Coronavirus – Now what? How do we prepare for a similar crisis in the future?

If you’re like me, aka. Millennial, this will likely be the very first recession / depression like situation you’re about to experience. In the face of so much uncertainty, there is one thing I can tell you with absolute certainty:

This is not going to be the last recession-like situation you will walk through in your lifetime.

The world’s economy fluctuates in a surprisingly predictable manner – as predictable as the last rollercoaster ride you’ve taken. Recall that ride, that steep dive downwards, your body slicing through the air and the screams that seem to engulf everything else around you. Once the worst is over, you begin yet another slow climb upwards – to the next steep dive. And when that happens, it almost always catches you off guard. But as you ride it for the second time and the third time and the subsequent rides you take (assuming you’ve got the express tickets so you won’t have to wait all day long), you become used to it. The dives still take you through a chilling moment, but it no longer becomes a surprise.

The economy works in a similar fashion. It’s a rollercoaster ride.

Credits: LumenLearning.com

Long story short: there will be multiple good times (peak) and bad times (recession / contraction).

The real question is: How do we prepare ourselves for the peaks and recession such that we don’t take a nose-dive downwards and hit face-first onto the ground the second it dips into a recession?

Well, ask yourself what’s that one thing you need to have throughout the rollercoaster ride, no matter how many bumps and dives there are up ahead?

Your safety strap.

The safety harness / strap / guard is the thing which keeps you where you need to be through the ups and downs.

So what’s the equivalent of this safety harness which we can turn to in life to keep us where we need to be – snug, safe and happy – throughout the different stages of the economic cycle?

It’s simple: a sound, robust financial plan.

Side note: The esteemed work of a financial planner has been tarnished by the run-of -the-mill salesperson who makes a living shoving overpriced insurance plans down your throat. Fortunately, it’s becoming easier to distinguish a good financial planner from an insurance salesperson. From designations such as the credible Associate Wealth Planner (AWP) and the Certified Financial Planner (CFP), consumers like yourself would have a little more confidence in sifting out the bad eggs from the bunch. Have a listen to my podcast episode #1 at http://www.anchor.fm/womenwealthjourney to learn more about the three questions you can ask to interview your financial planner so you’re prepared to weed through the bad eggs and find a good financial planner for yourself.

Establishing a solid financial plan now will put you in a better place for the next recessions and peaks upcoming (or other financial setback).

Here’s a quick run down of what makes a good financial plan:

1. Good savings habit
2. Strategic allocation of income into investments, liquid savings, insurance, and others.
3. Ensures that risks and uncertainties are insured adequately
4. Long-term and short-term financial goals and life plans are taken into account and revised annually at the minimum.
5. A solid continuity plan for the next generation.

There’s a lot to be shared from this simple list of bullet points, and if you’d like to appoint me as your financial planner, you can always do so by booking a video call appointment with me via http://www.calendly.com/cherietanjy/initial

In the coming months, I will be sharing those bullet points in the form of online courses and webinars. Feel free to express your interest in these online videos and courses by dropping me an email at hello@cherietan.com or send me a DM via Instagram @cherietanjy

Five Common Financial Goals for Women

I’ve heard that it is challenging for many women (including myself) to know or even think about what targets we should be aiming for —like how much to save if we want to start a business or how much we’ll need to tide us through child-bearing and child-rearing years.

Using the #WomenWealthJourney methology and as an associate wealth planner (AWP,CFP), I provide my female clientele with a financial plan with recommendations for achieving and protecting each of financial goal of yours which we will identify and iron out together.

For each goal you choose, I provide recommendations for:


● Your goal target amount (how much you want for your goal) + safety nets to be implemented
● Your time horizon (when you want to achieve your goal)
● An amount to deposit when you fund your goal
● An ongoing amount to save toward your goal
● A tailored and customised wealth growth and preservation portfolio recommendation

Curious about these goals? Here are five common financial goals for women in Singapore:

GoalEstimated Target Amount & DescriptionDefault Investment Horizon
🏠 My Cozy HomeWe use the average price for a home of your choice (private / public housing) and apply the relevant loan rates and down-payments required, on top of the other factors to be considered: ABSD (if any), loan tenure, tenancy type, inflation, etc.)
With professional home loan experts and property agents, we will work together to identify and plan this goal of yours.
5 to 15 years / potentially longer.
👩‍💼 Start My Own Business 24 months of your salary minus taxes (your take-home pay) + 6-9 months of expenses as liquid savings (to serve as a buffer).
Inflation will be taken into account.
With a network of business strategists, you can be assured that you’ll be able to find the right business mentor to connect with.
5 years
👶 Kiddy KiddosCost of childbirth, hospitalisation stays, childbirth expenses.
Childcare costs, 24 months of your current salary (minus taxes).
Child education costs (up to local / overseas university) will be taken into account
Inflation will be taken into account.
5 to 20 years
👵 Retire on My Own TermsUsing the Income or Expenses method, we will project the retirement fund you need to continue living your expected lifestyle and retirement medical funds, retirement travel funds, and others.
Inflation will be taken into account. CPF retirement amounts and CPF plans will also be taken into account.
Your defined retirement age & statutory retirement age.
👛 Build & Preserve My WealthVaries depending upon your resources,
other goals, and goal priority
20 years or more
5 Common Financial Goals of Women in Singapore

These are five very real financial goals of women in Singapore.

Life is uncertain and being unprepared leaves women at the effect of, instead of being in control of their circumstances. It’s also common for women to be fearful about their future, especially when they’re unclear about their financial reality.

Perhaps fear is warranted among women considering some of the health statistics related to female-specific illnesses and rising divorce rates.

Put structure around your goals: As with any goal-setting process, writing down your goals is an important first step in planning for the future. Schedule an appointment with me to get started on your financial plans, or learn more about the #WomenWealthJourney here

Why Your Financial Advisor, Lawyer, and Doctor, Will Not Be A Robot In This Lifetime.

Medical and law students undergo a series of prolonged academic studies to achieve recognition of their capabilities and earn the respect of their peers and clients. Doctors and lawyers invest heavily in academics and education for the benefit of their clients and their work for their clients, in spite of the apparent threat from technology and, specifically, artificial intelligence.

What is law and medicine but a series of algorithms? Codified instructions, systematic procedures and diagnoses – ifs and thens. Sounds like a lot of computer programming, doesn’t it? It is no wonder then, to most people with little experience in the field of technology, that this should seem like a career-crushing monster looming in the corner of their minds.

However, in reality, we know nothing is ever the ideal situation. The medical and legal systems are just not as straightforward as coding. Just consider for a second the complicated state of justice and add the human factor into the mix, whether it be problems stemming from backlogged courts, overburdened doctors and swathes of disproportionately defendants (in the medical field, so seems the trend in 2019) accused of negligence or crime. It gets pretty ugly and complicated, because humans are involved.

The same applies to financial planning – the current state of technology is insufficient in providing quality advice that works for each distinct and unique human life. I concede that routine work can be taken on by machines. Many of the tasks that traditionally involved routine and process-based tasks, that do not call for judgement, creativity or empathy, will undoubtedly be replaced by technology.

The Human Aspect

I’m sure, by now, that we have all recognised that humans are outgunned by a combination of brute processing power, data, and unparalleled algorithms – things which a simple human mind and body cannot replicate.

We are witnessing the work of high-performing machines, beating the best humans at difficult games and predicting the decisions of court or a medical diagnosis or in identifying a financial gap.

These are remarkable systems and innovations, but they are also unthinking and unfeeling machines. These systems do not replicate human reasoning and thinking, critical in the legal, medical, and financial planning fields.

I am certain that human experts will always be needed for the tricky stuff that calls for judgment, creativity, and empathy.
Technology will replace a lot of doctors, lawyers, and financial planners, who’ve never done more than their routine work and who fail to embrace tailoring customised solutions that fit a client’s peculiar and unique needs (that are so necessary and so essential).

There is a distinct value in working with a professional financial advisor than simply counting on the robots we have today to handle our financial plans and financial journeys.
Yes, the argument could be made that robots will “eventually take over our jobs” as financial advisors, akin to the threats made to doctors and lawyers, but the real professionals in these fields would embrace technological advancements as a tool which complements and supports our work. Such technology will serve to remove the mundane processes and work systems that has traditionally curbed the time we have for our clients and value we can add to our clients.

Our inclination to believe that technology is going to “take over” our jobs is nothing but a brand positioning and marketing technique that leverages on the bubble and hype of the advances we are making as a human species.

This belief so easily persuades the millennial generation who are born into the era of technological advancements. This belief, as organised and as hyped as they are, is creaking.

Humans, without technology?

As humans working without technology, we are unaffordable and incredibly inefficient, and we often fail to deliver value evenly across our communities. Increased costs of healthcare, lack of access to justice, inadequacy of current personal financial planners and the failure of auditors to recognise and stop financial scandals from spiralling deeper are real problems, problems where technology can come in to aid and resolve.

