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The Myths And Misconceptions About FinTech

Ah, financial technology – better known as FinTech. A very booming sector, and there are many thoughts and perceptions about it. Unsurprisingly, there are misconceptions about the industry ever since it shook up the financial world.

We can’t deny that FinTech is indeed disruptive and revolutionary, but is it truly going to destroy traditional financial institutions? We don’t think so, thus we invite you to take a look at these four common myths and misconceptions about FinTech.

It’s stuck in a bubble and will burst

The concept of “bubbles” in markets was introduced during the “dotcom” era, when growth and funding in startup websites were climbing steeply. The rise of FinTech has been compared to the dotcom bubble. Yet there are now more than 45 FinTech unicorns (each valued at more than $1 billion) worldwide. Five of them have gone public, proving that the industry is not going anywhere. Not only do the numbers speak for themselves, the FinTech industry has given the world new business models. For example, companies like StudentFunder enables access to education for students who can’t find proper funding elsewhere.

FinTech is not secure

FinTech may be relatively new to the financial world; that doesn’t mean it’s not secure. Yes, new technology is never completely safe from the possibility of cyberattacks, but FinTech is no more exposed to these threats than any other sector. Besides, any reliable FinTech company will have security and identity checks in place.

Trying to learn more about how to protect your business from hackers? Read “How to Protect Your SME from Cybercrime”

It’s only about lending and payments

In the US, lending and payments dominate the FinTech industry by 80%. However, other areas like insurance, market provisioning, investment management, and capital raising are also making significant progress in FinTech. In fact, The World Economic reported that insurance is one of the biggest disruptors in FinTech, as advanced algorithms and computing power are changing the industry. There are also new financial management systems that are able to help people save money and time, boost credit scores, and detect fraud all in the same place. FinTech can also provide superior data analytics. Thereby the assumption that FinTech is a limited sector is simply false.

It’s waging a neverending battle with banks 

Some conventional banks feel threatened by the rise of FinTech, since FinTech is always seen as the “disruptive” one. In reality, banks and FinTechs are getting along quite well – fintech and banks have recently been making collaborative partnerships for the financial industry. Why? FinTech builds products and services with cutting-edge technology that people need but platforms often lack distribution capabilities. Which party has large distribution capabilities? That’s right: banks.

Because fintech is online-based, eventually they can reach prospective clients more widely and more quickly. According to CB Insights data, six major banks in the US have made strategic investments in more than 30 FinTech companies since 2009. So much for enemies!

The world, especially advances in financial technology, is moving fast. Watching the journey and further innovations of FinTech will be an exciting ride.


This article was written by Funding Societies, Singapore’s leading peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform. They provide working capital loans for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), along with attractive investment opportunities to the broader public.  To learn more about them, visit their website here.

Funding Societies is a DollarsAndSense Brand Connect partner. You can find out more about what they do on the DollarsAndSense Brand Connect Page.

Reviewing 2017 Business Performance, Achieving 2018 Goals

Is there a better time than the first work days of the year to reflect on business goals? If you spent the final days of 2017 scrambling to collect data and make reports, it’s time to review the past year’s business performance. For many businesses, this is the only time of the year when they have a complete set of accounts. Through them, you can see how much money you are making and spending; specifically, where the majority of your profits and revenue come from, and where your money is being spent – and if some of the expenses are unnecessary and can be cut.

You can also use 2017 reports to check on business health. Here are 3 tips to help you start your business on the right track in 2018.

Check the Health of Your Business

Other than revenue, profits, loss, available working capital, total assets, and debts to pay off, other factors within your financial statements can help you determine business health. For one, check the balance between revenue and expenses overtime. With business development and expansion, it’s perfectly normal to spend more on expenses. However, a healthy business will balance its revenue and expenses, with spending under control.

But more than financial ratios, comprehensive market research and understanding of clients bolster business success. It is paramount for a business to have a strong and well-thought-out business plan to cope with supply and demand uncertainties. A clear business plan helps align goals and unites your team by having their responsibilities defined and working towards a common vision. Haven’t got a business plan? Take the time to make one – it is of utmost importance.

Read more: “How Healthy Is Your Small Business? 5 Signs to Look For” and “Business Planning 101”

Better Manage Working Capital

Efficient working capital management ensures business liquidity. Liquidity may often be overlooked, but it is arguably as important as profitability. A business needs cash to cover short term expenses.

To figure out where you stand, calculate your current working capital ratio. Divide current assets such as cash, inventory, and accounts receivable by current liabilities. If the ratio is less than one, your business does not have enough working capital to settle short term debts. While the standard varies across industries, a ratio greater than 1 implies the business is in good financial position.

If you are struggling with managing working capital and need more cash, try looking into your stock inventory and invoice management practices. Perhaps you are carrying more inventory than needed and should adjust orders to optimize storage. Or perhaps much of your income is tied up in accounts receivable.

