Here's What I Learnt From Seedly's Personal Finance Festival 2023 (Main Stage) + Sweet Deals to Level Up Your Personal Finance Game!
It’s already been two weeks since Seedly Personal Finance Festival 2023! Time sure flies.
For those of you who’ve attended, I’m sure you would have felt just as overwhelmed as I was. There were just so many things going on and the whole event space was packed like sardines!
It’s only natural that you may have missed out on some of the insightful talks and exclusive deals.
But fret not as I will be going through my experience at the Main Stage of Seedly Personal Finance Festival 2023 and sharing with you my key takeaways as well as any relevant deals that you can take advantage of to level up your personal finance game!
P.S. Full recordings of the event talks will be available on SeedlyRewards very soon. So be sure to sign up if you haven’t already and click the gift icon on the top right of the screen once logged in to gain access to the recordings!
TL;DR: Seedly Personal Finance Festival 2023 Main Stage Takeaways and Deals
- Making Your Best Portfolio
- The Financial Trade-offs You Didn’t Know You Were Making
- The Rise of Multitudes of CPF Millionaires: Are You One Of Them?
- Protecting Your Dreams and Growing Your Money
- Simple Rules to Deal with the Ever-Changing World as an Investor
- What Are The Investment Trends for 2023 and Beyond?
Disclaimer: As I was running around while at the event, I will only cover the topics that I’ve attended and had strong takeaways that I feel compelled to share. If you want to view all the event recordings, you may find them in SeedlyRewards.
Making Your Best Portfolio
This panel was moderated by none other than yours truly! And I’ve certainly learned quite a bit from, Dawn Fiona (SGBudgetBabe), Kel Vin Tan (YouTuber at Kelvin Learns Investing), and Lee Yong Shern (Senior Manager, Corporate and Institutional Department, Moomoo Financial Singapore).
The first key takeaway that was prevalent across the different investing styles was to have diversification in your portfolio.
Among the panellists and myself included, it is common to just YOLO (You Only Live Once) and invest in one vehicle. But we’ve all learned our lessons as the years go on. As the saying goes, don’t put all your eggs into one basket! The common consensus was to have a larger percentage in safer or blue-chip stocks before allocating the rest into other riskier investments that you have conviction in.
The second key takeaway was to make sure that you have a clear goal in mind before you even start investing.
There are many factors that play into this such as your current life stage, risk appetite, and ideal lifestyle. Ultimately, these will determine the type of investing style you should have so you can shape your portfolio toward that.
Last but most important was Dawn’s point on the ability to say ‘no’ in investing.
As we get more experienced in investing, we start to realise that investing fads really do come and go. And especially for new investors, it’s easy to be swayed to buy into a certain investment because of the relationships we have with those around us.
Once we have identified our investing styles and curated a well-diversified portfolio, it is wise to stick to our paths and not just invest in something because everyone else is. All in all, investing needs to be well-researched, fundamentally sound and with a clear path to meet our goals.
- How to Invest: A Singaporean’s Guide To Investing for Beginners
- The Ultimate Step-by-Step Guide To Diversify Your Investment Portfolio
Moreover, since investing is a long-term game, we should also pick our brokerages wisely and opt for low-cost brokerages that offer fractional shares such as Moomoo. That way, you can further diversify your portfolio across multiple markets and dollar-cost-average easily with fractional shares to maintain the percentage allocations in your portfolio.
Oh and remember to take advantage of sign-up promotions for essentially free money! You can earn up to S$208 with Moomoo Singapore. I won’t go into too much detail here but essentially, you can earn free money by signing up for the broker, parking investment money and earning free stocks or cash coupons. I’ve been doing this for many brokers just to earn some free cash while checking out their features so don’t say bojio!
The Financial Trade-offs You Didn’t Know You Were Making
If there’s one talk that I felt inspired by, it would be this keynote by Evy Wee, the Head of Financial Planning & Personal Investing at DBS Bank.
In every stage of our lives, there are trade-offs that we have to make. For younger folks like me, we tend to spend now and live life without too much care for our future. The trade-offs here can be dire if we do not prepare ourselves for future expenses and retirement.
That’s why it is important to be aware of how we go about building our financial lives. Just like a burger as Evy Wee mentioned, there are many layers that contribute to the overall happiness of our lives. It’s imperative that we get our basic needs covered such as being protected with insurance and having emergency funds before we start to do the fancier things such as investing and spending on luxuries.
Often times as she mentioned, we think of financial planning as something we do with licensed financial advisors or institutions like banks. But instead, financial planning can be very simple things such as knowing how to manage your savings and how changes in GST rates affect you.
As someone who has been learning about finance for quite a number of years now, I realised that personal finance can indeed be very simple and you don’t necessarily need to consult someone or take a finance major. These days, there are plenty of communities such as Seedly and The Burrow where you can get information and advice from. Moreover, many financial institutions have been rolling out tools to help you take control of your finances like the DBS Nav Planner.
The Rise of Multitudes of CPF Millionaires: Are You One Of Them?
I’ve been a fan of Mr. Loo Cheng Chuan ever since I first saw him speak at an Endowus conference. He is one of those people who aren’t afraid to go against the majority if he knows what he is doing and has solid fundamentals.
For those who aren’t aware, he spearheads the 1M65 movement where Singaporean couples take advantage of compound interest in CPF to grow their retirement savings to a million by 65. As I’m already quite well-versed with this strategy and you can easily find information about this movement online, I shan’t delve too far deep into this.