Technology: An Enabler

By taking away imminent and real impediments in our systems, technology acts more as an enabler than the aforementioned looming giant in the corner, waiting to take over our jobs. It allows experienced and creative professionals to go one step further for their clients.

So in this lifetime, I’m pretty sure that your doctor, your lawyer, and your financial planner, are still going to be very much human and very heavily invested in their profession.

They will simply be a new breed of professionals who leverages on technology in order to give you more accurate results and detailed analyses in the most efficient manner possible.

The Value Of a CFP Certified Planner

I’m an advocate for on-going professional education and lifelong learning. As such, I’ve made it a point to dedicate a good part of my week investing in my education as a certified financial planner (CFP):

“CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER (CFP) professionals are trusted financial professionals who work with individuals and families to review all aspects of their financial affairs and recommend practical, easy-to-understand solutions for every life stage. FPSB’s research with more than 19,000 consumers worldwide showed:

  • Those who work with a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER professional feel more strongly confident about their financial situation than those managing their own finances or working with a different type of financial adviser.
  • Consumers who have a written, comprehensive plan are nearly three times more likely to feel strongly confident about achieving their life goals.”

More about the CFP: https://fpas.org.sg/cfp-certification/value-cfp-certification/

As a trained professional financial planner since 2018, every prospect I’ve met has had their financial portfolio successfully reviewed and restructured. I’ve busted many myths that insurance sales people, who have little to no professional training in financial education, share with them under the guise of a caring and competent advisor.

If you wish to speak about your financial plans, you may book your appointment with me via this calendar (click here). I look forward to meeting you.

Bad Money Habits That Are Leaving You in the Red

Do you find yourself running low on funds days or even weeks before your next payday? Spending money is so easy that it makes saving money seem hard. Taking a step back to assess your money habits can help identify and eradicate the bad ones that are causing you to have too much month at the end of your money.

Not Keeping Track of Your Spending and Expenses

Today, we spend money without even blinking an eye to the amount that we are paying. Just swipe your card or automate your payments to have fewer worries – instead, get one big surprise any time you check your bank balance. Small purchases will accumulate over time, so it’s best practice to keep track of all your spending either in writing or electronically – as long as it is an easily accessible and tangible record. This will help you plan your spending and ensure that it doesn’t get out of hand and take you by surprise at the end of the month.

Ignoring Your Budget

To successfully set a budget, you need to compare how much you earn with how much you spend. Setting a wild budget that doesn’t realistically cover your expenses will only set yourself up to fail and eventually ignore your budget completely. Firstly, set money aside to take care of your essential expenses – such as rent, transport, food – and then set aside savings for your retirement and emergency fund. From there, you can – and should – earmark a reasonable amount for the fun extras, such as the movies, shopping, or any other indulgences. Allocating for these three areas will give you a realistic budget to work with.

Relying on Your Credit Card

Credit cards are a good way to spend money, considering the merchant discounts, miles, points and rebates you earn. Many local banks even provide better interest rates to the savings account that is linked to your credit card. Despite the perks, it is important not to rely on your credit cards and overspend. If you find yourself using the credit cards to cover the last one or two weeks of the month to tide you over until the next paycheck, then we have a problem. Tapping your credit card is so easy and seamless that you accumulate debt faster than ever before. Hence, it is up to you to act quickly in your payments to avoid the high interest rates and killer late fees. There is nothing wrong with using credit cards but be sure to use them wisely.

Accumulating Excessive Debt

After you set money aside for your expenses, savings and fun extras, you need to look into your debt-to-income ratio: the ratio is achieved by dividing the total of all monthly debt payments by gross monthly income, giving you a percentage called the debt-to-income ratio. Find out how much your debt-to-income ratio is by clicking here & booking an appointment to speak with me.

Credit card bills and loans can be incredibly daunting and many of us do not want to face the truth. Dedicate some time to sort out all the debt you have – be thorough in noting down the amount, the terms of payment, and the incurred fees. Have a full understanding of the penalties if you put off paying your credit card debts or loans. Having the complete picture of your obligations will help you make wiser financial decisions.

Falling Behind on Your Payments

Falling behind on your credit card or loan payments can lead to a debt cycle that is difficult to get out of. For one thing, you are incurring late fees and other charges when you don’t make payment in time or in the minimum amount needed, hence, increasing your debt. Again, it’s daunting to look at the amount you owe every month, but fully understanding the consequences of late payments are key to kicking the bad habit. Tackle the late payments first, then address any spending, budgeting or income issues that have caused you to fall behind with your payments. Keep a reminder on your phone for important payment dates, and keep in mind the exact costs of late payments.

