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ICYMI: All The Tips & Tricks We Learned From Seedly’s Personal Finance Festival

SingSaver team

SingSaver team

Last updated 15 April, 2021

After a hiatus in 2020 due to COVID-19, Seedly’s Personal Finance Festival is back with a bang in 2021. Here’s a highlight reel from the keynotes and panels - all jam-packed with financial knowledge.

Believe it or not, personal finance is an integral part of our everyday lives. Whether it’s spending smart or saving big, managing your finances is paramount to helping you achieve various life goals. 

To that end, Singaporeans are a savvy bunch, even topping the Asia-Pacific region in Mastercard’s 2015 financial literacy index.

Fortunately, things haven’t changed much since. In 2019, personal finance platform Seedly hosted a sellout crowd at its first Personal Finance Festival. Keynote speakers included MoneyOwl’s Executive Director Christopher Tan and The Fifth Person’s Co-Founder Victor Chng. Sadly, the 2020 edition could not be held due to COVID-19.

This year, Seedly aimed to make up for it in a big way. Although the festival was fully digital, there were two stages plus multiple workshops and booths. They even managed to bring in industry heavyweights like ARK Invest’s Catherine Wood and ESSEC Asia-Pacific Associate Professor Dr. Jamus Lim?

Reheat your cockles because here’s the full highlight reel of everything that went down at Seedly Personal Finance Festival 2021!

Alternatively, jump straight to the section you’re interested in: 

Disruptive Innovation As An Investment Theme For 2021 And Beyond

Speakers: Catherine D. Wood (Founder, CEO & CIO, ARK Investment Management LLC), Darius Foo (Head of Intermediary Business Development, Nikko Asset Management), & Kenneth Lou (Co-Founder & CEO, Seedly)

Undoubtedly the most anticipated session of the day, Cathie Wood took to the (digital) stage with an inspiring presentation on the future of innovation. Here are the key takeaways from her sharing, along with input from Darius and Kenneth. 

#1 Disruptive innovation is exploding  

Cathie Wood starts off with the question all of us might be wondering: Why invest in disruptive innovation now

The response? It (disruptive innovation) is exploding. 

She shares that there are five innovation platforms evolving at the same time today. This is something that has never happened in history. 

These five innovation platforms are: 

  • Blockchain technology
  • DNA Sequencing
  • Robotics
  • Energy Storage 
  • Artificial Intelligence

These platforms will involve 14 different technologies and will scale exponentially in the next five to ten years. 

#2 This 2021, get on the right side of change

ARK Invest’s thoughts on 2021 would be that it’s going to become more obvious these five platforms are transforming the world. These innovation platforms can also converge. Electric vehicle companies for example, merge artificial intelligence and robotics.

This will be highlighted by the dramatic growth from each of these five platforms. 

For example, ARK expects 40 million electric cars sold in the next five years, up from 2.2 million sold last year. This represents a whopping 82% CAGR. This will account for almost half of the cars sold in the world and take almost half the market share away from gas-powered vehicles, leading to disappointment in the traditional auto-sector.

Those five years begin right now in 2021.

#3 Striving to double returns 

“Thank you, next.” 

Darius shared that for ARK portfolios, Cathie’s main investment thesis is that once the company has lost its ability to double - or more than double - its share price in the next three to five years, it will be removed from the portfolio. That’s one awesome differentiator about ARK since its funds are actively managed for the most part.

This stems from ARK’s research being centered around Wright’s Law: For every cumulative doubling in the number of units produced in a new technology, cost declines at a consistent rate.  

2020 was a huge exception as this doubling occurred in a single year. Darius also shared that this is encouraging for the next five years as he believes that a crazy market correction is very unlikely to happen during this period of time. 

#4 If you believe in the fund thesis, it could be for you

According to Darius, he believes that ARK portfolios do show strong potential. Remember, they aren’t static and underperforming constituents can be given the boot. Besides the five innovation platforms, there is also quantum computing, virtual reality, and solar energy which could be introduced into the portfolio in the coming year. 