The highlight for me was when he mentioned that CPF can be your financial safety net. As mentioned previously, a strong portfolio has a good percentage of safer instruments and is well diversified. Thus, my main takeaway is to consider CPF as a suitable investment vehicle to build up the base of my investment portfolio.
Protecting Your Dreams and Growing Your Money
I’m sure we’ve all heard the phrase, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail“. And that’s exactly what I was reminded of after attending this keynote by Helen Shen, the Group Head of Health at Singlife.
Many of us want to achieve financial freedom, including myself. But it’s usually a case of all talk but no action. I’ve been an advocate of having 6 to 12 months of emergency funds here on Seedly. However, I think I’ve also overlooked the importance of insurance. Emergency funds itself won’t be sufficient when things really hit the fan and you don’t have insurance to cover yourself.
That will definitely put your financial freedom journey to an abrupt halt or even set you back a few years. Thus, my one actionable for this year is to review my insurance coverage and make sure that I am adequately insured. If you want a more hassle-free approach to financial planning and well-being, you may also have your finances and insurance coverage reviewed by the folks at Singlife.
Simple Rules to Deal with the Ever-Changing World as an Investor
For investors, this is probably one of the most insightful talks of the whole festival by Christopher Forbes, the Head of CMC Invest (Singapore). He had so much to share that he even ran out of time!
There were plenty of great insights but for the sake of this article, I will narrow it down to my biggest takeaways.
The first one is about who to follow to know what is going on in the markets. His “triple threats” are:
- Following the Fed as they control liquidity
- Following the bond market as they can tell you where to invest
- And practice technical analysis to know when to invest
If all these sound alien to you, here are a few articles to help you out:
Briefly, he also touched on the inverted yield curve and how that can be a powerful indicator of whether it is a good time to invest in banks.
So if you don’t have to be invested in banks, I would avoid them (unless the yield curve inversion changes). If you do like banks, honestly in Singapore, you’re very lucky, you have very good banks that produce a very good yields that are very safe from a balance sheet perspective. – Christopher Forbes
The next takeaway is that we should also be very aware of current affairs or politics as this can give us great opportunities or warnings to get in or out of an investment. So if you aren’t reading the news daily, I suggest you do so now!
Moving on, he talks about the power of compounding. Christopher has, in my opinion, described compounding in one of the most amazing ways I’ve ever come across. So I’ll just leave a quote from him here and let his words do the magic.
Compounding is a staircase to being wealthy. But the staircase is very long. And to be honest with you, it’s really boring. And as human beings, we love action. And the best way I can describe it is this. My car breaks down and I asked two people to fix it. One of them comes for an hour and bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, and tells me everything and charges me $100 And does an okay job. The second guy comes and turns one dial, and fixes it and charges me $90. As human beings, we feel insulted that he charges me a little bit less than this guy, even though we did a better job, because for some reason, we love to see activity and big words. But the reality is this guy fixed my car in seconds, because he’s got simplicity and intelligence behind him. And that is compounding. I really encourage you to think about the world like that. You don’t need to give your money to a fund manager to give you all the big words to not fix your car. Compounding will actually outperform statistically speaking, it’s not an opinion. It’s fact. Compounding an ETF over 20, 30 years will outperform. – Christopher Forbes
But of course, to even unlock the power of compounding, you need to take action by investing!
I actually talked to Christopher Forbes during my spare time at the event as I was excited about CMC Invest, a perfect opportunity for those who have yet to take action and invest. For those who don’t know, it is a new online brokerage like Moomoo, Syfe Trade, or Tiger Brokers but with zero fees and free trades monthly. But hey, if you’ve read my previous piece about the hidden costs of investing, you’ll know that brokerages aren’t very transparent about their FX spread, which is where they make the bulk of their money from you:
The legend himself, Christopher Forbes, has actually read my article and told me that they will be as competitive or even more competitive price-wise than Interactive Brokers! Naturally, I was very excited as it is a new addition to my comparison and most likely my new main brokerage. Zero fees, low FX spread, access to major markets, and good product design? Sign me up!
Sadly, the product has yet to launch but you can join the waitlist for updates. I’m already on it and hopefully, you would be too! And no, I am not sponsored by CMC Invest, just genuinely excited about the product itself.
What Are The Investment Trends for 2023 and Beyond?
The next segment that was really interesting for me was this one with the investment experts from HSBC, Standard Chartered, and Citibank.
The first distinguishment I would like to highlight here is that understanding trends is not timing the market. But rather, it helps us investors identify industries to invest in. In other words, thematic investing.
My first takeaway from this panel is to keep an eye out for the following themes:
- Artificial Intelligence
- Renewable Energy
Secondly, we need to be active when it comes to managing our investments as the world is very volatile these days. While ETFs and REITs are great passive investment vehicles, the experts recommend a more active management strategy by identifying quality companies.
In the end, this really boils down to how much time you have to keep up with the trends and do your own research for investing. But if you’re rather time-starved or don’t have the interest in actively managing your own portfolio, having your portfolio managed by a fund manager may be a better option.
This year, we are lucky to have sign-up promotions to get a head start if we want to start investing, whether passively or actively. While I’m not so much of a bank-broker kind of person, I do see the merits of having all of your finances managed in one place. You can seamlessly transfer your savings into an investment account to trade or have a fund manager from the bank do investing for you, all in a single website or app.
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This year, I’ve definitely gained a lot of great insights from the main stage talks. And I hope you did too.
If you’ve missed out on some of the great sharings, remember that you can catch the live recordings on the SeedlyRewards platform sometime next week! We’ll update you soon.
In the meantime, comment below on any insights you’ve gleaned and share them with your fellow Singaporeans!