Read more: “How to make working capital work for you”

Consider a Business Loan in the New Financial Year

If your business goals for 2018 include big projects and development plans, maintaining sufficient capital is key. Depending on the amount of capital you need, you may need to apply for a business loan. Here are some instances where the timing may be right to start researching for suitable business financing:

  • You are looking to fund capital expenditure to optimize business productivity, (i.e, you need more equipment to accommodate growing sales volume but current profits are not sufficient to cover the costs).
  • You want to start business expansion or expand your product offerings. To do so, you need enough capital for various expenses, such as research and development, building new outlets and channels, hiring more human resources, launching marketing campaigns, etc.
  • You need to fix some cash flow issues, perhaps if invoice payments are late or consistently get stuck. Business solutions that allow you to convert accounts receivable to cash, such as invoice financing can help you enhance cash flow while you put a more efficient invoice process in place for your company.

The start of a new year is a hopeful time. You haven’t missed any deadlines and the days feel full of opportunities. This is the time to (a) discover problem points to fix, (b) understand how healthy your business is right now, and (c) know what to do in order to achieve all the targets you have planned for 2018. Good luck!


This article was written by Funding Societies, Singapore’s leading peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform. They provide working capital loans for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), along with attractive investment opportunities to the broader public.  To learn more about them, visit their website here.

Funding Societies is a DollarsAndSense Brand Connect partner. You can find out more about what they do on the DollarsAndSense Brand Connect Page.

Managing Personal Finances for Millennials

When it comes to personal finances, millennials often struggle. Older generations sneer, saying that the youth’s money problems stem from their own spending habits, from frequent eating out to coffee shops. That criticism has some merit. A recent survey conducted by Bankrate show that the average millennial eats out or buys take-out food 5 times a week.

Yet at the same, millennials earn 20% less than the boomers generation did at the same life stage, despite being better educated. No wonder young adults are so stressed out. They even spend four hours a week on average poring over personal financial matters at the office. With all the financial pressure, one’s daily lattes become less an indulgence and more of a self-care method.

What if you are a millennial looking to cut back on unnecessary spending? Good for you! It’s never too late to start managing your personal finances. Here are some tips to help you on your way.

Set a Bulletproof Budget

This one is an oldie but goodie. Setting a budget doesn’t mean obsessively tracking every penny or balancing your checkbook before bedtime. It means knowing how much of each paycheck should go towards savings, bills, shopping, and other needs. You’ll also need to prioritize which segment needs the most money. Basic needs such as food and shelter should become your priority, and then you can move on to internet and phone bills.

Budgeting will give you a good idea of where you might be overspending, so you can trim those expenses and possibly put that money towards a saving account or an investment.

Always, Always Pay Yourself First

When you’re young, there are many temptations. But while going out and spending money is fun, 5 years from now you will wonder why you didn’t start saving sooner. Start putting aside some of your income in a savings account. Your savings double as an emergency fund in case of any unforeseen circumstances.

How much money should you put aside in a saving account?

The safe answer would be as much as possible. However, a more practical amount would be 3-6 months of living expenses in savings. The savings account should also be easily accessible in case of an emergency, such as job loss, a car wreck, or medical needs.

Invest as Early as Possible

Saving money is important, yes, but it’s not enough to help you achieve long-term financial stability. As the years go by, inflation will make consumer goods more and more expensive. Grow your money by investing. The topic of investing sounds daunting for beginners, but it isn’t as complicates as it seems. Just spend some time researching and gaining at least the basic principles.

Take the time to know your personal risk tolerance, the risk and return principle, and how to diversify and reinvest your instruments. Investment products like time deposits and bonds are considered safer, so you can look into them if you are a beginner. But bear in mind that the return rates of these instruments are lower than riskier products.

Take Advantage of Finance Apps

If there is one thing millennials are most famous for, it would probably be their tech-savviness. They are eager for tech solutions that make life simpler and easier, including personal finance. In general, most millennials consider themselves more than qualified to handle their own finances. They just want a clear view of their financial situation. Fortunately, many startups have built finance apps to satisfy that demand. The Mint app helps you categorize your spending and keeps tabs on which category you are spending money on. You Need a Budget is an app that will help you stay aware of where every penny of your money is going.

Handling personal finances can be intimidating. But if you find it too stressful, don’t hesitate to ask for help from people you trust. Let’s start saving (and investing) as early as possible for a better financial future!


This article was written by Funding Societies, Singapore’s leading peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform. They provide working capital loans for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), along with attractive investment opportunities to the broader public.  To learn more about them, visit their website here.

Funding Societies is a DollarsAndSense Brand Connect partner. You can find out more about what they do on the DollarsAndSense Brand Connect Page.

Building The Best Team, No Matter How Small Your Business

A rookie mistake often made by those just starting a new business is thinking they can handle everything on their own. It’s still a small business, after all, so why would I need more people to help me, they think. As a small business owner, I should be able to wear many hats, they say.

