Youths: Your Ultimate Personal Finance Guide (15 - 35 Years Old)
There are soooo many things I wish I’d known while growing up.
For one, I wish that we were taught the importance of personal finance in school.
It’s basically the know-how behind how to manage our money, and it’s something we’ll need to know how to do every step of our lives.
In fact, having the right personal finance skills is really important if you want to meet your financial goals in life.
And the sooner you start planning, the more beneficial it is for you.
Winning at the personal finance game shouldn’t be difficult.
And that’s why we’ve created this ultimate guide for you to help you take charge of your own financial decisions!
The Seedly Money Framework: Youth Edition
Here at Seedly, we’ve created the Seedly Money Framework which is a simple guide to help Singaporeans on their personal finance journey.
But we know that it could still be daunting for some of you.
So… we’ve created The Seedly Money Framework: Youth Edition to simplify it even more and make it more relatable to youths.
The framework is broken down into three different levels.
And includes two other segments, which are applicable regardless of which level you’re at.
This is a sponsored post written in collaboration with Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) and National Youth Council (NYC) to develop a framework for youths to access their financial well-being and have ways to evaluate their habits and make better financial choices.
This is an introduction to personal finance.
In other words, this is for you if you’re a complete personal finance noob.
Understand Your Monthly Cash Flow
To kickstart your personal finance journey, one important basic knowledge to have is to understand your monthly cash flow.
What does cash flow mean?
As its name suggests, cash flow is fluid, meaning there are both inputs and outputs.
Input would be your monthly allowance (or salary for some of you who are working part-time) or the earnings from the sale of your clothes on the secondhand market.
Output would be you spending money on a brand new pair of sneakers or your favourite bubble tea.
How Do You Figure out Your Cash Flow?
Refer to your latest 3 months’ worth of bank and card (if you already have one) transactions to determine how much is going in and out of your bank account.
FYI: if you work part-time, your monthly CPF contributions are also considered as part of your monthly cash flow!
Keeping track of this means that you’re building awareness of your financial health.
You could use an Excel sheet to help you or a simpler way is to just use the FREE Seedly App to track your expenses.
If you’re a National Serviceman Full-Time (NSF), you’ll be getting an NS allowance.
To help you figure out what to do with that, you can refer to this comprehensive guide to get your personal finances in shape while you’re training to be soldiers!
Even if you don’t have much now.
It’s still very important to know where and how you’re spending your money.
By tracking your expenses, you can better control your expenditure.
Your expenditure can be categorised into either fixed or variable expenses.
And the biggest fixed expense that you have to contend with is probably the furthering of your tertiary studies.
If you’re planning to get your diploma:
- Is It Cheaper to Get to University Through JC or Poly?
- Which Polytechnic Is Best and How Much Do You Have to Pay?
- Which Diploma Gives You the Highest Salary?
If you’re heading to university:
- Scholarships You Should Know About Before Applying for University
- Which Degree Is the Best Investment?
And here’re some resources on student loans and repayments:
- Student Loans: Should You Take up the MOE Tuition Loan From Banks or Use Your Parents’ CPF?
- All You Need to Know About Tuition Fee Loan for University
- 6 Steps to Repaying Your Student Loan
Remember that this is an investment for your future!
Stay in school and do well!
It doesn’t matter how much you actually have.
The first thing you need when it comes to savings is to set up an emergency fund.
From there, you can set financial goals and then find ways to reach them:
- Compound Interest: A Ridiculously Easy Way to Get Rich
- Saving $100K by 30 Years Old… Is It Even Possible?
- The Ultimate Step-By-Step Guide to Maximise Your Savings
- Saving up for Retirement: How Much Time Do I Have to Save Up?
Since you’re just starting out, you might want to build a habit of constantly reviewing and understanding what is your net worth.
It’s basically what you get when you subtract your liabilities from your assets.
This magical number measures your financial situation and gives you a better grasp of your financial progress.
Insurance is important because it protects you (and your finances) from the unexpected.
Think about it.
