary needs such as food and shelter. Proper allocation of funds can help improve your situation.

Young Singaporeans shall distinguish between the needs and wants. If your income is not sufficient to address your primary needs then, you may consider taking a part-time job or freelance projects. Alternatively, you may eliminate unhealthy (and costly) lifestyle choices such as smoking. Imagine how much cash you will exhaust in a week if the price of a package of Marlboro cigarettes is about S$13!

ISSUE #3: CONFUSION BETWEEN SAVING AND INVESTING

Young adults are often experiencing a mix up between saving and investing. The idea behind it is similar, but the “mechanics” are different. Both involves the act of setting money aside for future use. The former is allocated after meeting your fixed and variable expenses. While, the latter is allocated if you want to grow your savings. Maintaining a realistic balance between these two is crucial for wealth cultivation.

Do not be afraid to read about investing as the power of compound interest works in your favor at the present time.

Image Credits: pixabay.com

Image Credits: pixabay.com

To conquer the challenges that young adults face, they must educate themselves about personal finance. This will help them manage their spending habits, repayment of student loans, and so on. This is a great start to your financial journey.

May you have the confidence to overcome each financial issue ahead!

Sources: 1 & 2

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Are You Spending Your Money Properly?

No matter how abundant or scarce your money is, spending it wisely shall be your top priority. It not only enables you to get the most out of your dollar but it also allows you to make life-changing decisions.

Determining the reasons behind your spending is the first step to knowing whether your money is allocated properly or not. Are you spending your money on the latest gadget by Samsung because you need it or because you want it?

There is usually a conflict in differentiating between needs and wants. Perhaps, the confusion is due to our subjective definitions of the two terms. Let us take Cheng Ling as an example.

Cheng Ling values the perceptions of others toward her and her daughter. Since her daughter is starting a new school year, she bought her two new pairs of shoes.

She argues that she does not want her daughter to feel embarrassed by wearing the same shoe she wore last school year. Although the last year’s pair is still in mint condition, she bought another pair of shoes to prevent repetitions.

Do you think Cheng Ling’s purchases are necessary in this scenario? Or, was it a matter of personal desire?

Examine your purchases in this manner along with these helpful queries:

“Will this purchase make my life easier and more efficient?”
“Will this purchase provide a lasting pleasure?”
“Will this purchase be meaningful to my life?”
“Is this something I will use regularly?”
“Is this something I can afford?”
“Is the potential gains from this item realistic?”

Carefully assess all these questions and the interplaying factors that can influence your decisions. If your response to all these questions is “YES” then, by all means, make the purchase!

Aside from distinguishing between your needs and wants, you must sort out your “essentials” first. When I say essentials, I pertain to the fixed expenses that you encounter every month. This includes your groceries, utility bills, and school fees. Plan your spending before you receive your paycheck.

Some people spend their hard-earned money like most lottery winners. They get a huge pile of cash now and spend it all in a snap! Remember that wealth is accumulated over time and not something that you can earn overnight.

Image Credits: pixabay.com

Image Credits: pixabay.com

At the end the day, it all boils down to the decisions you make!

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How to Thrive in the World’s Most Expensive City

Singapore CBD Merlion

It’s common for Singaporeans to complain about the rising costs in this country, especially when Singapore has stayed on the charts for world’s most expensive city two years in a row. You can even call it a favourite pastime of residents and foreigners living here.

While it’s amazing how we’ve growth so much in a short span of time, it’s also taking a toll on us mere mortals, who can only dream about being one of the countless millionaires choosing to live here. We work hard, but it seems like we’re not going to see much increase in salary or bonuses in the year to come.

Still, it’s not impossible to save money in Singapore. The SingSaver team recently pulled together tips that have worked for us and published them in a free eBook, “100 Ways to Save Money in Singapore”. From shopping to dining out to general tips, we’ve covered every aspect of typical expenses the average Singaporean has.

Here’s an excerpt from their eBook:

  1. Know Where to Save

Stuffing your money in a pillow is as good as losing it. Due to the inflation rate (about 3% per annum in Singapore), your cash is worth less each year.

Always compare the different rates between fixed deposits, or products such as Singapore Savings Bonds (SSBs), before deciding where to store your money. You will want the highest interest possible for your deposit. Speak to a financial advisor about the best options, as they change on an almost weekly basis.

  1. Keep the Expense Ratio Below 40%

Your expense ratio is your necessary expenditures compared to your monthly income.

For example: say you earn S$3,000 a month. You have to pay at least S$300 a month toward utility bills, your phone line, loan repayments, etc. Your expense ratio is thus 10% (S$300 / S$3,000).

You should put a freeze on expenditures that raise your expense ratio above 40%.

  1. Pay with an Optimised Credit Card

Dining with friends? Pick a credit card with the best rewards or cashback for the restaurant, then place the entire bill on it. After that, collect your friends’ shares in cash. Because the card is giving you a discount in some form (cashback, more reward points, vouchers, etc.), you will usually save money.

