Myth Busters: Enjoying Life and Saving Money Are Mutually Exclusive — Not!
If you are like a lot of Singapore residents, you’re probably overwhelmed by the complexities inherent in investing and retirement planning. Do you have to starve now to build a secure financial future? Can you live a happy life and still plan for early retirement? Is wealth the answer to finding happiness?
Worry not: If you have a steady income, taking simple measures now means you can enjoy a happy life both now and in the future.
Where Do You Stand Now?
The first step toward planning your financial future is evaluating where you are now. Figure out how much money comes in and how much goes out. Include mortgage or rent payments, transportation costs, utility payments, salaries and any other incoming and outgoing expenses.
Keep a running list of what you spend each week for a month. Include morning coffee purchases, restaurant meals, theater tickets, grocery store purchases and other money you spend.
Keeping track of everything for a month gives you a clear picture of where your money goes.
Plan for Your Future
Economies go up and go down. What seemed like a good investment at one time does not seem good now. What can you do to figure out the right financial strategies for you and your family? Get help from a qualified expert.
Your Uncle Joe might give you financial advice. Even if he has a lot of money himself, is he an expert? Not unless he is a financial adviser with a clear track record of planning and client investment success. Choose a Singapore-based financial planning service such as Asiaciti Trust with the required experience, track record and know-how to make your money work for you.
Live for Today
Is it true that wealth equals happiness? Most people would answer no. Just having money does not mean a person is happy. It does give people a feeling of security, however, and takes some of the stress away from daily life.
Building wealth one day at a time does not mean you have to live a life of poverty now and save only for the future. It might mean cutting back on some of that discretionary spending you listed earlier, though.
Were you surprised when you went over your list of the amount of money you freely spend each week on coffee and eating out? Keeping track of that money gave you a wake-up call. It also shows you where to adjust your spending habits and make your money go further.
What could you do to spend less? For example, you would spend less on coffee if you made it at home and used a travel mug instead of buying a cup every morning. If you ate at home more and out less, you would save money. If you went to afternoon shows instead of evening shows you could take advantage of better pricing.
In other words, you can still enjoy life and spend less at the same time.
Raising Financially Smart Children
If you have children, part of being a parent is teaching them the skills they need to be successful in life. Teaching children financial responsibility is part of your job.
Children are not born with the skills to handle money. Children learn early that money is a much-desired commodity by observing the behavior of adults around them. But that does not mean they know how to do anything other than spend it. What can you do to teach children the financial skills they need to succeed in life?
You have to start by being a good example. If your children see you handle your own money responsibly by reducing debt and controlling expenses, they will follow. You do not have to preach frugality or expound on rules. Words go in one ear and out the other. Children follow what you do, not what you say.
As children get older, giving them a weekly allowance is a great way to teach a whole set of financial skills. Give them the means to save some of their allowance each week, whether it is a piggy bank for younger children or a savings account at a financial institution for older children.
Besides saving for toys or electronics they want, help them set up a long-range savings plans in which they participate. Perhaps encourage them to place a portion of their allowance in a fund for college. Over time, children learn that if there is something they want, they need to work and save for it.
No, money does not buy happiness. But, planning for financial security now means you feel less stress about money, and you can look forward to a bright financial future.