However, Darius does mention that this fund also has the ability to give you a mini heart attack. It is definitely not a call for you to sell your house or all your assets in order to invest in the fund. Do make sense of what the portfolio weightage should be in your own overall portfolio. 

#5 Investing should be a habit for us all

Finally, Darius impressed the online audience with his little magic trick, sharing that with a HABIT, even when you lose a bit of it (tearing away the H), you will still have ABIT (tearing away the A), followed by BIT (tearing away the B) and you’ll finally have IT.

And when you have a habit, it always has an interesting way of coming back. Yes, for those that tuned in, his originally torn-up piece of paper with only IT, re-appeared as another sheet with the entire word HABIT on it.

Want to adopt an investing habit? Here’s how to get started:
Best Brokerage Accounts To Start Your Investment Journey In Singapore
7 Websites & Blogs For Your Stock Market News Fix
Investing In Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs): A Newbie’s Guide To Getting Started

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Outlook Of Singapore's Economy: Navigating The Market For 2021

Speaker: Dr. Jamus Lim (Associate Professor of Economics, ESSEC Asia-Pacific)

#1 Recovery from COVID-19 is still uncertain

To kick us off, Dr. Lim answered a question that’s on everyone’s minds right now. He said that every economy will recover at a different rate due to vaccination programmes being implemented at varying paces. Additionally, fiscal levers have already been exhausted by governments worldwide and interest rates at this point of time are still low.

Furthermore, confusion is present among the general population because fears of deflation that were just there half a year ago are now replaced by that of inflation. In his opinion, he feels that this is misplaced and cites the United Kingdom’s stable inflation rate throughout 2020 despite experiencing Brexit and multiple COVID-19 waves. This is true for the EU as well.

#2 Globalisation is slowing, but...

Dr. Lim believes that this will still happen, especially regarding the exchange of knowledge and flow of information. Although migratory flows have collapsed due to COVID-19, he feels that nodes of activity will form regionally rather than the widespread global exchanges of old. He cited how this has actually occurred several decades ago. Examples of nodes forming in the future would be in North America and another in Western Europe.

In his opinion, Singapore can ride on this potential wave of nodalisation by becoming more ASEAN-centric and via SMEs themselves boosting productivity through process and product innovation.

#3 Singapore still has room to grow after recovering

Speaking about Singapore, Dr. Lim said that Singapore’s economy is similar to what other high-income nations are currently experiencing right now. High growth rates of 7-8% aren’t realistic right now, but maintaining stability is key.

His opinion is that it’s important for firms in Singapore to expand their entrepreneurial abilities and grow regionally. Greater R&D efforts are also needed in order for these companies to drive recovery and thrive in a post-COVID-19 world.

#4 Investors have to embrace diversification

A lot of the valuation has been centered on growth stocks and tech stocks in the US. However, he argued that as the rest of the economy catches up, investors would want to pay attention to other areas that have not traditionally performed as well. Geographical diversification into markets like Europe and emerging Asian markets could pay off.

Investors can also think about a movement away from growth and large cap firms into the more traditional, value-oriented, and small to mid-cap firms. This market rotation has already begun and investors could profit from this trend. Finally, he cautions that the yield curve is steepening, especially since March 2021. However, markets are not in a multi-year or multi-decade bond bear just yet.

Want a piece of Singapore’s economy? Here’s how:
SPDR STI ETF vs Nikko AM STI ETF: A Comparison In A Jiffy
CPF Investment Scheme (CPFIS): Guide To Investing With Your CPF
Best ETFs In Singapore For Tracking Stocks, Bonds And REITs

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Market Outlook: Economic Outlook On China And The US Market

Speakers: Dora Seow (Country Head, Franklin Templeton) and Stephen Tong (Client Portfolio Manager, Franklin Templeton Investment Solutions)

Photo: Seedly

Dora captivated the audience with her presentation and earned plaudits from the boisterous livestream chat. Here are some of the insights she shared during the presentation. 

#1 Today’s superpower is the US

The US is undoubtedly the superpower today. It's not just about economic relations, but other factors such as defense (both internal and external). This is something the US has accomplished via its military prowess and commitment to allies across the world. The previous administration’s policies and diplomacy have kept China in check as well.

The US prides itself on information flows, championing anti-opaqueness. It’s one of the most efficient markets because of  its information flows. Its stock market has the ability to find equilibrium too, which is difficult; China will need time in order to replicate this.

#2 China has the potential to be tomorrow’s leader

Although today’s superpower is the US, China definitely has the capability to leapfrog the Land of the Free in due time. The first big indicator that Dora shared would be China’s GDP being projected to overtake the US’ in the next decade.

Secondly, digitalisation of currency is something to look out for. China is currently allowing residents to purchase a digital version of the renminbi. It isn’t created from any algorithm or backed by a private entity, but rather, China’s central bank. This will accelerate the number of assets owned by the yuan worldwide once China allows overseas investors to purchase it. It’s a friendly currency that will be taken on hugely, and will accelerate the already rapid growth of China. 

Lastly, China will open up their economy. China is looking to liberalise in many ways, but it can’t afford to do so in such a hasty manner.

#3 Volatility is here to stay

There is too much money out there in the markets right now. Additionally, there is too much tension globally as a result of friction between the US and China. All this contributes to the volatility we see in the markets today.

Take a look to see if you have a diversified enough portfolio. Are you able to weather the storm?

However, what’s most important is staying invested. There will continue to be volatility and we could even see a further increase in volatility in the markets. You must be able to weather the storms.

#4 China or US? How about both? 

Photo: Seedly

It’s not always US versus China. Rather, think about them going hand-in-hand. 

They need each other in order to succeed and their economies are still dependent on one another even at this point in time. Other economies on the fringes of this tug-of-war also stand to gain. For example, Asia will stand to benefit with China coming back strong from the pandemic

These days, there’s a lot of FOMO (fear of missing out) when investing. However, FOMO goes both ways. To pick the single best winner time after time, with the right market timing, is hard, and nearly impossible even for professionals. 

The advice given by Stephen is diversification. As boring as diversification might sound, it allows you to diversify your portfolio to include not just in one winner, but a few winners that you have conviction in. Stephen recommends having exposure to both the US and China in your portfolio to achieve a well-diversified portfolio that allows you to sleep at night. 

Finally, Stephen shared that the secret sauce to investing, is the power of compounding. This alludes to starting your investing journey as soon as possible in order to grow your wealth. 

No matter who you see coming out on top, here’s how you can take advantage of both markets right now:
Alibaba, Tencent & Xiaomi: Are Their Stocks The Best Ways To Invest In The Chinese Market?
Finding The Value In Value Investing: A Guide
Best US Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) To Invest In (2021)

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Your Stock Pick Of The Year 2021

Speakers: Paul Chew (Head of Research, Phillip Securities Research) and You Weiren (CFA, Manager, Stocks & ETFs Research, iFAST Singapore). Moderated by Yeap Ming Feng (Head of Marketing, Seedly).

Photo: Seedly

#1 The importance of ETFs

Both panelists discussed broader trends such as the thriving tech and semiconductor industries. When it came to actual stock selection however, they took a cautious approach and highlighted the importance of including Exchange Traded Trusts (ETFs) in a portfolio. ETFs provide diversification at low cost, also allowing you to gain access into the wider market. 

#2 Expose your portfolio to tech stocks, while also limiting your exposure to high risks

Weiren shared that he’s a fan of tech stocks, and he believes in their long term potential. He emphasises that technology goes beyond the tech stocks that we know of, such as Facebook, Google, and Tesla. It’s more far-reaching and has the ability to disrupt the global landscape. 

He suggested that investors have some exposure to tech stocks in their portfolios, rather than assume that it is only reserved for experienced investors. However, high risk assets such as cryptocurrencies or stocks with high volatility should be limited to about 10-20% of our portfolio. 