It would really suck if you had to choose between going on exchange or a holiday (which you’ve been saving up for) and having to pay for a huge medical bill because of an unforeseen accident right…
It’s also important to note that there is NO one-size-fits-all solution for insurance coverage either.
So you should first take the time to understand what are the key insurance policies to get.
This way you don’t get end up in a situation where you buy whatever an insurance agent ‘recommends’ to you…
Investing might seem like one of the more complicated (and intimidating) aspects of personal finance.
Many of us might associate it with complicated charts, thick stacks of data, and the intense monitoring of multiple computer screens.
However, if you wish to grow your pot of wealth, then investing is key.
Note: you should only start investing AFTER you have sorted out everything else prior to this!
You’ll need to do a lot of studying before getting into it…
So start by reading the Ultimate Guide to Investing in Singapore.
We’ve written it in a way that’s not too cheem so you can understand it better!
If you’re starting your investment journey:
- Thinking of Investing in Stocks? You Should Consider Doing These First…
- 5 Things I Wish I Knew Before Making My First Investment
- Here’s Why You Should Start Investing as Early as Possible
- New to Investing? You Should Check out These 10 Books to Become Good At It
If you want to understand the various investment products:
- A Singaporean’s Guide to Investments Products That Give Guaranteed Returns
- Investment Products Backed by the Singapore Government: SSB vs SGS Bond vs Treasury Bills
- How to Invest With Little Money? Investment Platforms to Invest a Fixed Monthly Savings
- A Singaporean’s Guide: How to Invest in Gold
And if you’re looking to understand investment strategies:
- The Noob AF Guide to All Things Dividend Investing
- Dividend Stocks vs Growth Stocks vs Value Stocks: Which Is the Best Investment Strategy for You?
If you’re clearing your student loan.
Trying to get a job.
Or are thinking about marriage…
Basically, you’re embarking on your next stage in life.
Then this is for you!
This is the time when you’re trying or just got your first job.
You’ll probably be getting serious about your career too.
And since it’s a huge shift from school life, here are some resources to help you make the transition:
- Interview Preparations: The Hows, the Whys, the Whats
- Crazy Interview Questions: Can You Answer These Questions If Your Career Depends on It?
- The Ultimate Guide: Starting Salary for Fresh University Graduates
- The Ultimate Salary Guide for Singaporeans
- Annual Leave, Off-In-Lieu, and Overtime: What Employee Benefits Am I Entitled To?
If you need some help with your job search, this should come in handy:
- Best Job Search Websites in Singapore
- SGunited Traineeships Programme: Up to 21,000 Positions Available
- Employment Opportunities for PWDs in Singapore
Before you go out and spend your first paycheck, you need to know how to manage your income.
And one of the most basic things to do is to allocate your monthly salary.
By segregating your money, you can learn how to budget and reduce your expenses more effectively.
Since you’re earning a steady income, you’ll need to learn how to file and pay for your income tax too.
If you’re self-employed, here are some resources for you:
- Freelancer Guide: All You Need to Know About Your Income Taxes
- A Self-Employed Individuals’ Guide to CPF Contributions
You’re probably spending a little bit more now.
But you should always actively try to keep it as low as you can and SPEND ONLY WITHIN YOUR MEANS!
To be a true winner at the personal finance game, every small detail counts.
So… you’ll need to optimise your spending as much as possible!
- Ultimate Compilation of Student Meals, Student Discounts, and Student Deals 2020
- Food Delivery Promo Codes for Your Lazy Bum!
- Hai Di Lao Hacks in Singapore: How to Get the Best Bang for Your Buck
- A Singaporean’s Cheatsheet to Closing Time Discounts
- Ultimate Guide to Selling Your Second-Hand Clothes for Cash
- Fitness Wear Comparison: Activewear Brands (Below $50) That Are Cheaper Than Lululemon
- Places to Work and Study at for Free
- How to Save $18,000 While Saving the Environment
- A Cost Comparison of Menstrual Products That’s Good for You & the Environment
- Instagram Accounts to Follow to Ace Your Personal Finance Game
Monthly Bill Hacks
- Cheapest SIM-Only Plans in Singapore 2020: Data vs Price Comparison
- Which Fibre Broadband Plan Is the Cheapest for You?