However small a business started, it will eventually grow. So will yours. And every entrepreneur wants his business to consistently and steadily grow. Without the right team on your side, quality business growth is unlikely to happen. You need a great team and you can’t waste time when building one.

The thing is, building the best business team isn’t as easy as it sounds. How do you find the right people? How do you get them to work well together? How do you build the best business team even if your business is small?

Employing staff isn’t just about filling a role

Don’t rush into employing people just to fill a role. Ask yourself: what skills do I lack?

Answers to that question will help you identify what roles you must fill, along with the type of work you need the new person to do. In a small business, it’s important that the employees fit with the company and with each other, so make sure the people working with you believe in your business idea and vision. If they don’t, they won’t feel engaged and won’t bring additional value to your business.

Read also: Is Having No Job Better Than A Bad First Job?

Understand the strengths of each individual

It’s a given, each of your employee will enter the workplace with different personalities, quirks, and sets of values. Therefore, they will have different ideas about how to do their jobs. As a business owner, it’s important to recognize this, even if the way you work clash. People have different strengths and so long as your employees are contributing to your business in a healthy way, you’re on the right track. Just create an environment where people can channel their strengths and discuss their ideas or disagreements in an open, healthy fashion.

Explain your business goals

Before you officially start working with the new team, make sure everyone is on the same page. Let them know what they are aiming for and help them understand the goals of your business. It’s better if you have already created a vision of where your team should be —six months, a year, or two years from now. This will give your team a feeling for the situation in which they are working and the goals they are working towards.

Read also: Life At A Fintech Startup: 5 Interns Share Their Lessons Learned

Define roles as clearly as possible

Once everyone understand what the goals are, you can start bringing out the best in them. Make sure everyone is clear about their responsibilities, what is expected of them, and what is not. If you don’t make this clear, your team will work in confusion. They are not sure of their respective roles and boundaries. On a larger scale, business progress and efficiency will be affected.

Don’t forget that team roles are not static. As a business expands and various players show their strengths and results, you will need to periodically update roles and task list.

Are team building exercises necessary?

Here’s the honest answer: it depends. Small businesses are often fast-paced environments, so you need to get your team working together quickly. Team building exercises can help, but consider your budget to calculate whether you can afford them. Sometimes providing snacks when staff has to work late, or going to karaoke on a Friday night, is enough to get the band together and show that management cares.

In order to improve team performance, ask them to provide feedback. Listen carefully to what everyone says. Use the feedback to evaluate not only team performance, but also your own effectiveness as a leader. Last but not least: have fun building and growing a business with your new team!

This article was written by Funding Societies, Singapore’s leading peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform. They provide working capital loans for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), along with attractive investment opportunities to the broader public.  To learn more about them, visit their website here.

Funding Societies is a DollarsAndSense Brand Connect partner. You can find out more about what they do on the DollarsAndSense Brand Connect Page.

P2P Lending, on a Global Scale

In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, banks started making consumer lending stricter. Cheap, quick loans became difficult to acquire. Some consumers found it difficult to get loans even though they had good credit history. The environment of scarce credit and lengthy approval process became an opportunity for the alternative finance market, resulting in the growth of the peer-to-peer (P2P) lending space.

P2P lending utilizes online platforms to connect investors and borrowers, solving the issue of costly and time-consuming credit approval. The business model offers a cheaper and more accessible alternative credit solution. P2P lending has grown worldwide, and has become one of the fastest growing areas of alternative finance. But will this growth continue in the future?

The Growth of P2P Lending

P2P lending connects individuals with surplus money to invest with those seeking a loan. Depending on the P2P lending platform, one can apply for personal loans or small business loans. Add technology and alternative data utilization to the mix and you have a powerful new credit solution.

What was once a form of alternative finance is now entering the mainstream. The P2P lending industry is transitioning from its startup phase into adolescence and is moving fast towards becoming a high growth, mature, and stable market, which will bring great benefits to consumers of financial services.

So far, the industry has grown up without any significant growing pains. Defaults have stabilized and the market has continued to grow.

Global Opportunities

Globally, the market has shown tremendous growth. While the P2P lending industry has not fully matured, the situation has created enormous investment opportunities worldwide due to lending gaps and borrowers’ increased interest in P2P lending services.

In different parts of the world, P2P lending is looked at differently. In Canada and the UK, for example, P2P platforms are regulated as an intermediary, while in Germany and France, regulators regard P2P lending as similar to banks. In the United States, regulations vary from state to state. India has a significant estimated worth of P2P lending volume in just two years while China’s P2P market has grown exponentially over the past few years. The above shows how far P2P lending has grown since 2005, when the first P2P platform began operating in the UK.

Challenges for the Industry

As good as the P2P lending market appears right now, there’s still a long journey ahead to tackle. The P2P lending market hasn’t yet reached its full potential. There are many out there who still aren’t comfortable enough with the relatively new business model to use its services.

