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Gladys Tan

Financial Consultant

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Financial Tips to Help You Prepare for Different Stages In Your Life

Your needs change over time, so should your financial plan.


To help you navigate through your financial journey through different stages in your life, I've put together a set of quick tips and reminders for you to refer to.


Early Adulthood


Welcome to adulting! The World is your Oyster. However, paying attention to your first few (financial) steps will potentially help you lay a strong foundation for yourself.


When you first begin earning an income, budgeting is the critical financial skill that you need to master. Here are three ways that I hope can help you work your way towards financial wellness:

  1. Stay in the green: Develop a suitable budget and build the discipline to live within your income so that you don’t fall into a debt trap.

  2. Plan and prioritise: Once you learn to contain your expenses to available income, start building savings into your budget. This is how you can build an emergency fund.

  3. Use what's already there: Take advantage of employer-sponsored plans such as insurance and CPF.

Remember: A good start is half the battle!


Also Read: Some special tips (not financial advice) for women who want to be active in their financial journey


Parenting


Congratulations on your bundle of joy!


Whether you are planning to become a parent, already expecting or are currently adjusting to your new life as a parent, consider these tips as a starting point for adapting to your new financial reality.

  1. Set up a safety net: With dependents on your income, life insurance is a critical element for security. Expand health insurance to cover your family too.

  2. Set aside budget for your dependants' needs: Make sure you have enough saved or invested for your children's tertiary education.

  3. Take advantage of tax breaks: In Singapore, married, divorced or widowed parents may claim tax rebates of up to $20,000 per child (under the Parenthood Tax Rebate).

  4. Plan for the Unforeseen - Make an Estate Plan: Consider what might happen to your children if you and/or your spouse were to die before they became legal adults. If you want to have a say, you need a will.

While these may seem generic to some, these four are pretty easy foundations for you to set up on your road to #financialfreedom.


Elderly Caregiving


Aside from caring for children, our Asian values often find us in a position where we have to care for our elderly, too.


Hence, I'd like to share some tips I've found through my readings and research which I hope will be helpful for those of you who care for older folks in your family. It's vital for us to have their financial needs sorted out so we, as members of the #sandwichgeneration, can focus on what we need to do for our own financial goals.


Here are three suggestions:

  1. Have that dreaded talk: We don't wish for anyone's ill but you need to talk openly with family about their wishes for later life. That way you can start planning and saving for it to respect and honour their wishes accordingly.

  2. Get legal support: For the sake of the elderly that you care for, secure necessary legal authorisation (e.g. Lasting Power of Attorney) for the purpose of fulfilling financial and healthcare tasks and to access important documents to care for them better.

  3. Consider other options: Gain an understanding of long-term care options—such as housing and hands-on care—as the needs of the loved one change over time. Also consider if you need to hire someone or do home modifications which can cater to our elderly better.

Also, please remember that your financial stability comes first. Be honest about your own capacity as a caregiver, especially in areas you and your loved one may need assistance in. Having open communication with family members including your siblings or spouse, or even your loved one about finances and/or legal topics is important as well.


Retirement


Regardless of whether you're 25 or 55, saving for retirement is a wise financial strategy. Everyone will face retirement at some point, either by choice or necessity.


Whether you are on track for retirement savings or need to play catch up, I hope these tips help you as you plan for your retirement:

  1. Consider other costs: Ensure financial plans account for longer life expectancy and higher healthcare costs. Cost of living goes up as we age, thanks to things like inflation, so be aware of these not-so-little things.

  2. Talk with your spouse or significant other about retirement spending: Be open with your spouse or significant other about how much you think you should, and will, spend in retirement so that you’re both on the same page. Do manage expectations - what may be retirement for you is not your spouse's ideal retirement plan, for instance.

  3. Stay on top of Estate Planning: Look into estate planning to cater for instances whereby we lose our ability to make our own decisions. Having a proper estate plan also ensures that your assets are distributed in a manner of your choosing and that your loved ones will not experience financial hardship following your death.


Ready to take it to the next step? If you're keen to explore how to start planning for some / all of the above, let's have a chat :) Or you can read my Soccer Strategy article to understand how one can strategically allocate their financial resources for different purposes.


If you found these helpful, consider following me on my Instagram, where I share more financial tips and nuggets for your takeaways.


See you there!

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