- Open Electricity Market: Which Electricity Retailer is the Cheapest in Singapore?
At the intermediate level, you would have gained sufficient knowledge and can start optimising your savings with a high-interest savings account.
It’s really simple to do all of this, just use our FREE savings calculator to figure out which is the best account for you!
Or maybe you’d like to park some of it in a fixed deposit, then you’ll want to know what are the best fixed deposit rates in Singapore.
Now that you understand the concept of insurance and know which policies to buy.
If you’re looking for health insurance:
- The Singaporean’s Ultimate Integrated Shield Plan Comparison: Am I on the Best Plan?
- Integrated Shield Plan Rider Comparison: How Can I Cover Myself More?
- Read real-user reviews of Health Insurance
If you’re looking for life insurance:
- How Much Is My Life Worth? Here’s How Much You Need to Be Covered for Life Insurance
- Working Adult Guide: Term Life or Whole Life Insurance, Which Should I Get?
- Direct Purchase Term Life Insurance Comparison: Which One’s Best for Me?
- This Is for Your Newborn Baby: Should You Get Whole Life or Term Life?
- Read real-user reviews of Life Insurance
If you’re looking for other types of insurance:
- The Best Personal Accident Plans for Working Professionals
- The Ultimate Female Insurance Plans (With Free Health Checkup) Comparison
- Read real-user reviews of Personal Accident Insurance
Note: you should still get insurance even if you’re a freelancer or self-employed
Also, you’ll want to review your policies periodically to see if you need more coverage or to trim off the excess.
You can either DIY or talk to a trusted insurance agent.
Alternatively, you can always turn to the friendly SeedlyCommunity for advice and more perspectives before making a decision!
Now that you’ve gotten the basics of investing down.
It’s time to make your first investment!
Need help figuring out which is the cheapest and best online brokerage to go with?
Even after you’ve started investing.
You should still continue reading and learning as much as you can about investments!
You can check out Seedly’s ‘What Is…’ series to brush up on common terms which you might come across.
And also the ’60-Seconds Guide’ series to get a quick summary of various companies listed in Singapore.
All of these resources contain valuable information presented to you in a simple manner so you don’t have to pore through stacks of company statements.
And as always, you can discuss all things investment-related with the ever-enthusiastic SeedlyCommunity too!
By this point, you’ve pretty much got your personal finance game sorted out.
But what if I tell you that you can up your personal finance game?
Apart from the monthly income which you can get from a regular 9-to-5 job, you can also have a side hustle to really maximise your income.
Or increase your value by upgrading your skills (read: can command higher pay).
P.S. if you’re still studying, a side hustle is a great way to earn some extra pocket money.
You could give tuition or better still, make use of a hobby like photography to earn some serious kachingz.
If you’re looking for a side hustle to earn extra money:
- How I Turned My Hobby Into a Side Hustle
- How to Make Money on YouTube
- How to Make Money on TikTok
- Ultimate Food Delivery Rider’s Guide: Which Is the Best Company?
If you wish to upgrade your skills and improve your chances of higher positions or a promotion, which usually comes with an increase an income:
- Your Complete Skillsfuture Guide: Top-Ups + Revised Benefits
- Learning a New Language: Costs and Which Schools to Choose
Alternatively, you might be considering a mid-career switch to a more lucrative industry:
- A Singaporean’s Guide to Starting Your Own Home-Based Business
- Working Adults: Wrong Degree or Job? Here Are Practical Ways to Turn Your Life Around
- How Much Does an Air Stewardess or Air Steward Make?
- Yoga Teacher Training Courses in Singapore: How Much Does It Cost?
- Planning to Quit Your Job to Open a Cafe? You Need at Least $100k…
In the worst-case scenario where you’re retrenched (touchwood!), here are some resources to help you get back on your feet:
- The No B.S. Guide to Restarting Your Career After Retrenchment
- Getting Retrenched in SG: Knowing Your Rights, Compensations, and What to Do to Protect Yourself
- Retrenchment Benefit for Employees Retrenched Due to COVID-19
- Resources and Platforms to Help You Find a Job During COVID-19
Besides hacks and making smart lifestyle choices to trim your expenses.