Additionally, there are several factors that will determine the future growth of P2P lending.  If interest rates rise, the number of loan defaults may also increase. Leading P2P lending platforms need to work around this or risk having the bubble pop. Either way, if the economy is overall doing well, the number of defaults would remain stable.

Another factor is competition from banks and other financial institutions. As P2P lending platforms gain mainstream attention, financial institutions have begun to take notice. However, many banks have chosen to partner with strong P2P players to widen their reach to the underserved segment at a lower cost.

So, will P2P lending continue to grow in the future? All signs point to “yes” – as any market experiences a transition to reach maturity, new risks will emerge. But so long as platforms continue to guard and innovate against such risks, the future of P2P lending is bright.

This article was written by Funding Societies, Singapore’s leading peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform. They provide working capital loans for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), along with attractive investment opportunities to the broader public.  To learn more about them, visit their website here.

Funding Societies is a DollarsAndSense Brand Connect partner. You can find out more about what they do on the DollarsAndSense Brand Connect Page.

Budgeting: Balance Your Spending

“My money keeps spilling out like water.”

Many of us have experienced the frustration of having too many expenses to track. We have to pay for housing, utilities, taxes, transportation, food, the list goes on. Sometimes we can’t catch a break despite bringing in a reasonably good income.

It’s normal to feel overwhelmed about expenses from time to time. But when the feeling expands to a paycheck to paycheck lifestyle, you need to start a budget.

A personal budget is your own spending plan. It’s necessary for a myriad of reasons. Budgeting helps you spend less than what you bring in. It helps you identify problem areas, such as impulse buys. It helps you prioritize your spending and manage your money. It also helps you keep track of your financial goals: are your savings progressing towards your short-term and long-term goals?

In spite of its importance in a solid financial plan, many people avoid budgeting. The word is unfortunately associated with deprivation and excessive cheapness. But a good budget means living well rather than living poor. A good budget, like most aspects of life, requires us to create balance.

Before crafting a personal budget, we first need to differentiate a want vs. a need.

Imagine three buckets. Bucket #1 is for compulsory expenses, such as food, rent or housing, and “overhead” costs like utilities. Generally, bucket #1 is categorised under fixed expenses and there shouldn’t be too much fluctuation of cost between months.

Bucket #2 is where you drop your investments and savings. Bank deposits, retirement funds, property investments, bonds, and stocks all belong to this category. Lastly, Bucket #3 is for discretionary spending, such as travel, shopping, hobbies, and nights out.

It’s easy to guess which are “wants” and which are “needs” isn’t it? Bucket #1 and Bucket #2 contain “must haves” while Bucket #3 contains “nice to haves.” While items in Bucket #3 are mainly “wants” and “nice to haves,” you still need to moderately indulge in them to live a happy, balanced life.

We also need to separate personal assets and liabilities. Assets include your house or apartment, your vehicles, your checking and savings accounts, and your investments. Alternative investments such as art and jewelry can also count.

Mortgage and car loans are liabilities, but will be considered assets when paid in full. Credit card debt and personal loans tread on more dangerous territory, as their interest rates are high and they don’t become assets when paid in full. Also, beware of indulging in too many “wants.” Eventually most of them depreciate to nothing, becoming sunk cost – when the money could have been used to purchase assets.

Read also: 5 Useful Tips To Keep Your Business Finances Healthy

On to business. Let’s discuss the three steps of budgeting:

#1 Start by tracking your spending

There are many ways to keep track of your expenses – there is no correct method. You can use a notebook and pen, a Word doc, an Excel spreadsheet, or even personal finance apps like Mint and Toshl Finance. What matters most is consistency.

Note down all your spending, even small ones like your daily latte – the point of this first step is to know where your money is going. Update your budget regularly so you won’t forget anything. Use accurate descriptions for your purchases, such as groceries, clothes, etc. Again, you want to know exactly where your money is going.

Tracking your spending is essential as it helps you identify problem spending areas and readjust your priorities. It also helps you tailor your own spending ratio.

#2 Analyze your expenses, prioritize, and create a spending ratio

Remember the three buckets? Most of your income should go to Bucket #1 (Compulsory Expenses) for food, lodging, and utilities. Try to achieve a good balance between Bucket #2 (Investment/Savings) and Bucket #3 (Discretionary Spending), especially if your notes on expenses show you are overindulging. Spend less on “wants” and think about your future financial goals without severely depriving your fun.

Figure out a ratio for where your income should go. This Forbes article suggests a 50/20/30 ratio for Buckets #1, #2, and #3. A Google search of the “personal budget chart” shows many different approaches to personal budgeting. The key here is finding the ratio that works for you. It is you who decide what your priorities are.

Can’t calculate a ratio? Don’t fret. Just try a ratio combination and see what fits your personal expenses and needs. Make adjustments if you need to.