#3 Singapore market lacks the breadth 

Singapore is strong for two main types of stocks: those with high yield (dividends), and value stocks. However, there are limited options within the Singapore equity market and it also lacks liquidity. 

#4 Stock picks for 2021

Now for the question all viewers were waiting for. What are the stocks (or ETFs) that investors should pick for 2021?

Weiren shared the following ETFs and stock picks. 

  • iShares Global Financials ETF to tap on the growth in financials
  • STI ETF for exposure to the three Singapore banks
  • iShares Hang Seng TECH ETF that’s listed on the Hong Kong Exchange or the Lion-OCBC Securities Hang Seng TECH ETF on the SGX to get exposure to Chinese tech stocks 
  • Alibaba, a stock that has strong fundamentals, balance sheet and valuations that have become too cheap to ignore. In recent times, Alibaba’s share price has been beaten down substantially.

Paul shared that instead of Tesla's stocks, he would rather buy the semiconductor stocks that will benefit instead from the rise of EVs. He also brought up two local companies listed on the SGX. 

  • PropNex and HRNet. Both of which are unique because they are  asset-light and provide high returns. They also stand out with the amount of cash on their balance sheet as well as the lack of capital required. This allows them to continue to pay you high dividends and also give high return on equity, while holding large market shares in their respective fields.  
  • iX Biopharma, a specialty pharmaceutical company

Making your own stock picks for 2021? Here are a few handy resources:
7 Websites & Blogs For Your Stock Market News Fix
8 Hottest Stocks From Beauty And Fashion Companies To Invest In Right Now
Straits Times Index: Top Blue-Chip Companies (And What They Do)

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Is Cryptocurrency A Fad Or The Future Of Money?

Speakers: Liu Tianwei (CEO & Co-Founder, Xfers), Eric Anziani (COO, & Jeremy Ng (Managing Director, APAC, Gemini). Moderated by Joel Koh (Content Strategist, Seedly)

Needless to say, cryptocurrencies and the technology that they’re based on are well on their way to transforming how we transact and invest. Here’s what these industry experts had to share during their panel discussion.

#1 There’s still much room for cryptocurrency to grow

Currently, there are 100 million crypto users worldwide. However, that’s just less than 2% of the world’s population.

This proves that the cryptocurrency industry is still in its nascent stages. However, it has been gaining traction in recent months, especially as financial institutions like Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan begin to adopt it.

#2 It’s the gold of the future

Stablecoin status has been the holy grail of the cryptocurrency industry.

However, questions to answer when the time comes would be whether a central bank should be the one issuing a cryptocurrency, or whether private entities should be the ones issuing it.

#3 Cryptocurrency is definitely not a fad

This should be glaringly clear by now, but the panelists drove home the point by highlighting several more pieces of evidence.

Firstly, they mentioned that cryptocurrencies currently have a US$2 trillion (S$2.7 trillion) market cap. Having an asset class of this size disappear overnight is near impossible.

Secondly, Tianwei said that it’s not a novel concept for companies wanting to accept cryptocurrency as a form of payment. However, the adoption by established firms such as Visa and PayPal will help to accelerate mainstream usage of this newfangled currency.

#4 Neither is it a scam

Panelists also shared why they believe that cryptocurrencies are far from being a scam. Firstly, they reminded viewers that cryptocurrency is a young asset class. It was brought to life just over a decade ago, hence the volatility. This will decrease as it matures and as more institutional investors take notice of it.

Secondly, platform risk is present. They cited the recent Torque Trading scam as an example and reminded investors to do their due diligence and utilise platforms and exchanges that are certified.

If you’re looking to diversify your portfolio beyond the usual asset classes, take a gander at these too:
Non-Fungible Tokens (NFT): What They Are And How People Are Making Money Off Them
6 Alternative Investments To Diversify Your Portfolio
5 Best Sustainable Investments In Singapore

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How Saving S$11 A day Can Make You A Millionaire

Speaker: Adam Wong (Editor-in-Chief, The Fifth Person)

Photo: Seedly

Let’s start with a fun fact: All of us will earn a million dollars in our lifetime. Based on the median income from work in Singapore of S$4,534, if we all work for 20 years, we will earn S$1.088 million (S$4,534 x 12 x 20).

