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Many may consider millennials to be a generation of spendthrifts, but contrary to popular belief, they’re pretty shrewd about saving and planning for their future. In fact, Singapore’s millennials are the most savings-savvy generation.
And they save with clear goals in mind. Here, from starting a new family to planning an early retirement, three millennials share how they manage their finances to help turn their dreams into reality.
Supporting a family in style
Occupational therapist Leng Seng Tay, 28, recently tied the knot and plans to start a family soon. “We definitely want to have children, and I am already taking steps to save so I can provide them with a good lifestyle,” says Tay. For Tay, this means spending within his means and saving where he can. “A little bit of savings here and there can add up to be quite significant,” he says.
At an age at which many of his peers are also getting married, weddings have become a regular – not to mention potentially expensive – occurrence for Seng and his wife. The couple has set aside a special stash just for these nuptials. Seng also has an active social life and catches up with friends at least once or twice a fortnight. “I put aside some funds each month so I can spend freely without being stingy – especially if it’s for a special occasion,” he says.
To make his money work harder for him, Tay keeps his money in deposit accounts that offer high interest rates and uses credit cards that provide cash back on eligible transactions.
What’s more, with a new home to furnish, the newlyweds also have some big-ticket items on their must-have list. “Prioritising spending on big purchases can be tough,” says Seng. “But I steer clear of making impulse buys and always do thorough research and comparisons before proceeding.”
Planning and investing in social initiatives
Tiffany Goh, 32, always knew that there was more to life than working a nine-to-five job. A former brand manager, Goh is currently taking a sabbatical – a luxury she can afford thanks to careful financial planning and wise investment decisions over the years – to explore her aspiration of setting up a social enterprise.
Goh has been actively putting aside funds to pour into her dream business when it’s ready to launch. “I’ve been doing research and have a stash of money set aside for when the time is right,” she says. “In the meantime, I’m making full use of my sabbatical by teaching underprivileged children how to read. I’m also learning the ins and outs of running an organisation.”
Not having a background in finance hasn’t stopped Goh from investing her money. “I speak to people who are more knowledgeable than I am when it comes to investing in financial products,” she says. “I set deadlines for myself as well – so I know I’ll take action either to find out more or to actually commit to an investment. It also helps to speak to a good friend about it so they can help keep me accountable.”
This strategy has paid off for Goh, who has been able to successfully generate sustainable passive income.
Achieving financial freedom before 50
Retirement may be an uncommon conversation topic among her friends, but Samantha Ong, a 33-year-old engineer, already has plans to retire early. “I hope to be debt-free in 10 years, with a good investment portfolio and a net return of at least 10 per cent every year,” she says. “I’m saving based on that target and investing in conventional assets at the moment.”
Ong picked up the habit of prudent day-to-day spending from her parents, but she believes that financial planning is much more than just budgeting. “Budgeting is a good skill to have, but you’ll need to actually invest money to see results,” she says.
Ong puts money in fixed-deposit (FD) accounts for both local and foreign currencies. “FDs in foreign currencies usually offer a better return than Singaporean dollar accounts, so I divide my money between them,” she says. “Singapore Savings Bonds are good options as well.”
Any spare cash she has left Ong puts in the CPF special account, as it offers a much higher interest rate. “I used to buy shares and ETFs, but there are always ups and downs with those, so for now I’ve gone back to more conservative methods,” she says.
Ong reveals that she put this proper investment plan in place only recently. “I didn’t really think about retirement until I hit 30,” she says. “The game changer was when I started hanging out with older people in my workplace, who have a very different mindset when it comes to money. It was then that I realised that even if I start with only a small amount, I can still make that amount work harder for me.”
Millennials have a reputation for being confident, ambitious and achievement-oriented. And their approach to money and saving is no exception. With the right allocation of funds and solid financial planning, you, too, can achieve a healthy financial portfolio, grow your savings and work towards realising your goal.
Not sure where to begin? Get in touch and speak to our financial advisors; they can help you maximise your savings potential.
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Deposit Insurance Scheme
Singapore dollar deposits of non-bank depositors are insured by the Singapore Deposit Insurance Corporation, for up to S$75,000 in aggregate per depositor per Scheme member by law. Foreign currency deposits, dual currency investments, structured deposits and other investment products are not insured.