Read also: 5 Steps For Better Cash Flow Management

#3 Track your budget overtime

Now that you’ve created a budget, here comes the most crucial step: sticking to it. Do your utmost to follow the spending ratios you’ve set up – with an emphasis on reasonably saving and investing your income. You can only gain the benefits of a personal budget if you track your progress and make sure you are spending below your income. Your budget acts as a progress report: are you prioritizing well and saving enough?

If you find it difficult to stick to a budget, you may be spending too much on unnecessary items – remember future goals like owning your own home! At the same time, if you’ve only started budgeting, relax. As time goes on, you’ll see a difference in your spending habits overtime. Check the difference in spending after 3 months. You might surprise yourself. Just stick with it.

This article was written by Funding Societies, Singapore’s leading peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform. They provide working capital loans for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), along with attractive investment opportunities to the broader public. 

Funding Societies is a DollarsAndSense Brand Connect partner. If you are interested to know them better, you can find out more on what they do on our DollarsAndSense Brand Connect Page.

The Best Advice We’ve Heard about Crowdfunding and P2P Lending

Don’t invest in a person or a company on the basis of its name and fame

The rise of crowdfunding and its offshoots have attracted big names. Celebrity artists like Neil Gaiman and Whoopi Goldberg have utilized crowdfunding campaigns. Businesses more familiar to our ears have tapped into peer-to-peer (P2P) lending. How exciting to invest in their projects!

Careful though! You know the saying: “if something is too good to be true… it usually is.” A famous person or big company can create awe and a false sense of security. We can automatically assume they are more investible. But be cautious, more often than not, crowdfunding and P2P lending are generally utilized by up-and-coming artists, growing startups, and SMEs. Of course, well-known establishments can choose to raise funds from crowdfunding or P2P lending, usually because crowdfunding provides a faster process.

How do we tell if these crowdfunding opportunities are the real deal? Treat famous names like any other investment. Objectively and don’t forget thorough due diligence. Ask the important questions: does this well-known figure have financial problems? How is this company doing according to its financial statements? Growing? Healthy? Well-run and profitable?

Do your research

Related to advice number 1, avoid fraud by asking for fact sheets (borrower background summary) and reviewing them. A crowdfunding or P2P lending platform should have performed their own assessment, but protect your funds by doing your homework and going through the assessment.

You are allowed to ask for the crowdfunded entity’s financial details if you are investing in it. In fact, be wary if you can’t access financial information easily.

It’s crucial to learn how to read financial documents. Learn which accounting elements show business health. Learn which accounting elements display promising business growth.

Read More: Is Your P2P Platform’s Interests Aligned With Yours?

Do diversify your loans

Our third advice relates more to P2P lending investors than crowdfunding donors. Crowdfunding backers tend to donate funds out of altruism or for intangible rewards. However, if you are crowdfunding as an alternative investment, diversifying your loans is a must do!

What is diversification? It simply means distributing your money across as many loans as possible to prevent loss in case of default.

No matter how thorough the due diligence, risk is an inevitable element of any investment. Diversification is the answer for such risks. For example, if you pour SGD 1000 in only one company and it defaults, your returns will drastically drop. You’ll probably lose money. Yet when you spread your funds to ten, twenty, even fifty businesses, your returns will remain positive and will stay close to the expected rate of return.

It’s important to repeat: diversification keeps your rate of return steady, even in the case of defaults.

Read More: Investing In An Uncertain World

Do reinvest your returns

Our final advice also pertains more for investors building a portfolio. If you want to maximize your venture into P2P lending, you need to start reinvesting.

What we mean by reinvesting is using your gains to fund other businesses. Reinvesting multiplies your returns. The compounding effect of such reinvestment can be very strong!

Without reinvestment, you simply receive gains according to a loan’s expected rate of return. Here’s an example: You invest SGD 1000 in a business that offers an annual 20% rate of return. The business succeeds. You earn returns of SGD 200 in a year.

Let’s see what happens when you reinvest. You invest SGD 1000 in a similar business that offers a 20% rate of return. After month 1, you earn a return of SGD 16.70 (from annual gain of SGD 200 divided by 12 months). Immediately, at the start of month 2, you reinvest the money into a similar loan. At the start of month 3, you reinvest your earnings from month 2 into yet another loan. And so it goes until the end of the year, when it is very likely you have doubled your investment instead of only gaining a profit of 20%.

Reinvestment requires minimum effort and is a great form of passive income. All the more reason it is a definite do!

Should you be interested in learning more about the many benefits of investing in P2P financing, click here.

This article was first posted on the blog of Funding Societies (Singapore). Click here for the original article.

Funding Societies is a DollarsAndSense Brand Connect partner. If you are interested to know them better, you can find out more on what they do on our DollarsAndSense Brand Connect Page.

Why Invest in P2P Lending?

Many people are new to peer-to-peer (P2P) lending as an investment option. Questions arise. Is it trustworthy? Does it fit my needs as an investor? Who else have invested in it?