But a million might not be sufficient for financial freedom in Singapore. Beyond our own work earnings of S$1 million, here’s another way to make yourself a millionaire, starting with saving a small sum a day.

#1 Save S$11 a day

Set aside S$11 a day — which is just about the price of a double McSpicy® Upsized Extra Value Meal.

If you save S$11 a day, that’s equivalent to S$4,015 a year. Assuming you save this amount for 40 years, you’ll get S$160,000. Yes, this is hardly an impressive sum and it sure isn’t million dollars.

Simply put, you’re not going to become a millionaire simply based on savings alone. So, what should you invest in?

Fixed deposits? Nah. Bonds? Nada. While they are low risk, they provide low returns, hardly close to your million dollar target.

What about gold? Adam pointed out that gold isn’t the most productive asset. Unlike productive assets like bonds and stocks that give you more income through dividends and interest returns, gold simply sits there.

So if it’s not gold, what next?

#2 Consider starting right here on the Singapore Exchange

You can invest by picking stocks, picking companies that you believe in.

However, picking stocks takes time. Instead of a single stock, you can invest in a stock index — essentially a basket of stocks that seeks to track an index. In Singapore, the Straits Times Index (STI) comprises the top 30 companies listed on the SGX. You can invest in the STI ETF, an ETF that tracks the STI.

Unfortunately, the STI ETF will only get your S$160,000 to S$642,044 — not quite a million yet.

#3 Look beyond Singapore, invest in the US

In the US, the S&P 500 ETF comprises the top companies in the world. These companies could be the ones behind the products that you use every single day. Examples include Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, Visa, Procter & Gamble, Coca-Cola and more.

Adam calculated that if you were to invest in the S&P 500 every single year, you can ultimately get to your million dollar mark based on the historical returns.

#4 Discipline, patience and persistence

Finally, investing in the S&P 500 sounds simple on paper.

However, it requires discipline to save S$11 a day for decades, and to consistently invest your money into the S&P 500. You also require patience to stay invested, through the peaks and trough in the market, in order for your money to compound over the long term and reap returns.

Articles to start reading as you embark on your save-S$11-a-day journey:
Uniquely Singaporean Things We Do To Accumulate Wealth
Regular Savings Plan (RSP): What They Are And The Best Ones To Invest In
DBS, SIA & Sheng Siong: Beginner’s Guide To Blue Chip Stocks In Singapore

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What Type of Insurance Do Young Adults Really Need?

Speaker: Christopher Tan (CEO, Providend Ltd)

Christopher shared candidly about insurance and its role in your life. You’ll quickly notice a running theme throughout his keynote. If you’re wondering, no, he’s not advocating that you rack up a huge annual premium.

#1 Insurance should never bog down your wealth accumulation plan

Christopher shared that your wealth accumulation plan is the star of the show to grow your current assets, whereas insurance simply supports it.

Insurance is your lifeline in the event that you lose your income due to death, disability, or a medical crisis. Wealth accumulation should be first and foremost on your mind and over-insuring yourself will only slow your progress.

#2 You don’t need really a whole life policy

According to Christopher, a term life plan is the most affordable way to be fully covered.

He reiterated that the purpose of insurance is to be protected against income loss, and that it isn’t a way for you to accumulate wealth - although agents package it that way. A term life plan protects you much more affordability than a whole life policy.

He also reminded viewers that you don’t have to buy a term life plan just to invest the money you end up saving.

#3 Buy as much as you need, but pay as little as you can

This mantra that was shared by Christopher ties in with his belief in a term life plan rather than a whole life policy. He expanded on this by saying that insurance should not cover you for life, but rather, when income is no longer an issue. This is usually the case when you retire and your dependents no longer need you to provide for them.