Not Setting Long-Term Financial Goals

Financial goals give you something to work towards. They should be attainable long-term goals such as home ownership, retirement fund, starting your own business, taking a course to upgrade your skills, or even an expensive vacation. Setting goals help you determine the necessary or unnecessary expenditures that take you further away from your desired goals.

Take time to make a financial plan to achieve these goals and review them each year so you can be sure that your spending matches your priorities. Book your appointment with me and I’ll be happy to work this out together with you.

Making Financial Decisions Out of Pressure

There may be social pressures beyond our control that affect our spending choices. It could range from purchasing a luxury item to keep up with trends and fashion, or making life decisions such as having a wedding or starting a family due to the behest of the parents.

When you feel cornered, you may not be considering all the options available to you and end up making a mistake or spending more than you should. You may not be ready to purchase big-ticket items or make life-changing decisions, so giving into pressure will not benefit you financially.

Make sure you make decisions based on your own timing, goals and needs.

Finding a good financial planner with the professional pre-requisites is not easy. Thankfully, you’re reading the blog which belongs to one.

As a certified Associate Wealth Planner gunning for her Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation, I’m one of the youngest candidates for this prestigious recognition in the field of Financial Planning. 💪

💋 Kiss goodbye to those days of pushy insurance sales reps and arrogant know-it-none’s! Click here to book your appointment with me.

The Kind of Holiday We Should Be Taking

Holidays and vacations are what we dream of most. It is the topic to bring up during water-cooler chats, and the kinds of images that fill up most of our Instagram feeds.

I’m continuously fascinated by how oblivious we allow ourselves to be, indulging in our fortunate circumstances that we are to live in this time and in this country, to be living the way we live, to then think and behave the way we do as a result. As I observe people around me, what I often see are comfortable, coddled children (including myself). A little hardship sends us on a downward spiral of discomfort and shame. A little criticism sees us firing away comments verbally or digitally, all to defend our perfect image, our pristine pride and dignity, because what right do they have to criticise our perfection and our blessed fortune?

Most of us don’t think about or worry about basic comforts:

  • Air-conditioned work spaces, restaurants, shopping malls, public transportation systems
  • Appliances that prepare our food and keep them from rotting, appliances that wash our clothes, appliances that heat up our water so we can shower ourselves in comfort
  • Widely available and super reliable public transportation systems
  • Food options that are made affordable (sacrificing on the fancy aspect of it, of course)
  • Toilet paper and sanitary pads.

You might have found the last point funny, but if you start wondering just how homeless women go through their periods, you’ll understand.

All of these are wonderful, as long as we remember to notice and appreciate them. But we often don’t. I often don’t either. So much of these things that we take for granted today were not made available just a decade or two ago, yet how often do we stop to appreciate what we have around us that is made available to us? Nearly every basic desire is available and increasingly affordable and convenient to get and use.

Some of us like myself have acquaintances of similar age groups spending ridiculous amounts dining out, eating fancy, dressing fancy, making purchases that encourages envy and garners them their much needed attention. It can make us feel that the most basic option for food and clothing shouldn’t be compromised, and that we ought to buy the best, the most expensive, the most lavish and most popular choices out there.

How often do we stand in awe of our clean, running water, our paved roads and infrastructure, our public transport system, our communication services, our air-conditioners, our washing machines, our $3.50SGD economy rice meals we could purchase from the hawker across the street?

How often do we think about what it takes to have a computer made available for us to use? How often do we stop and appreciate the clean air around us, the safety and security this country does a fantastic job at maintaining, the nearly-free education we as citizens gain access to?

Not often enough. And definitely not enough.

I’m ashamed I used to be blind to much of it, too busy with my life and my priorities to take a moment and appreciate just about everything I have access to. I felt entitled almost, without realising that I only have these made available to me because I struck the birth lottery: born at the right time, right country, to the right people, and circumstances.

While I’m pleased by my healthier life and financial choices now, and my awareness at just how amazing it is to have clean water made available to me in my home, I find that sometimes, I still need to work to maintain and sustain this level of awareness and attention towards just how fortunate my life is, how great things and services are here in this country, even when life throws me multiple lemons and curve balls.

In order to stay thankful, I go on a holiday.

Yes, you heard me right. I go on a freakin’ holiday.

No, not the kind where I fly to Bali and spend countless days at the beach consuming bucketloads of freshly pressed juice, dine a full vegan diet and yoga 24/7.

I meant a financial holiday.

Since I know humans tend to only yearn for warmth when the sun is gone, I take a holiday from using the things I’m used to using.

I take what I call a Money Holiday:

  • Instead of eating out, I prepare a basic peanut butter sandwich and two boiled eggs for lunch.
  • Substitute my favourite shampoo for a brand I can buy from the dollar store.
  • Stop “catching up over drinks”.
  • Completely wipe my shopping wish list of anything that costs beyond $20 per article (bags, shoes, clothes) and buying from the neighbourhood marts or thrift stores.
  • Taking cold showers instead of hot ones.
  • Not using my car.
  • Limit my grocery shopping to a select few necessities and spending less than $20 a week: bananas, eggs, bread, milk.

…and yes, even swapping out fancy 3-ply toilet paper for the cheapest stuff available as a reminder that my grandmother used to use pages from newspapers or scrap paper when she was a young girl.

A money holiday from frivolous items and 21st century luxuries keep me extremely grounded and frugal, reminding me that wealth is not meant to be spent away but to be accumulated, and that one can either look rich or be rich (health, wealth, happiness).

If you’re planning to take a money holiday, you’ll find yourself in an insanely uncomfortable position if you work obediently within your money holiday limits.

Remember, money buys options.

It buys you the luxury to mourn when your loved one is injured versus having to fret about money in despair, trying to figure out how the medical bills will be settled and by whom.

It buys you the luxury to come home and have a peaceful, simple meal with your children and wife when everyone else is scrambling to recover from a financial crisis.

It buys you the worry-free days, even when days can be worrying for everybody else.

Work with what you have, and then some (more).

Plenty of us have a day job. On occasion, you chance upon this certain group of people who seem to have it all – time, happiness, money, and fulfilment in what they do. You begin to wonder why you aren’t in a similar position as they are, and how you could achieve the same.


Side note:
No matter what your circumstances are, and despite your circumstances, you have all the opportunities to become a happy and fulfilled person, too. Perhaps you’re not born with a silver spoon, served lunch on a silver platter every day, neither do you drive a fancy car, but that’s okay. Soon, you’ll realise life is more than fancy cars and houses. I’ll probably pen this down in a blog post later, for now, let’s focus on today’s topic on working with what you have, and then some (more).


Passive & Active Income: You Need Both.

When I first started freelancing at the age of 14, I honestly had no idea what personal finance was nor had I the slightest clue about financial planning and the importance of it. This led to a series of pretty stupid choices, from spending too freely and lending money too readily, ultimately destroying my financial stability. Picking myself up again wasn’t all that difficult, but it took some time getting used to.

I began to understand the kind of power time has on each and every one of us, and how it can be used to benefit or harm ourselves now and in the long run.

One of the key things I felt most strongly about was the ability to create both passive and active income streams. Perhaps this urgency is stronger due to my personal experiences and the fact that I’m a woman. Having both flexibility and a comfortable income was something incredibly important to me and thus urgent for me to establish.

Create Multiple Income Streams for Security and Wealth

Imagine losing your day job. Your family might have some emergency savings to cover for the next five to nine months. Now imagine having multiple income streams to give you the means to keep you afloat for an additional year or so, perhaps more. Neither will you nor your family feel the acute stress of having to find ways to unplug that stream of income. It will also provide much more time to clear your mind and figure out the next steps in your career, instead of jumping into just any job that would offer some semblance of an income and stability. You could even enjoy your period of unemployment and focus on building your side businesses.

Book your appointment for a financial review: https://calendly.com/cherietanjy

Having multiple income streams in today’s world is key to financial security, but for many of us, it could well be the first time you’ll have to rely on investments and business income.

Currently, I’m building out two sources of income plus my full time job as a financial planner – an education business and an online health and wellness store. I’m considering adding a few more in the next year, too.

With that, let’s explore some possible passive and active income streams you should start tapping into to grow your income and achieve more.


Side note: As I grappled with my first month in a new career, I also learnt the importance of protecting my ability to earn and my future net worth, two topics I will be sharing in future posts.


Active Income: The Definition

Active income is earned by trading your time for money. As long as you find yourself spending more than an hour or two of your time per week on it, it is considered an active income stream.

Examples:

  • A salaried full-time job, or hourly work
  • A side business or gig, commissioned income (i.e. sales), or side hustle income.

Active Income: The Definition

Active income is earned by trading your time for money. As long as you find yourself spending more than an hour or two of your time per week on it, it is considered an active income stream.