All valid concerns. Nearly no one wants to jump in blind when it comes to investing hard-earned money. Not billionaires, not angel investors – even they do extensive research prior to investing. People want examples of successful P2P investors and whether P2P lending works for their portfolio.

However, you’d be surprised by how flexible this form of alternative investment is.

Flexibility

Let’s start with individual or retail investors. Why is a relatively new investment opportunity so appealing to this segment?

The financial market can strike one as tangled, complicated, and unpredictable. Where does one even begin? P2P lending can feel like a breath of fresh air as it offers a much simpler concept. Basically, it is a form of alternative investment where investors collectively fund loans and earn interest-based earnings in return. Think of P2P lending as profitable crowdfunding! Where crowdfunding projects usually support charities and artistic ventures, P2P lending lets you collect attractive returns.

Due diligence and credit assessment guides your choices

Also, compare P2P lending with stock investment. Navigating the stock market requires expertise and research. Credible P2P lending platforms perform all the necessary due diligence and credit assessment to guide your investing choices, which saves time.

You still need to do some of your own research though, so you can decide for yourself which businesses you want to invest in. But overall, P2P lending jargon is more accessible compared to other investments.

Read Also: Three Key Risks of P2P Lending

alternative and affordable

Other bonuses? The affordable entry. At Funding Societies, you can invest in each small business with as little as SGD 100. P2P lending is also a profitable, with returns up to 14% per year.

It’s easy to see why individual investors are seeking alternative investments like P2P lending. Through it, you make passive income with ease and you earn higher returns from lower capital.

Read Also: 3 Alternatives To A Dividend Portfolio

More and more, P2P lending is gaining popularity. Respected media outlets such as Forbes have talked about its benefits. P2P infrastructure is thriving and all the indications point to one conclusion: P2P lending is here to stay!

This article was first posted on the blog of Funding Societies (Malaysia). Click here for the original article.

Funding Societies is a DollarsAndSense Brand Connect partner. If you are interested to know them better, you can find out more on what they do on our DollarsAndSense Brand Connect Page.

Life At A Fintech Startup: 5 Interns Share Their Lessons Learned

At Funding Societies this summer, we welcomed a diverse group of interns from various universities in Singapore. To conclude their internship journey at Funding Societies, we had organized a HTHT session consisting of Kelvin Teo, co-founder & CEO and the summer interns of 2017:

  • Sherman Lim, BSc (Economics) and 2nd major in Strategic Management, Singapore Management University (SMU)
  • Clarissa Poedjiono, BSc (Information Systems), SMU
  • Eugene Ng, BBM (Finance), SMU
  • Victor Tan, BSc (Economics & Finance), Singapore Institute of Management – University of London (SIM-UOL)
  • Martin Indrawata, BA (Political Science), National University of Singapore (NUS)

Why intern at a FinTech Startup?

Victor: Like many of my peers, I work at a large company during summer break. However, after reading about Singapore’s startup culture and how the economy is primed for a startup ecosystem, I was certain that I wanted to work for a startup. As a finance student and someone who would use Fintech such as cashless transactions, virtual wallets and crowdfunding, I knew I wanted to learn all about what goes on behind the scenes in a FinTech startup.

Clarissa: As a major in Information Systems, I wanted to join a tech firm. After reading about the FinTech disruption in the banking sector, I realised that perhaps the best learning ground for me would be to join a tech start-up.

Sherman: Having interned at a traditional corporate set-up before, I thought it will be interesting to find out what it will be like to intern at a startup. Of course, I have heard many stories and read case studies in classes that working in a startup will be really hectic and challenging. I also thought this will be a good chance to explore what I wanted to pursue as a career. As to why FinTech, this is the latest trend in the financial sector and is sure to disrupt the business models of traditional financial institutions. I figured, why not join a FinTech startup to learn more about it.

Read More: My Greatest Takeaways From The 12-week Internship At Funding Societies

What was the job seeking and interview process like?

Clarissa: I found out about FS through SMU’s career portal. I found the background of the company and the job description attractive. I went through 2 rounds of Skype interview and 1 assignment submission.

Martin: I met Ishan (Head of Data Science) during a talk at NUS and he shared about the opportunity. The interview process was great as I got to learn more about the team dynamics and leadership of the company (as positively reflected by Xin Ying and Vikas, Head of Business Development and Marketing respectively). What I was heartened about was that my interviewers asked me on things non-related to the job, which I feel was a positive valuation of me as a potential contributor to the company.

Eugene: I got to learn about Funding Societies through a friend of mine who was going to work at Oliver Wyman, who was in turn told how one of the seniors at Oliver Wyman had left the company to join Funding Societies, a startup. The 2 co-founders are also from Harvard and consulting background. It goes to show the caliber of people who run the company, they hail from some of the best institutions around.

Oddest question during interview?

Sherman: Right at the start of the interview – “Do you have any questions for me?”

Victor: “How would your family describe you?”

