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.


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 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

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 or send me a DM via Instagram @cherietanjy

2020 is the Year to Start Being Retirement Ready

Why is this so important?

Retirement is EXPENSIVE.

Retirement = Housing + Healthcare + Food + Leisure + Taxes


The first – housing – being one of the most common ‘first-goals’ in every Singaporean’s life, is probably going to be the least of your concerns. The house that you have purchased in your mid thirties stands a 70% of becoming your retirement home i.e the home you will live in..until you go.

Chances are, you would have pledged a certain portion of your home to CPF in order to meet the CPF LIFE requirements for the basic annuity payout (what is this?! Book an appointment with me and I’ll explain this to you)

So it’s likely that your home situation would be more or less settled by your retirement years. Ideally, your retirement home is also retirement-friendly: amenities around the area makes it much more convenient for you to purchase groceries, accessible public transport to make traveling around the city much less of a hassle, and perhaps child-friendly amenities for your future grandchildren.
A HDB housing could set you (and your CPF) back easily by $500,000 SGD. Aim to pay off your loans (and loans from your CPF, which is equal to the capital amount PLUS interests you would have earned…) before you hit your fifties so that you will be better prepared for the other factors that make up retirement expenses!


One of the biggest expenditures in retirement years is healthcare. You and I both know how insanely expensive it can be to fall sick and stay sick here in Singapore. Common illnesses that never shook us in our youth could easily see us hospitalised for a good week when we’re older. Weaker immune systems and aging in general leaves us prone to a whole swathe of new viruses strains and bacterial infections.

Over-60s suffering more with chronic diseases than a decade ago: Study (Straits Times Article)

Healthcare costs in your retirement years commonly consists of emergency healthcare funds + long term care funds (disability / elderly care / etc) + major illnesses, which in totality can easily amount to $500,000SGD.

If you’re constantly making excuses why you should not set aside money (e.g: you’re currently “in debt” and paying off housing and car loans), then you’re going to wind up shooting yourself in the foot when you’re in your fifties and setting aside $500,000 SGD will seem even more a daunting task than it was in your thirties.

Food, Leisure

Retirement years are also the time where you can really kick back and relax a little more than you’ve ever had since you entered the working world. Spending money on food and leisure would easily set you back $3000 – $4000 a month, depending on the lifestyle you want for yourself.

Single elderly Singaporeans need $1,379 a month to meet basic living standard: Study

Just meeting the basic standard of living as a retiree couple would need $2351 SGD per month. Taking inflation of 2% per year and assuming you’re 30 years of age this year, this would be $4,701.74 SGD by the time you’re 65 years old.

$4,701.74 SGD

per month, for every year you’re alive after declaring that you’re retiring.

(I had to ensure this number is large and bolded and in-your-face)

The good news? How you’re going to ensure you have $4,701.74SGD EACH MONTH for the amount of years you’re going to live for is still within your control.

The bad news? You have to start now. Tossing aside 15%-20% of your current monthly income for your future retirement income is a good start (but only a start).

A sliver of hope resides in the fact that you can contact me to find retirement-ready options for you. Book your appointment with me by clicking here.


They don’t go away just because you’re old.

Taxes are one of the very few constants in our lives.❤️ Let’s embrace it (with proper tax planning in place – yes, you plan how you pay for your taxes as best you can, through a qualified financial advisor, like me (click))

As you can see, so long as you draw an income, you’ll have to pay taxes* If you’re shoving cash into your Supplementary Retirement Scheme (SRS) now (and hopefully doing something with the monies), the amount you’re withdrawing in your retirement is still treated as income and therefore taxable*

*some are exempted. Learn more by setting an appointment with me.


Plan now, AND start now. Your plans don’t get you anywhere until you execute them. Choose an advisor with the right qualifications, not someone with big ideas and an enticing brand marketing message. Your advisor’s there to give you the real, hard truth. It’s a rather thankless job, but I anticipate gifts and thank-you’s in my retirement years from clients I help today.

If you’re lost at how to get started on your own without an advisor, just think for a second how you’re going to get $4,701.74SGD EACH MONTH for the number of years you’re going to live for:

(Just, FYI, your children are do not form part of your retirement plan. They can be incredibly unreliable.)

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,


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: