Mathematics, sciences, languages, but never money. Schools don’t ever have the subject ‘money’ in the curriculum. There should be a good reason for that. Lest the children become money-faced, they said.
“Study hard, get a good iron-rice-bowl of a job and you won’t need to ever worry about money ever again!”
That’s what my aunties and uncles used to tell me at family gatherings when I was growing up. During their time, getting a stable income was all that mattered. They had mouths to feed and bills to pay. Nobody dared to dream out of that box.
Getting a good education was looked upon very highly. Possibly because not many had a degree or even a diploma in the past.
But now? Double degrees, master’s degrees and even doctorates fill the streets, some even unemployed and worrying about their bills next month.
Many Singaporeans who supposedly should be shaking their legs at home while enjoying their retirement are still slogging on.
The government is even raising the retirement age for Singaporeans. Yes, partly because some of us still wants to be in the workforce. But there are also those who have to work to survive. What went wrong?
Maybe if schools taught more lessons about money, everyone might be better off. Here are just three out of the many.
1. One source of income won’t cut it
Just holding one salary might be sustainable in the past, when housing and the standard of living was a lot lower. As the world economy becomes increasingly competitive, we need to catch up.
Working on a side income over the weekends is probably one of the more popular choices nowadays. Just take the family car out on weekends to earn some extra cash with Uber or Grab.
Alternatively, I personally prefer to work on some interests or hobbies while getting some remuneration.
Photography, video editing, blogging, fitness training and tutoring are just some examples. You’ll be surprised how much businesses are paying for these services.
Just know that we all could use some extra sources of income. After all, we’ll never know when the economy crashes (touch wood) and robs our full-time job away.
By the way, investing in dividend stocks is quite a nifty idea, too. (While you’re at it, check out some of our content.)
2. We should plan our retirement as soon as we start working
Many of us think we should only plan retirement after our kids – if we have any – grow up, piling housing debt and an aching back. After all, old grumpy elderly people come to our minds whenever anyone talks about retirement.
Instead of thinking of retirement as a problem only for the middle-aged or elderly, think of it as having enough money to fund our life up till the day we date. Or what many people would call “financial independence” or “financial freedom”.
If we want any chance of really enjoying our later years and not worry about whether our children or CPF can last us till we are six feet underground, planning as soon as we start work is pertinent.
One simple method is to separate our savings from our expenses. One bank account is set aside for salary and savings while the other for expenses. Every dollar counts towards a more comfortable retirement and shaking leg while sipping Kopi.
3. Wealth is about net worth and not “possessions”
Do you own your assets or do your assets own you? That’s a question many of us don’t ask ourselves.
A person may live in a pretty house and drive a fancy car. But that person might be “owned” by the banks because of the debts he or she have to shoulder for decades. Is the person still considered an “owner” of the assets?
We constantly consume without ever asking if the items we buy are actually consuming us.
Being wealthy means owning assets without the debt. That’s net worth. Carrying mountains of debt is one of the surest ways to living a stressful life. Especially at the end of every month when the billing letters arrive.
That is why living within one’s means is important. The glamorous and high life isn’t for everyone.
Focus on net worth – the things we own and the cash or equivalents we have. These include a fully paid-off house, stocks of excellent companies and anything else easily liquidatable.
Schools don’t teach us these money lessons. Neither did our parents (I’m not sure about you but mine didn’t). Fortunately, with the Internet at our disposal, many of such lessons (including this article) is just a Google search away.
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All of them have at least a decade of experience in the industry and stock market – if not more. This is a paid event so expect a lot of value and insights. Click on the button below to find out more!