When I was a child, my family ran into some financial difficulties, so money (or the lackthere of) was always a tense subject. Because I regularly worried about not having enough, I’d routinely collect coins and watch the pile grow. This made me become a saver by nature.
Now that I’m in my 20s, I’m constantly thinking about how to make more, save more and spend less all while living the luxurious lifestyle I know I was born to live. This spurred me on to sit down with Ritesh, Head of Investment Advisory at Syfe, a digital wealth manager that aims to democratise the investment world by making financial advice easily accessible for all, for an unflinchingly honest review of my financial health.
Ritesh gave me an assessment of my current financial state, cash flow, liabilities, net worth and savings. Even though I save a fair bit of my salary every month, I was still super nervous to hear what he had to say.
I make $4,500 to $5,500 every month.
|Entertainment (i.e. fitness)||$400|
|Dependents||$250 for parents|
|Misc (i.e. shopping)||$500|
Saving for a rainy day
Ritesh tells me that financial experts recommend saving at least 20 per cent of our salary, which according to a 2019 report by Syfe, is what 63 per cent of millennials do. After breaking down my monthly expenses, we determined that I’m doing well because I save 50 to 60 per cent of my salary every month—but I’m quite lucky because I don’t pay rent or have a mortgage.
Beyond the basics like food and transport, fitness is my other big expense. However, I think it’s something I can afford given how much I save. Plus, I started investing this year and have $5,000 into stocks that I plan to hold for the long-term.
He also advised that I should have at least three to six months of savings to cover emergencies such as job loss, sudden illness or any other life obstacle that may arise. I have approximately a year’s worth of expenses saved up, so I think I’m in a pretty good place.
Meeting my goals
One of my goals is to own a condo by 30. Ritesh tells me that the average cost of a unit is currently $1.2 million, but it could rise to $1.5 million in six years when accounting for inflation. He also helped me to quantify how much savings and investments I would need to achieve this rather lofty goal.
While he didn’t say that it’s impossible to reach my goal, he said that it’d be “difficult” and told me that aiming to own a HDB at 35 would be more realistic. But he added that my savings is pretty healthy and encouraged me to make smart investments to help me meet my goals.
I also aim to retire relatively young, so Ritesh played with variables to show me how much money I would need to invest now to achieve various income levels upon retirement.
Ritesh’s assessment of my finances? I’m in a relatively healthy financial state but could do with investing on a more consistent basis.
Prior to my review, I had been really anxious to find out how I fared, but once the session started, I realised how helpful it was to have someone show me how to achieve my goals. You shouldn’t be afraid to go for a check-up—your finances may not be as bad as you think, and if they could be better, Syfe’s advisors are there to provide you with strategies to improve it.
“The best financial advice I’ve ever received is to save as much as possible as early as possible.” says Ritesh. “This gives you the power of compounding interest, which helps you receive greater returns over time. It is also important to be disciplined with your investments, and to build a diversified portfolio.”
After all, you work for your money, so why not also let it work for you?
Text: Claire Soong