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

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.