Martin: “Why do you think Trump won the elections?”

Eugene: “Don’t you want to spend your holidays travelling instead?” (I did, but I definitely didn’t wanna travel for 4 months straight)

What were your most memorable moments during your internship?

Sherman: Definitely the karaoke session during the company retreat! I had a really enjoyable time with the entire company (including our Malaysian colleagues) unwinding and playing hard after an extended period of crazy and intense work. It was also funny seeing our bosses (Not Kelvin) doing the Macarena & Gangnam Style dance.

Victor: I recall all the nights the team spent together watching Game of Thrones which the company airs weekly. It’s really cool that the team stays back after work for dinner and watch TV together. Fun fact: The company even has a Slack channel dedicated to the discussion of our favorite TV show.

Eugene: The most memorable moments for me were all the small chats and hangouts with the colleagues in the office. They went pretty deep into personal viewpoints and philosophies, and I got a really good feel of the diversity in the office from these chats.

What have you learnt that you can apply in school or life?

Clarissa: As an Information Systems student, I’ve always strived to improve my technical skills and this internship has given me insights on how IT projects  solve real business problems. I got to run a flagship project with Sherman and was given freedom to explore the possibilities of executing the project. I was inspired by the leadership skills of the leaders in FS who were gifted yet very kind and helpful.

Victor: I think my biggest takeaway is the need to start broadening my scope and venture into skills beyond my own field. Especially in a startup, you have to make sure that you have multidisciplinary skills as you might be called upon to do a task that would require a skill set that is different from what you learn in school. For instance, I’ve witnessed how some basic coding skills can really help to accomplish certain tasks more efficiently as well. In a company sharing session, I remember Kelvin sharing about the need to learn as much as possible but also ensuring that you have a unique specialization to set yourself apart from others.

Eugene: Technically I’m already a graduate, so I’d say adaptability. The dynamism and pace in the workplace far exceeds that of school life, especially so in a startup like Funding Societies. It’s great to get used to being able to operate and thrive in such a charged up environment.

Has this internship met your expectations?

Sherman: Honestly this internship has exceeded my expectations. We were given full autonomy to initiate and drive projects in the company with the full support of our mentors and the teams. I even commenced my investment journey here by investing into loans on the platform. I have seen how detailed the SME assessment is and that gives me the confidence to earn handsome returns.

Clarissa: It has exceeded my expectations in every way. I’m thankful for the people I got to work with and the skills that I got from this internship.

Victor: Definitely. I didn’t expect to learn from so many brilliant individuals. (The team consists of alumni from various local universities and from different disciplines, including NUS, SMU and SIM as well as alumni from Ivy-league universities including Harvard, Stanford and LSE. I had the opportunity to learn vastly different skill sets from the best and the brightest people.

Martin: Exceeded expectations. The amount of smart and driven people crowded into a 15m by 10m room (old office at Raffles Place), plus my wonderful mentor (Xin Ying) made my 7 weeks there an amazing one.

Kelvin: Yes, FS would be a full step slower, if not for our interns. It’s amazing what one can achieve, if you put a little faith in them. All our interns in the previous batch has joined us full-time. We’d be delighted to have our star interns onboard too before or after their graduation, including Eugene even if he’s joined the ‘dark side’.

Read More: This New App Can Help You Kick Start Your Investment Journey

Weirdest thing you’ve done in FS?

Sherman: Doing the Macarena & Gangnam Style dance with the bosses. It was weird but still fun.

Victor: I literally designed the toilet signs. The Game of Thrones fans in office (probably half the office) was upset that we couldn’t name the meeting room after the locations in Game of Thrones and Lord of the Rings, so as consolation we named the toilets Hodor for ladies and Mordor for men.

Martin: I used Kelvin’s nerf gun (Sorry Kelvin) and had a nerf battle with some of the team members after work!

Advice for future interns?

Sherman: Be a sponge and absorb as much as you can during your internship. Always be ready to learn and accept challenges even if you think you do not have the skills required. The FS team is always ready to guide and support you along the way.

Martin: Come in with an open mind. Be prepared to accelerate your learning, because the learning curve will be steep. Talk to everyone, especially someone from a function you don’t know much about. Ask, ask, ask; but also ask the right questions – questions you cannot find the answers for in Google. If your reaction to topics like UI/UX or Software Engineering is “eeeh, so difficult”, then FS is not the place.

Eugene: Don’t be choosy about what you do, there’s no place for picking and choosing in a startup. Nobody can silo themselves off as just “Business Development” or “Tech”, everybody has to synergize with each other in order for the company to thrive. If this means doing something outside of your own job scope or your initial expectations, just embrace it! It’s another chance to learn.

Kelvin: “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the others in speech, in conduct, in values, in faith and in conscience.”

This article was first posted on the blog of Funding Societies (Singapore). Click here for the original article.

Funding Societies is a DollarsAndSense Brand Connect partner. If you are interested to know them better, you can find out more on what they do on our DollarsAndSense Brand Connect Page.