You can also stretch your dollar by using credit cards because you’ll be able to enjoy certain perks and benefits.
Note: you should only use a credit card if you can control your expenditure and pay your balance in full at the end of the month
If you need help looking for a credit card:
- How to Choose Your First Credit Card in Singapore
- How to Apply for Credit Cards in Singapore
- Best Credit Cards for Students
- Know Your Credit Card: Cashback vs Cash Rebates vs Air Miles vs Rewards
- An Intro to Cashback Credit Cards: What You Need to Know + Which Is Best?
- A Step-By-Step Guide to Maximising Your Credit Card Usage
Here are some of the best credit cards based on various categories:
- Best Cashback Credit Cards With No Minimum Spend in Singapore
- Best Credit Cards for Online Shopping and Online Payment in Singapore
- Best Grocery Credit Cards in Singapore
- Best Credit Cards for Utility Bills in Singapore
If you’re interested in getting REALLY good at the credit card game, you can check out real-user reviews left by the SeedlyCommunity and join in their discussion as well!
Did you know that a typical Singaporean would spend up to $390k by 30 years old?
And all of this is on typical milestones type of stuff.
In fact, it’s almost impossible to survive any major milestone in life without taking on debt.
And if you do not have proper planning and fail to pay on time, the interest rates on these loans can be a personal finance nightmare.
Having crippling debt will also affect your credit score, and that would ultimately affect your ability to get loans to finance a mortgage or a business in the future.
So now that you’re at the advanced level, you want to pay close attention to how you plan your debt repayment schedules.
Cash savings aside, you should also look closely at your CPF and think about how you can make that money go even further for your future retirement:
- Here Are 8 Secret CPF Hacks And Tips That All Singaporeans Need To Know
- CPF LIFE VS Retirement Sum Scheme: Which One Are You On? What’s the Difference?
- Step-By-Step Guide: Top-up Your CPF SA Using Cash to Save on Income Tax
- Supplementary Retirement Scheme (SRS): What Can You Invest in & Everything You Need to Know
- Here’s Why You Should Top Up $1 To Your Supplementary Retirement Scheme (SRS) Account Today
Now that you have insurance, you can look into optimising your coverage.
When you form a family of your own, you’ll find that you need to expand your coverage or buy other types of insurance in order to protect your dependants.
Or you might find that certain policies you have might be maturing.
And you can switch to a more cost-effective alternative which gives you the same (or even better) coverage for less.
Apart from speaking to a trusted insurance agent.
You can also find out what real users have to say about various insurance plans on our SeedlyCommunity:
- Read real-user reviews of Health Insurance
- Read real-user reviews of Life Insurance
- Read real-user reviews of Personal Accident Insurance
By now, you should have an investment portfolio which you’re making regular contributions to.
So what’s next?
Well, what about finding ways to optimise your investments in order to achieve higher returns?
You can revisit the basics by reacquainting yourself with our Ultimate Guide to Investing in Singapore.
And check out our Stocks Analysis to find in-depth analysis of various companies and market movements.
If you’re interested in diversifying your portfolio and want to look overseas:
- A Dummies Guide to Investing in Ireland-Domiciled S&P 500 ETFs
- Definitive U.S. Stock Investing Taxes and Fees Guide for Singaporean Investors
- Best ETFs on the U.S Stock Market to Invest In
- Popular ETFs on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEX) to Consider
Looking to diversify into other asset classes like REITs?
- Cheat Sheet: How to Pick the Best Singapore REITs to Invest In
- Ultimate Guide To REITs In Singapore
- The Ultimate Singaporean Guide to Investing in REIT ETFs
Or use the FREE Seedly REITs Tool to help you make an informed investing decision!
Health & Well-Being
The importance of our health and well-being cannot be neglected as it largely influences our perspective of life — regardless of which stage of life we’re at.
Even if you’re the richest person on Earth, money is insignificant if it cannot bring back your health.