#4 Cover yourself in the smartest way possible

In the event of a medical crisis, however, you’ll need to worry about both a loss of income and increased medical expenses. That jeopardises your current assets and will throw a spanner in the works, delaying your retirement or other financial goals.

Christopher said that sufficient coverage for medical expenses is needed no matter your age. These include hospitalisation fees and hospital care, which are covered via an Integrated Shield plan that you can pay via Medisave.

Get yourself educated on the types of insurance you need with these articles:
Buy Term, Invest the Rest (BTIR): The Complete Pros And Cons Breakdown
Whole Life Insurance: Reasons Why People Choose It Over Term Life
Personal Accident vs Life & Medical Insurance: What You Need to Know

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What Does the Future Of Insurance Look Like?

Speakers: Peter Tay (CDO, NTUC Income), Walter De Oude (CEO, SingLife) and Henry Sewell, Country Manager, SingSaver. Moderated by Kenneth Lou (Co-Founder & CEO, Seedly).

Photo: Seedly

#1 More purchases made online

There is a huge increase in people looking for information online, especially as insurance products continue to evolve. People can find out more about policies via personal finance platforms and purchase them online. Insurers who hop online quickly will be the ones taking the bigger share of the pie.

Therefore, traditional insurers can no longer ignore the digital space and will continue to accelerate their entry into it. Peter mentioned that the challenge is how insurers can take advantage of having these multiple channels to serve consumers.

#2 Consumers can now self-serve

Buy the policies you need and make the adjustments you need. You’re no longer entirely reliant on your financial advisor to help you out. You can apply for your claims easily online and use individual insurance platforms to get an overview of the policies you’ve purchased.

There’s also no shortage of insurance information and knowledge that’s made easily understandable for an everyday consumer. Henry mentions that it’s important to take the time to educate yourself since there are platforms like SingSaver and Seedly. This is especially so because insurance is constantly evolving.

(Psst, you can find a trove of insurance articles here.)

#3 Embedding insurance into consumers’ lifestyle

Currently, there is a new focus on integrating insurance with one’s lifestyle, blending the traditional insurance model with digital platforms. These pay-as-you-go insurance plans are extremely cheap, lowering the barrier to entry for new consumers and reimagining insurance.

An example would be NTUC Income’s own SNACK micro-insurance product.

Henry also brought up an important point, saying that people purchase insurance hoping never to make a claim. It’s there for you to allow you to essentially lead life risk-free.

#4 People still need (and want) advice

Kenneth asked the question on the agency model of the insurance industry and whether it’s one that will get replaced in the future. The panelists shared that ultimately, some people will still want someone to talk to, while others might prefer to do-it-yourself (DIY) and use platforms like SingSaver to research and purchase. Some might like a mix of both, sometimes with the help of an advisor, sometimes without.

This is nicely summed up by Walter’s belief that the advisory model will always be there, no matter the form it takes.

Purchase your own insurance plans completely online one you feel ready:
Best Personal Accident Insurance Plans In Singapore (2021)
Home Insurance Promotions And Discounts To Protect Your Home
Best Maid Insurance Promotions and Discounts

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Sandwich Generation & Common Mistakes They Commit

Speakers: He Ruiming (Co-Founder, The Woke Salaryman) and Goh Wei Choon, Co-Founder, The Woke Salaryman. Moderated by Tan Xue Miao (Content Strategist, Seedly).

Photo: Seedly

What is the sandwich generation? Think of this visually:

  • Sandwich bread: Parents
  • Patty: You
  • Sandwich bread: Children

You are essentially squashed in-between the financial demands of having to look after both your parents, as well as your children.

So why is there this problem of the sandwich generation?

Wei Choon shared that the problem of the sandwich generation is a global issue. However, here in Asia, it hits harder with filial piety adding that extra layer of complexity.

Ruiming highlighted the fact that we’re all living longer lives and the retirement age continues to get older. Our parents are living longer these days compared to older generations, while incomes haven’t been as stable as well due to more jobs becoming obsolete.