Investing in an Uncertain World

Here’s an example of how uncertainty can affect the average investor: prior to the 2016 US Election Day, most polls had projected a Hillary Clinton victory. The eventual result was different, not to mention unexpected. The shock impacted the markets even before the official winner was declared. As Donald Trump’s victory became more and more assured, gold prices soared; the metal is generally seen as a safe asset and a hedge against inflation. Meanwhile, emerging market stocks tumbled and the US dollar reached its highest point since 2003.

In the immediate aftermath of the 2016 USA elections, the markets certainly reacted and the fluctuation reflected anxiety for the future. Investors asked: is long-term market stability still possible? Will the markets continue on this volatile streak? Will they calm after a while? Given a situation of financial instability, what should the typical investor do?

Donald Trump’s victory was a catalyst for financial swings, but the reality is, market instability often happens and investors need to prepare accordingly. Certain (but not excessive) precautions should be taken to buffer against unexpected upheavals. How to do so? Diversify your portfolio, hunt for new investment opportunities, and stay calm even during choppy times.

Diversify Your Portfolio

Political events often upset both the markets and investor confidence. Some investors choose to behave in a more conservative manner (see the spike in demand for gold immediately after the 2016 USA presidential elections). Others choose to try and time the market in the middle of insecure times by pulling their assets and getting back in later when the markets stabilize.

But timing the market is a very risky affair, even for experts. If you want to fortify your portfolio in anxious times, you should diversify across different asset classes and rebalance your instruments periodically to maintain your risk profile.

Telling investors to diversify is very basic advice, but think about it. Diversifying your investments is something you can control in the midst of uncertainty. You get to choose which instruments to purchase and how much money you are comfortable allocating into each asset class.

The main idea here is to balance the potential for risk and reward. For example, let’s say your portfolio consists of company stocks and precious metals. Your stock value may have been erratic over the USA election season, but the value of your gold has gone up. As you can see, with a well-diversified portfolio, you remain in the clear if the stock markets fluctuate for the long-term, as your returns aren’t determined by the performance of a single asset class.

Don’t overload yourself with real-time market information, but do look at all asset classes and see how they will fit into your portfolio and your risk tolerance. The bottom line is: if your overall portfolio is doing fine, then geopolitical situations matter less.

Read Also: This Infographic Will Tell You All You Need To Know To Defend Your Investments

This Is a Good Time to Hunt for New Investment Opportunities

If you think your investment portfolio is already well-balanced and you have covered the basics (fixed deposits, bonds, gold, stocks, etc), you can research new places to invest your money. There is an advantage to routinely looking at all the available options and seeing how they fit your portfolio because over time, asset classes produce different results. So to maintain your preferred risk profile, an investment portfolio needs periodic rebalancing.

If the current market climate is rendering you a little skittish, you can try investing small sums into alternatives. Technology, for instance, can be a promising sector.

Internet stocks are obvious suspects. Think about how essential brands like Google have become. But note that unless you are an early investor in these tech companies, your returns won’t be spectacular. Also, if you already own company stocks, other areas in technology can answer the gap in your portfolio.

Innovative and profitable technology companies are not exclusive to Western markets. One technology-based investment opportunity that’s growing in Singapore is peer-to-peer (P2P) lending, which utilized online platforms to match borrowers and investors. Borrowers take out financing for working capital or other business necessities, while investors who had collectively funded the financing opportunities gain interest-based earnings in return. Investing in P2P lending has several benefits: good return rates higher than deposits or bonds, a low entry barrier suitable for those wanting to try the business model first, and a streamlined online process.

Despite being a relatively new instrument, a study by the UK Peer to Peer Finance Association (P2PFA) stated that so long as investors are educated and the regulatory framework is sound, P2P lending does notcreate systemic risk. In fact, defaults would need to increase at least threefold from current levels to whittle down investor interest rates to below zero.

These days, certain apps can give you real-time updates on your favorite investments or even figure out the best investment mix for you. New opportunities are out there. Take the time to research and find new investments you can be confident in. Look for instruments with good growth that you can feel secure in.

Stay Calm and Don’t Make Rash Decisions

Yes, it can be difficult to enact this advice when your portfolio contains your hard-earned money, future hopes, and retirement plans. Investing can be as emotional as politics, making it difficult to stop watching the market’s every move. Yet it is counterproductive to overanalyse the current situation; there are too many variables. All the information overload can induce panic and cause you to “sell low, buy high” instead of the other way around. Additionally, don’t succumb to the temptation of making speculations. Impulsive decisions can change your portfolio drastically and at the moment, you need a balanced and stable portfolio.

Read Also: Invest Based On Your Investment Objectives, Not What Others Are Saying

Funding Societies is a DollarsAndSense Brand Connect partner. If you are interested to know them better, you can find out more on what they do on our DollarsAndSense Brand Connect Page.