 

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There’s a lot more where that came from. If you want to save more or just want to cut down on your expenses, this guide will help you. Well, it’s definitely helped us.

Download your free copy of “100 Ways to Save Money in Singapore” here.

(This is a guest post by SingSaver.)

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Smart, Simple, and Swift Ways To Save Money Now

Would you rather spend your six minutes to check the latest gossip on Facebook, to stalk the recent celebrity updates on Instagram, or to save a decent amount of money?

The last choice proves to be healthy not only to your finances but also to your life in general.

So start allocating at least 6 minutes of every day to do 1 of these money-saving steps:

1. UNPLUG THE TELEVISION

Did you know that the electricity cost for households is 20.35 cents per kWh? Thus, the monthly cost of a 40″ LCD television (TV) running for 6 hours daily is about S$7.69.

In reality, you cannot maintain the energy consumption of the television constant due to social events. There may be days when you alone time with yourself the remote and other days when you want to go out with friends. Also, free previews during holidays can make you want to use the cable TV even more.

To keep the tariff into a minimum, it is important to switch off and unplug your TV when no one is watching. Instead of leaving the TV on as a background noise, consider your hand phone as a radio. This small daily acts can save you a whole month’s worth of major electricity.

2. LOOK FOR ONE EXPENSE TO ELIMINATE

Spend your 6 minutes by examining your last month’s utilities bill or last month’s credit card statement. Use your hawk eyes to look for one expense you can reduce or eliminate. Whether it is the unusable Yoga studio membership or the expensive dinners at the restaurants, there is a surefire way to cut and save!

For example:

Say you have different telecom provider for your hand phone, landline, and cable TV. Cut them all and save money by getting a promotional bundle from one provider.

3. ALTER AND FIX YOUR CLOTHING BY YOURSELF

Tailoring or sewing services in Singapore can range from S$5-40 depending on the type of clothing article. Some of the prices are too much if you asked me. You might as well buy a new one. Good thing there is a better and quicker option – altering clothes by yourself.

Instead of tossing away your favorite shirt because of several broken or missing buttons, sew new ones into the fabric one by one. Learning how to sew a button is quick and uncomplicated. The first thing you must do is to choose a suitable button and a matching thread. Then, be guided by this short video:

Aside from sewing buttons, master the basics stitches now by browsing through the free tutorial videos available online or by reading this post.

4. COMPILE THE BEST FINANCIAL RESOURCES ON THE WEB

Make a concise list of the premium financial resources on the Internet that are both free and objective. Upon making the list, subscribe to their email or Facebook notifications so you are constantly reminded of the money-saving tips, great deals, online coupon codes, and other financial news. Rather than using your personal email, it is advisable to make a separate email for this.

This simple step can save you money regularly in 6 minutes or less! Begin the list by including Money Digest and MoneySENSE (the national financial resource made by the government).

Image Credits: facebook.com/MoneyDigest

Image Credits: facebook.com/MoneyDigest

Sources: 1, 2, 3, & 4

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How Does One Become Bankrupt And How To Avoid It?

bankruptcy

According to the High Court, an individual becomes bankrupt if he or she owes at least S$10,000 and has no means to pay it.

Filing for bankruptcy can be done by the creditor or the debtor. A deposit of S$1,600 to the Official Assignee (OA) is required. The OA is the authority that is responsible for selling as many of your assets as possible to repay your creditors. Credit bureaus will display your bankruptcy date for five years after the date of discharge.

Aside from this, it is essential to note that there are assets that are protected by the creditors such as furniture, HDB flats, compensation awarded for legal actions, and life insurance policies.

The effect of bankruptcy does not only take a toll on your finances but also on other aspects of your life. For instance, there will be restrictions in travelling overseas and in looking for a job especially as a director of a company. Truly, it drastically affects your lifestyle, your career, and your relationships.

This is why it is important to avoid falling to this “black hole” by being financially knowledgable. To put it in perspective, here are 4 Ways To Prevent Bankruptcy…

  1. MANAGE YOUR DEBTS

First, be aware of how much your debts and assets total to. Include every billing statement, every document, loans, and mortgages you may have. Take immediate action when you notice that it is getting hard to pay for your debts.

  1. CUT DOWN YOUR EXPENSES

After seeing the bigger picture, it is time to cut down your expenses. Reduce the unnecessary expenses first such as designer bags or costly coffee beans. Then, add the minimum payments of your debts and the cost of your necessities to your monthly budget.

  1. SELL YOUR STUFF

To aid your budget, you must sell your unnecessary items among others. Selling whatever you can spare can help pay off your multiplying debts.

  1. SEEK HELP

Calculate the money that you need to prevent bankruptcy. Examine how much money you are able to get. Then, consider seeking help from your family and friends to make up for the difference. Yes! Asking your friends and family for money maybe a shady area but this situation is an exception.

If you still find it uncomfortable to seek their help then, consider hiring a professional (e.g., credit counseling agency or debt management  firm) to help you reduce your interest rates and penalties at friendly time frame.

debt

Image Credits: Images Money via Flickr

Sources: 1 & 2

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