Book your appointment for a financial review: https://calendly.com/cherietanjy

Examples:

  • A salaried full-time job, or hourly work:

    There is tranquility in having a full-time, salaried job. From employer CPF contributions into your CPF account (think free money for your retirement) to a full range of medical benefits and even intangible benefits such as having coworkers to socialise with and an easier access to industry-specific networking, a full-time job always has its upsides.
  • A side business or gig, commissioned income (i.e. sales), or side hustle income:

    A side business earns you income differently than full-time workers in that not only do you pay yourself a salary, but you also get to pocket the profits, which makes it a pretty sweet deal.

    Side hustle income includes money earned from driving Grab or GoJek, freelancing in your area of specialty (e.g social media marketing) via Zomwork, or tutoring students by taking on additional tuition classes via tuition agencies such as A1 Tuition Academy.

Passive Income: The Definition

This is the sweet spot we all hope to achieve. Passive income is earned by investing either an upfront amount of time and/or money into investments, income-generating assets, and business ideas that pay you even if you’re not working.

It should be noted that no income stream is 100% passive. It simply requires significantly less amount of time to monitor and manage depending on their different levels of passivity.

For example, a savings account that pays interest needs very little monitoring, while dividend stocks require a bit more attention. A rental unit may require an hour or two of your time per month, or several hours on some days going through legal or renovation works.

Examples:

  • Dividend income
    Dividend income is turning out to be one of my favorite income streams for the ease of administering and management on day-to-day (or sometimes, month-to-month). Moreover, income from dividends is far more predictable than market fluctuations.
  • Rental income
    As mentioned earlier, rental income is one of the most passive ways to earn a side income stream without having to do very much at all on a day to day basis. However, in order to have rental income, you would need a rather significant upfront capital to purchase properties (single or jointly).

    Side note:
    Most people turn to properties in Malaysia or United Kingdom for the affordability reason. However, don’t forget currency exchange risks and the additional management fees, plus air tickets or travel expenses should you need to visit your property for legal, management, or other purposes, all of which could add up pretty quickly in the long run and requiring much more of your time! Book your appointment for a financial review: https://calendly.com/cherietanjy

  • Royalties
    Artists, writers, and musicians can earn recurring passive income from royalties paid for the work they have created. This option does require effort upfront in creating these materials (e.g: a book or music album), but the effort pays off in the long run.
    Talent, level of success, recognition, and a sprinkle of luck are needed too, in determining how well this passive income option can be for you.
  • Investment products, investment-linked products, and various savings products from financial services companies
    Many financial products out there are designed to help you earn your income (in the long run) passively. Depending on your age and financial circumstances, there are products out there that would fit your needs and take that headache off your mind.

How many income streams is too much?

My advise would be to start with one and calibrate.

There are some of us who in many cases tend to overwhelm ourselves with too many options and too many side gigs. Take some time to analyze if that income stream is working out for you. Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  1. Am I turning a decent profit?
  2. Is this impacting my mental health in a good or bad way? Can my loved ones benefit or be harmed by this effect on my mental health?
  3. Is my physical health and emotional well-being positively or negatively impacted?
  4. Am I finding both financial and emotional fulfilment with this side income stream (passive or active)?
  5. Am I on the road to burning out, or will I just need to grind this one out for a couple of months and be able to minimize efforts while maintaining the income stream?
  6. How sustainable is this income stream in the long run?

Consider also the security, flexibility, and wealth creation opportunities this income stream would provide for you.

Book your appointment for a financial review: https://calendly.com/cherietanjy

Your family and financial outlook plays a lot into your decision. It would be good to review this with your spouse and a dedicated financial planner to help ascertain your readiness for taking on another income stream and the potential outcomes.


Secret to making it work? Accountability and Persistence.

The key to creating multiple income streams are two things: accountability and persistence. This is not a get rich quick scheme. In fact, most things in life are never a get rich quick scheme.

Getting started with the right mindset and approach is paramount. If you spend too much time ruminating or waiting, you’re losing out on time something you cannot earn back.

At a minimum, explore financial products with a dedicated financial planner and perhaps open a higher interest-bearing savings account, invest $100 in a stock ETF (Exchange Traded Fund), which are perfect for beginners and those who wish to get a head start in building passive income-generating assets.

Recalibrating your mindset and kicking old habits comes next. You’ll need to actively pull your brain away from being the typical consumer. Smarter money habits help you spend less and earn more. Think constantly about creating sustainable wealth, rather than what drinks you’ll be having next Friday night and the available hangover options the morning after.

When you begin to see each dollar and cent as an opportunity, a potential building block of your wealth, you’ll start to notice how you want to hold onto more of them and keep them safe.

“Earn more, spend less, invest the surplus, protect what you have and what you will own in the future.”

Use your primary source of income (for most of us, that’s our full time job) as the main driver while you slowly build supplemental income. Exceed expectations at your day job. Celebrate the bonuses, the raises, the commissions, but don’t spend them mindlessly or piss them away (literally 🍺🍺🍺)

More importantly, focus on one income stream at a time. Build something that is sustainable and works as either passive or secondary active stream, one at a time, instead of taking on too much at one go and burning out in the end.

Lastly, keep on building, creating, reinvesting, sustaining, and protecting what you have.

Book your appointment for a financial review: https://calendly.com/cherietanjy


Book your appointment for a financial review: https://calendly.com/cherietanjy

Your Retirement Strategy & The Case of a Marathon Runner

At a tender age of ten, my physical education (P.E) instructor at the public, neighbourhood school I attended, would scream at the top of his lungs as we struggled to complete the entire obstacle course,

“BEGIN WITH THE END IN MIND,”

Our feeble attempts were in vain. Most of us, myself included, collapsed by the side of the running track, desperately gasping for air. I sat clutching the side of my stomach, resisting the urge to throw up.

The end in mind for me was to complete the entire course.

No matter how many times I fell over, stopped to catch my breath, steady the unbearable churning in my stomach and attempt to swallow the hot acid sitting at the back of my throat, I was determined to get to the finish line alive and live to brag about it.

This is a story I enjoy sharing with my clients when I broach the topic of retirement planning and retirement strategy.

Whatever we’re doing right now, time isn’t going to stop and wait for us. It keeps moving ahead, waiting for nothing and no one. All the obstacles and challenges, all the distractions in life make tempting reasons to blissfully ignore the fact that we are all going to approach this one common goal that lies ahead of us: retirement.

What we choose to do right now, today, this month, this year, is inevitably going to impact how well we’re going to live in our retirement years.

We could choose to wait, for we might feel there are more important, up and coming challenges to address.

Challenges and obstacles we can see immediately ahead of us can be incredibly distracting.

A sprinter would think of giving his all for those ten precious seconds, while a marathon runner would decisively pace himself throughout the entire course, ensuring to preserve enough energy to complete the race well and alive, while exerting just enough to meet and conquer all the hurdles and obstructions and impediments that will come his way.

A marathon runner inherently knows and is always consciously aware that his progress will be impeded one way or another.

If he should exert too much energy at the beginning of the marathon in order to get ahead of some of his peers, he risks running out of strength to keep up his pace to complete the marathon.

By ignoring the importance of pacing himself throughout the run, and failing to effectively execute his pacing strategy, he knows that the likelihood of him ever completing the marathon would be much less than if he had a strategy and stuck with it until the end.

Our retirement is the end goal we should begin planning a strategy for as soon as we receive that very first paycheck. That paycheck acts as the whistle that slices through the deafening silence at the beginning of any marathon, telling you it’s time you give your very best shot.

What is your retirement strategy like and how are you with executing it?

Book your appointment for a financial review: https://calendly.com/cherietanjy

3 Ways Women can Protect and Maintain a Standard of Living

As more career-driven and purpose-driven women are actively joining the workforce, there is a need to recognise the fundamental disparity between what women will need over their lifetimes due to women’s longer lives, time out of the workforce to raise families and common female-specific illnesses prevalent in today’s society.

What all this means is that women need to think about their financial goals and plans differently than men. Here are 3 ways women can protect and maintain a standard of living they require:

Ensure that you are adequately insured

When it comes to insurance, it is easy to assume that by having an investment-linked policy (ILP) or a savings plan as “having adequate insurance” or “enough insurance”. A common misconception about having insurance is that having more than the average number of policies for a woman you age is “more than enough”. However, to truly decide if you are adequately covered as a woman, you will need to consider the following:

  1. Do you have enough coverage for an event of sudden death, or inability to continue employment for the rest of your life?
  2. In addition to point #1, do you have streams of income to support grandparents or children who are dependent on you for food and shelter?
  3. In an event of a female-specific illness, such as breast cancer, do you have enough to cover the huge medical costs you are about to incur?
  4. In addition to point #3, do you then also have streams of income to support grandparents or children who are dependent on you, while you’re recuperating and recovering, and unable to work for a period of time?
  5. Do you know the in’s and out’s of your hospitalisation insurance plan to make the best use of it, ensuring a comfortable hospitalisation stay without worrying about racking up those bills?
  6. Do you have protection against injuries incurred due to accidents, such as losing a limb or suffering from burns?
  7. In addition to point #6, do you know if your hospitalisation plan covers adequate outpatient medical bills to treat your injuries which you suffered from accidents?

