The Year of the Chicken brings about an increasingly turbulent world following the dramatic US Presidential elections, casting light on the view that a new world order is set to be in place. Already, we witness the sliding of currencies, usually a see-saw situation, notably in the Malaysian Ringgit which has witnessed a volatile year of fluctuations.
As the financial markets seek to establish a new equilibrium in the coming year, here are some personal financial tips to usher in the Lunar New Year.
#1 The rooster loves to be at the centre of attention with its cockadooling but that spells bad news for your bank account.
Chinese New Year is the festive period of reuniting with family and relatives through reunion dinners, which sometimes spiral into a table of comparisons with regards to educational qualifications, social status and materialistic possessions.
As Will Smith once quoted Will Rogers, a famous American performer in the 1930s, in his biography, he said, “Too many people spend money they haven’t earned to buy things they don’t want to impress people they don’t like.”
This quote couldn’t be more apt for the upcoming festive season – at least for the first part. Seedly helps to monitor your personal expenses through a convenient mobile app, tracking your spending habits.
#2 As the saying goes, it’s unwise to put all your eggs in one basket.
As I have written in an earlier article, diversification is the key to a stable portfolio in light of a busy schedule where one is unable to monitor the portfolio on a daily or weekly basis.
A monthly checkup of your investments is not as time-consuming but can be just as effective to building your retirement nest in the long run.
Alternatively, you could consider investing in indexes, such as The Straits Times Index (STI) Exchange Traded Fund, which is essentially a basket of stocks from the Top 30 best-performing companies on the Singapore Stock Exchange.
Unlike a unit trust which requires active management, the STI ETF allows people short on time, unsure of which stocks to pick or would like to start small, to start investing with a small capital.
#3 The hen sits on her eggs until they’re ready to hatch.
More often than not, investors often close their positions early for fear of their trades unable to hit a targeted profit level. Regret is likely to follow soon after should the trade hit that targeted level, though it can be argued that relief could also come should the trade fail to do so.
Regardless of either outcome, there is one thing for sure – one cannot predict the outcome of a trade accurately, or predict in sure terms what the market is trying to do.
Of course, one is needed to do the required homework before purchasing stocks, with the exception of index funds and ETFs.
#4 The rooster crows at approximately the same time every morning.
A National Geographic study found that roosters know that it’s daybreak even when placed in a darkened room – which went on to augment the hypothesis that their internal clocks alerted them to the time.
Likewise, making a habit out of regular reviews of your personal financial statements, and understanding the levels of your debt, is beneficial to achieving your long-term goals of financial freedom.
Habits that prevent impulsive spending, occurring most often after receiving a windfall (ie. winning a lottery or receiving angpaos), can also be nurtured the same way.
#5 2017 may be the Year of the Trump-Rooster
Shortly after Trump’s win in the U.S. Presidential elections, several memes and spoofs of the impending US President began to sprout online, most notably a chicken with a hairstyle closely resembling that of Trump. (The picture can be found in this link.)
If you’re invested in the financial markets, 2017 looks to be a turbulent period with US interest rate hikes expected in the coming months. Trump’s pro-business policies, along with his protectionist sentiments of keeping jobs in the US, are likely to add to the turmoil.
With US looking reluctant to assume its once staunch stand of being a free trade advocate, analysts have looked towards China, as well as Russia and other emerging markets, to fill the gap left by the US as witnessed by Trump’s declaration of scuttling the Trans-Pacific Pact (TPP) on Day One of his presidency.
As dark clouds hover dimming prospects of seeing signs of recovery in the sluggish Singapore economy, it may be wise to keep that big purchase off the cards for a bit – at least until the second half of the year.
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