#1 YOLO as a problem

There are a lot of mistakes Singaporeans might make and having a YOLO (you only live once) approach is one of them. 

Wei Choon points out that YOLO is a potentially harmful and disruptive mindset. Chances are that you’re not going to get hit by a bus or struck by lightning tomorrow. So, statistically, you should be more prudent with your money.

#2 Confusing income for wealth

Another mistake, as pointed out by Ruiming, is confusing income for wealth. We should not confuse income as wealth.

A high salary does not mean that you are wealthy. For example, you shouldn’t be thinking that your current, non-extravagant lifestyle is beneath you, now that you earn this much.

You need to look at your net worth as a whole because it provides a more holistic view. For example, you shouldn’t be purchasing a house that’s way out of your means, leaving you without enough to invest.

#3 Passion might have to take a backseat

Money is important, but you have to remember the why.

Wei Choon mentions multiple times that you might have to sell-out first in order to chase the ultimate goal that you have in mind. This grants you a much-needed financial cushion in the initial stages of pursuing your passion.

Ruiming mentions following Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. To pursue your passion straight out of university is a dream. However, your passion might not be the way for you to achieve financial freedom. You have to know yourself and your finances, and this could mean making sacrifices early on in your career.

You should also try to maximise your earning power. For example, forgoing high income for stability could be a big mistake.

Once you have enough financial cushion, this will allow you to do what you want to do in the future. Wei Choon gave an example of how he wanted to be an animator, but had to make do with marketing jobs early on before getting to where he is today.

#4 Consider that giving allowance might be a love language

Maybe your parents have their retirement finances sorted out and might not need the money you give them each month. But to show your appreciation and love for them, perhaps giving them an allowance is one way to show it.

Communication might also be difficult in Asian families. However, it’s important that you let your parents know that their decisions could affect yours.

#5 Generational problem

The generation above you is pressing down on you already and there are no easy ways to solve the sandwich generation issue. What you can do is to prepare, or shift your mindset, to aim for longer term satisfaction rather than to enjoy immediate luxury. Responsible child-planning on your end plays a big part too.

It might not be your fault that you have to take care of your parents financially now. However, you can be the difference for the generation below you. Once you have this mindset settled, your kids will not be burdened with having to give you allowance for your retirement.

This brings us to the final point, which was one that clearly resonated strongly with the audience, as seen from the many emojis flying across the screen: The most noble thing to do, is to ensure that your kids do not get stuck in a sandwich generation.

Help yourself to better financial shape in the new norm, with SingSaver's all-new Ultimate Savings Guide! Got your free copy yet?

Striving to make better financial decisions this year? Here’s how you can ease into it:
How To Build The Best Passive Income Portfolio For Your Future Self
How Much Do You Really Need For Your Dream Retirement Lifestyle
Financial Health Check: Do You Know Your Debt Asset Ratio?

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Financial Tips For Parents In Singapore

Timothy Ho (Co-Founder & Managing Editor, DollarsAndSense)

Photo: Seedly

As both a parent and founder of a personal finance platform, Timothy has a few tips and tricks up his sleeve for parents-to-be.

#1 Don’t forget your own retirement plans

Raising a child is a serious financial commitment and one final thing you can do to ensure their happiness would be to secure your own retirement.

There’s nothing wrong at all with seeking out your children for emotional and physical support when you’re older, but relying on them financially when they’re independent won’t leave a good taste in anyone’s mouth.

#2 Save, save, save

Timothy shared that there’s no set amount to strive for as you’re saving up to have a child.

However, several indicators that you’re ready would be having an emergency fund of up to one year your annual income and a current positive cash flow. You can also save by using hand-me-downs or purchasing secondhand items for the little ones.

#3 Don’t let your emotions take control

When left alone, almost everyone is financially prudent. However, the stress of having children may lead to poor financial decisions in order to save time or boost comfort. These can include hiring a helper you can’t afford or purchasing a car when you know it’ll stem your cash flow.

#4 Start early

Whether it’s saving up before you make the plunge with your partner, or setting up your child’s education fund, it’s good to start early.

For the former, start saving up as soon as the two of you are certain that you’d like to start a family. This eases your monthly financial burden and prevents you from being stuck in unsavoury situations when your child is born.

Starting a family is far from easy. Here’s how you can make things a bit easier:
7 Things To Consider When Buying Endowment Plans For Your Kids
A Guide To Maternity Insurance For Mums-To-Be (And Panicky Dads-To-Be)
How To Save Money On Maternity Costs In Singapore

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Robo Wars: Choosing The Best Robo-Advisors In Singapore

Speakers: Dhruv Arora (Founder & CEO, Syfe), Samuel Rhee (Founding Partner, Chairman & CIO, Endowus), Amanda Ong (Country Manager, Stashaway) and Kelvin Goh (Head, Wealth Advisory, OCBC Bank)

Photo: Seedly

Moderated by Kenneth Lou, Co-Founder and CEO of Seedly, this ‘robo wars’ by Seedly has almost become an annual feature. This year, in the third edition, it features a speaker from a traditional bank, OCBC, for the first time, rather than sticking only to robo-advisor heavyweights.

#1 2020 was a fantastic year for robo-advisors

Both StashAway and Syfe shared that 2020 was a great year, in terms of account openings and returns. Even after the dip in 2020, anyone that stayed invested would have seen the strong returns.

Similarly, OCBC RoboInvest, a traditional bank that offers thematic portfolios, also saw impressive growth on its robo-advisory platform. Kelvin shared that OCBC has joined the fray because there was a need and demand in the market. He also mentioned that the performance of OCBC RoboInvest’s portfolios speak for themselves.

#2 Consider a core and satellite portfolio

Should you go with a single robo-advisor, or go with multiple robo-advisors?

Each robo-advisor has their own value proposition. They also have multiple different solutions for different purposes. For example, Endowus recently launched their ESG portfolio, Syfe has their REIT+ portfolio and OCBC RoboInvest offers various thematic portfolios.

These are all thematic portfolios that could act as ‘satellites’, complementing your main ‘core’ investment portfolio.

#3 Investors can still do-it-yourself (DIY)

Robo-advisors versus DIY-investing is a topic for discussion that can never die.

Sam mentioned that if you have the ability to do it, it is definitely something that you can consider. However, there are a lot of hidden costs that have to be factored in. Robo-advisors also offer additional support such as advice and unique solutions that are difficult to find.

Finally, there was also general consensus that the UI and platform offered by robo-advisors are things not to be overlooked.

#4 Which robo-advisor is your Avenger of choice?

To end the day on a lighter note, Kenneth asked this question, inspired by the Avengers: Which Avengers character best represents your robo-advisor?

StashAway: Dr Strange. He went through millions of possibilities to find one where the Avengers beat Thanos. This reminded Amanda of Freddy, StashAway’s Co-founder and CIO.

Syfe: Wakanda forever. Learning from previous black panthers, Syfe also takes learnings from previous data in order to make a better version of themselves with each passing day.

Endowus: Captain America. Endowus is all about the long term and who’s more enduring than Captain America?

OCBC RoboInvest: Hawkeye. He’s an underrated character, but he did his part and has multiple arrows, just like OCBC’s thematic portfolios.

At the end of the day, we’re all fighting against Thanos — the fees and the difficulty to start investing — and robos are here to help.

Get started on your robo journey here:
Best Robo Advisors To Auto-Pilot Your Investments In Singapore
Best Cash Management Accounts In Singapore To Soup Up Your Savings
Dollar-Cost-Averaging vs Lump Sum Investing In Singapore: Which Should You Choose?

If you’ve missed the Seedly Personal Finance Festival, this article should have given a pretty good summary of what went down. And if you’re feeling ultra-motivated to get your finances in check, you can download SingSaver’s Ultimate Savings Guide To COVID-19 And Beyond below!

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