Therefore, it is important for us to be aware of the potential cost of health-related issues, especially when healthcare in Singapore is steadily rising:
- Singaporean’s Guide to Cost of Hospitalisation Treatment: Which Hospital Is the Cheapest?
- Affordable Health Screening Under $100 in Singapore
- An Insight on the True Cost of Cancer Treatment in Singapore
- The Ultimate Guide to HPV Vaccines Singapore for Both Male and Females Against Cancer
- Affordable Health Screening Options for Women
Well-being is more than just taking a vacation or treating yourself to a bubble bath.
In the course of our lives, we often have to deal with or make difficult decisions.
And these might cause stress:
- Mental Health Issues: Subsidies Available and How to Navigate Through the Financial Costs
- Getting an Abortion in Singapore: Costs, Facts, and Tips From the People Who’ve Been Through It
- What Happens If My Parents Get Dementia? : A Step-By-Step Guide
Knowing the costs and what to expect can help us to better prepare our finances for the inevitable (or even the unforeseen).
So that we don’t find ourselves at a loss when a loved one (or even yourself) requires medical attention and assistance.
Starting a Family
Congratulations on starting the next phase in your life!
Starting a family involves a LOT of money so advanced planning is highly recommended.
Saving As a Couple
First, you’ll want to learn how to manage your finances as a duo:
- How to Talk to Your Partner About Money
- A Singaporean Couple’s Cheat Sheet for Saving Together (Guide Included)
- A Couple Can Save an Extra $120k by Just Following a Simple Budgeting Rule
Buying Your First Home
If you’re at the “Ai BTO mai?” stage, you’ll find this Ultimate Personal Finance Guide to Applying For Your First BTO extremely useful.
P.S. there’s more to it than just money that you need to think about
If marriage is on the cards:
- A Personal Story: Buying an Engagement Ring in Singapore
- Lab-created Diamonds vs Real Diamonds: Should I Propose to My Partner With a Synthetic Diamond Ring?
- The Hidden Costs of Marriage: Traditional Wedding Dowry Prices for Different Races in Singapore
Once you’ve popped the question or you’ve said yes, you’ll need to start thinking about your wedding.
And that can be a REALLY expensive affair — enough to get your head spinning.
If you’re unsure where to start, you can just use our Seedly Wedding Playbook.
In it, you’ll find out how much a wedding costs, the prices of wedding venues, and even how much it costs to hire a photographer or videographer.
Psst… want to save money on your big day?
Why not hold your wedding at a coffeeshop?
Planning For a Child
Parenthood is an expensive but rewarding undertaking:
- $11,400 Is the Combined Income You Need Before Having Your First Child
- How Much Does It Really Cost to Raise a Child in Singapore?
- How Much Does It Cost to Adopt a Child in Singapore?
- Ultimate Guide: Cost of Giving Birth in Singapore and Baby Bonuses to Help You Save
- Full List of Paternity and Maternity Leaves You Are Entitled To
- The Ultimate Guide to Baby Bonus in Singapore (Payout, Schedule, CDA)
Want to give your child a headstart in his or her personal finance?
- Investing for Kids: How to Give Them the Financial Headstart You Never Had
- The Complete Guide: Best Children’s Savings Account (CDA)
- Here’s How to Maximise Your Child’s Child Development Account (CDA)
- CPF Hacks to Give Your Child a Headstart
- Ultimate Guide to Childcare: Your Options & How Much
- How Can You Fully Insure Your Child With Child Insurance?
Planning for your child’s education in advance?
- Preschools in Singapore: Playgroup or Kindergarten Fees Can Cost You as Much as $2,000 per Month
- All You Need to Know About Financing Your Child’s Primary School Education
- Tuition Rate Compilation: How Much Will It Cost to Send Your Children for Tuition?
SeedlyExplains is a series of sponsored articles where we collaborate with government organisations to explain the latest announcements, initiatives, or policy changes in a simple and straightforward manner.
The intent is to provide accurate and useful information to keep our readers informed of what these updates and changes mean to Singaporeans.