As you transition through different life phases (finding a new job, getting married, having children, losing a parent, divorce, etc.) you will need to speak with your financial advisor to review your protection needs and make any necessary adjustments to ensure that you are not under-insured or over-paying for protection insurance based on your needs. Such protection and insurance review is encouraged to be done once per year with your trusted advisor.

To get a good idea on the costs of medical bills for common female-specific illnesses and surgical bill estimates, you can visit the Fee Benchmark and Bill Amount Information (Ministry of Health, Singapore)

Book your appointment for a financial review: https://calendly.com/cherietanjy


Ensure you have income streams planned for days after your desired retirement age.

All of us want comfortable retirement years spent happily with our grandchildren and traveling around the world. If you plan to stop working by a certain age and spend the remainder of your days exploring every corner of the world, you’ll need to decide how you’re going to support yourself throughout these years.

For some of us, we might be lucky enough to have both a place to live in and an investment property we can sell when we choose to retire, so we can use the proceeds from the sale of the investment property as the main retirement lifestyle funding source.

However, for the majority of Singaporeans, the house we live in is our one and only property. Options do include downgrading to a smaller, cheaper home, but you might find yourself still short of the minimum retirement amount you need to live the retirement lifestyle you want.

The first step to figuring out your retirement plan is to decide on:

  1. When you’d like to retire
  2. How much you want to/need to live on during your retirement years (calculate this on a per-year basis)
  3. And how many years of retirement you expect yourself to live through


Planning for retirement should start the moment you receive your first paycheck.

If you’re currently in your twenties:

you’re in the best time of your life to start saving, investing and planning for your retirement years. The more time you have ahead of you, the easier it becomes to set aside funds to start growing your retirement nest egg.

Have a partner or a spouse? Working on your financial plans at an early stage of your journey together can help ease a lot of obstacles along the way:

Planning to get married or just started settling down with a baby on the way? This is one of the most crucial times for you to sit down with your spouse or partner to tease out financial details and plan for your growing family.

Financial obstacles place a huge burden on couples, and it is one of the most common root problems to marital issues.

Book your appointment for a financial review: https://calendly.com/cherietanjy

My rule of thumb when it comes to marriage:


Plan early, get comfortable talking about money with your partner or spouse, figure out all possible forms of financial obstacles and how to get around them, before they hit you.



Review Your Current Financial Commitments

It’s always healthy to track our personal finances and financial commitments. Take the last weekend of each month to review your monthly expenditure, available savings, and existing mortgages or loans, and credit card debt.

Keeping track of all your current assets and liabilities, as well as your long-term liabilities, gives you a good idea on your financial health and how you can work out the budget for the upcoming months to ensure you stay on a healthy financial track.

Book your appointment for a financial review: https://calendly.com/cherietanjy

Tracking Expenses – Take Control of Your Finances

Tracking your expenses is a good habit, and it serves much more than simply having an overview of where your money’s going. It also helps you feel in control and indirectly reducing some of that financial stress you might currently be facing.

I help my clients with budgeting their monthly expenses, while keeping in mind their short and long term goals. This helps them stay on track and on top of their game, and serves as a benchmark at the end of each month.

Values and Information are meant for demonstration purposes only.

By creating financial awareness, you know where your money goes and how you’re spending it. Small daily expenses and indulging in seemingly insignificant bad money spending habits can blow your budget and impede you from ever reaching your financial goals in life.

It’s not anything uncommon when my clients tell me they don’t feel like they’re reaching any of their financial goals they’ve set for themselves. Without a good grasp of personal finance foundational concepts such as compound interest and without clarity of what it takes to achieve these goals, it’s incredibly easy for us to indulge in instant gratification.

Values and Information are meant for demonstration purposes only.
*ANB = Age Next Birthday. The age choice for retirement for this demonstration is 65 years old.

In my financial planning work, I make it a point to display my client’s financial goals as clearly as possible, detailing the timeline, goal to achieve, and which accounts are currently funding this goal.

Dashboards provide quick insights.

I like summarizing things.

Tracking expenses and looking out for blindspots in your personal finance planning may seem like a lot of work when you first begin, but you can make it as simple or complicated as you want to.

The easiest way to start is by identifying spending issues and spending priorities. Anyone can start building their wealth by having a tighter control of their spending habits and changing their money beliefs.

If you need access to my financial budgeting sheet, feel free to contact me.