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We Asked 4 Finance bloggers About Their Top Money Advice For Fresh Graduates

Passionate about helping people make smarter financial decisions. You can contribute your thoughts like Kenneth here.

Fresh Graduates Once, Now Into The Working World

A nationwide survey by SingStat in 2013 reported that people tend to over-spend especially with increasing income to match a more exorbitant lifestyle. We challenged 4 Singapore finance bloggers, if they could go back in time to when they first graduated, what advice would they have given themselves.

Their responses were insightful and relevant especially as a Millennial working adult in the Singapore context. Read on to find out more on the mindset and approach they adopt when it comes to managing their money.

sgbudgetbabe

SG Budget Babe

“Cultivate good money habits from the moment you start working and you’ll be setting yourself up for a lifetime of financial success.”

Best pieces of money advice you would give yourself?
  • Track your expenses and see where your money is going.
  • Make it a daily habit of doing so, and get a free expense tracking app on your mobile phone so you can do it on your way home every day.
  • SGBudgetBabe’s article went viral for her challenge to readers and her sharing of ways to Saving up $20k a year in her first few year in the workforce with a starting pay of $2500.
  • Her best tips include taking advantage of credit card promotions, eating cheaply, avoiding nightlife and segmenting of spending and saving accounts (as described further below)
Best money habits to cultivate?
  • Don’t spend your pay the moment you get it. Treat payday as any other ordinary day, instead of an excuse to splurge on a meal or go shopping.
  • Create 2 bank accounts. One for saving, and another for spending. Live on a “monthly allowance” model like you did when you were still studying, and pay yourself first (after your salary is in) so that your savings will grow.
  • This is an approach which many financial savvy people like to adopt – PAY YOURSELF FIRST where basically you set aside your spending and savings accounts to better manage your money like a pro. (and not over-spend)

investmentmoats

Investment Moats

“Read and Reflect more. Great wealth builders are people with humility and they read a lot.”

Best pieces of money advice you would give yourself?
  • Learn the meaning to Earn more, Optimize your expenses and Build Wealth Wisely. In the end, most of the advice we hear in the media comes up to something like this (well except also to manage your debts well which I omit). I learn to optimize expenses well at an early age, but building wealth wisely… it is a process, rather than a “do this and you will definitely reach there”.
  • For myself, it’s a journey over 13 years and I cannot say that I master it because no one can. You have to learn and execute building wealth as a core responsibility and job throughout your entire life.
  • I failed to earn more, and I consistently earn less than my peers and on hindsight, I could have reached a better state than where I am now had I managed this aspect much better.
  • However, if you are lucky to do okay in earning adequately, optimize your expenses so that the difference is sizable and learn what makes the most impact in building wealth, you will reach a good stage 10 years later.
  • I explained more of this formula here and highlights the 2 more important factors that charge up wealth building that is within your control.

the wealth formulaCredit: Investmentmoats

Best money habits to cultivate?
  • Identify your insecurities and address them. There will be insecurities as a young adult that graduate. Your friends tell you a certain way the world works. Is all these fears and hearsay correct?
  • Get to a place where you understand them better. How this helps is that all these insecurities will somehow bite you in your career and building wealth.
  • If you can work through them it will be great. To know your insecurities and fear, you need time and space to reflect upon them.
  • Calendar your wealth building time slots.There are a lot of people touting passive income, trying to make it seem that building wealth is an “I learn this formula then I can step down my effort to near zero”. People underestimate the actual level of effort that is required most of the time. To be a competent wealth builder, time is required. To get time, you need to set time aside. Make an appointment with yourself to read during a commute or 1 hour each night for the wealth building stuff.
  • Read and Reflect more. Most of the great wealth builders are also people with humility and they read a lot. In modern times, reading is in the form of listening to podcasts and watching videos.
  • You have some questions, find some answers for them. Then reflect upon whether they fit into your life or your wealth system. Don’t just read and then don’t reflect.
Advice for managing your first-year paychecks?
  • This is difficult. We all live different lives and come from different backgrounds so it’s unfair for me to tell you what to do.
  • If you are single and have no commitments, put away 40-80% of your take home pay, channel them to building wealth. You will build a wealth machine that gives you financial security much faster. This wealth machine provides a wealth cash flow should you need to augment your main job income. If you take home $35,000/yr (14 months of $2,500) and put away 50% of it for 5 years growing at 4%, you will have $94,785.
  • If you treat this $94,785 as an annuity that grows at 4% and you decide to spend it to $0 in 10 years, you could spend $11,686/yr with it (if you wish).
  • You could spend only 4% of $94,785 to have $3,791/yr ($316/mth) to augment your life.
  • Or you found the partner of your dreams and decide to get married. That $94,785 becomes very handy.
  • Take your paycheck and buy options in life, not things that you put in your stomach and disappear.
  • If you have debts, pay them down. If you are getting a flat and getting married, no difference. Set aside money and this withdraw your funds for these large commitments.
  • If there are courses that you know enhance your career or stays with you for a long time, invest in them.
  • Most importantly, pay back your parents for bringing you up.

xeolyenomics

Xeo Lye

“Work to live and not live to work.”

Best pieces of money advice you would give yourself?
  • Go for consistency in returns rather than high-risk high returns trading such as warrant trading, margin trading or options trading.
  • Do it when you are older and wiser of the workings of the world.
  • Such consistency of returns include examples of diversified low-cost ETFs and index investing.
Best money habits to cultivate?
  • Set up a separate spending account with your favorite credit card that is different from your paycheck account.
  • Set up a monthly transfer into your spending account and spend only from there.
Advice for managing your first-year paychecks?
  • Buy good and cheap insurance early and young, as premiums increase as you grow older.
  • This is also because you never know what will happen down the road and life is unpredictable.

my 15 hour work week

15 HourWorkWeek (15HWW)

“If you don’t care about your personal finances, be prepared to HAVE TO work from 9 to 6 till 65.”

Best piece of money advice you would give yourself?
  • Nobody will more about your money than you.
  • Try to continue to live like a student for the initial first few years. Have simple habits and try not to over-spend on Starbucks or nightlife like drinking and clubbing.
Best money habits to cultivate?
  • Always track your expenditure
  • As a couple, plan your finances early and limit your weekly food spend by packing lunch from home
  • Cut down on movie dates and look for cheaper alternatives to things you do as a couple (eg. going on holidays once or twice a year unlike every quarter like most working adults)
  • Start investing
What to do with your first-year paychecks?
  • Save at least half of it.

Conclusion – It’s a long journey ahead, plan ahead

Keep going, start early and adopt some of the best practices in your daily lives. As with anything worthwhile, it’s going to take several failures and missteps; some days where you over-spend or blow your budget but just seem to give up financially. 

“Those who fail to plan, plan to fail”

And that is why we reached out to these financial bloggers, to learn that it was often not a straight road as well. It’s a journey. These are some of the curated local Singaporean finance writers we follow when it comes to how you should navigate your financial life. As someone once said: “Smart people learn from their own mistakes, Wise people learn from other people’s mistakes” We believe that strongly applies to personal finance as well. We think of them as a mentor to grow you out of your older mindset financial shell.

You can check back often to Seedly, as we aim to curate some of the best local financial voices to make a stronger movement for getting your finances in place.

Finally, If you are still feeling lost and want something easy to digest, do read our Beginner’s Seedly Money Framework to get started~!

Be part of our personal finance Facebook Group today! Share your knowledge and learn from the closely-knitted Seedly family as we look to bring each other on a more meaningful personal finance journey.
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