How To Grow The Ang Pow Money Your Receive This Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year is just around the corner and it is an exciting season for many reasons – it’s the best time to catch up with your family over good food, to do house visitations and of course to receive Angpaos. (Chinese red packets containing money gifts) However, many people do not know what to do with their Angpao money.

At a younger age, their parents would usually help to keep them in a bank account. After a certain age, many will end up spending a portion of their Angpao money to splurge on an item they’ve been eyeing and stick the remaining portion in the bank. But all of these are actually missed opportunities to make your Angpao money work harder for you!

If you have ever wanted to try investing but always felt that you didn’t have enough capital to start with, this is the golden opportunity for you to start making small investments and build up! For first-time investors, it may seem daunting to make your first investment and you may be wondering how and where to invest your money. Thus, we have compiled a list of 3 simple ways you can start growing your Angpao money!

Singapore Savings Bond

Singapore Savings Bond (SSBs) are safe, long-term and flexible bonds that are offered by the Singapore government. You can start by making small investments from as little as $500 and receive an interest on your investment that will grow over the duration of 10 years. SSBs are also one of the safest instruments as it is backed by the Singapore government (which has received the strongest “AAA” credit ratings from international credit rating agencies). Moreover, an attractive feature of SSBs is its flexibility where you can cash out your bond at the end of every month and still retain whatever interest you have accrued up to that point – a feature that most of the other bonds do not have! You can head on over to SSB’s website to read up more on it.

Contribute to Your CPF Account

If you are above the age of 18 and are working, you are likely to already be automatically contributing to your CPF Account.

It is wise to top-up your CPF account for a multitude of reasons. Firstly, it does not hold any risks as it is guaranteed by the Singapore government. Secondly, it offers attractive interest returns especially since it holds such low risk – up to 3.5% per annum for the Ordinary Account (OA) and up to 5% per annum for the Special Account (SA). This interest return is better than most bank savings accounts and even safer than investments in big firms. Thirdly, you can receive tax reliefs if you top up to a certain amount, which you can find more information about on the CPF website.

However, it is important to note that a downside to topping up your CPF account is that your investments will be ‘locked’ in your account till withdrawal after you reach 55 years old or through paying for housing or medical bills through MediSave.

Investing in Peer-to-Peer Investments

Peer-to-Peer investments (P2P lending) are an alternative investment option that gives investors an opportunity to earn passive income by financing business loans for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Our platform connects investors and SMEs looking for business funding, allowing individuals to earn interest on the business loans you invest in.

P2P lending is an easy-to-understand instrument where you can expect your first repayment in as fast as a month after the funds have been disbursed to the SME. Funding Societies will perform a scorecard-based risk assessment to minimise the risk involved in your investment. You can expect returns of up to 14% p.a. depending on the risk profile and is also a great way to diversify your portfolio if you are an experienced investor. You can read more on the  “Overview of P2P lending in Singapore” here!

An attractive feature of investing with Funding Societies is that you can make small investments starting from just $20! It is easy to start investing with us, and you can begin by following our Step-by-Step Guide to Investing!

We hope that this article has motivated you to start growing your Angpao money in these 3 simple ways. Chinese New Year does not have to be just a season of splurging and indulging but it can also be one where you start building your financial securities!

How To Get Financially Organised With Your Other Half

If you ask psychologists the secret to a happy and successful marriage, they would probably tell you to be in the moment with your partner, always focus on the positive, keep the love alive, etc. In romantic relationships, especially when you are considering the next step, i.e., getting married, it totally makes sense to keep romance at the center – it’s the element that keeps the relationship going. But dedicating all your time and energy to maintain the romance is dangerous, as it takes many facets to create a successful marriage. An important factor to consider? Your financial situation.

You and your significant other may be well, but are your finances well? Once you get married, many things become intertwined. Literally, two different people – their individual systems, habits, weaknesses, etc. – become one unit. Whether you like it or not, an important aspect that is always, always linked with marriage and one that you can never get away from is (surprise!) money. In fact, Terri Orbuch, a therapist and researcher, said that “Money is the No. 1 source of conflict in relationships.” However, fear not! Marriage is a beautiful thing. Marriage + money? When done right, you’ve set up the foundation for a happy, lasting union.

Ditch the “My Money/Your Money” Mindset

At first, it will be hard to think of your earnings as “our” money, especially when you and your partner have different attitudes towards money. You may be a spender, while your partner may be an avid saver. But now that you’re together, it would be wise to decide right away how you and your partner would manage finances as a married couple. One of the first money questions that couples planning to marry should ask is how they would deal with bank accounts. Will you have separate accounts? Or will you both create a joint account? Or will you have a mix of both separate and joint accounts? The decision is yours and your partner’s to make, but remember to come to an agreement early on. Most of the time, it helps to establish a combination of both joint and individual accounts. The former should be used for family expenses, such as mortgage or rent, utilities, groceries, etc., while the latter can be utilized for your personal spending – be it a handbag or a weekend getaway to Bali with your homies.

But before you start talking about bank accounts, take a step back and assess your current financial health together with your loved one. Some of the things that are crucial for you to consider reviewing include:

  • Savings ratio,
  • Debt to income ratio,
  • Emergency savings,
  • Net worth statement,
  • Expenses.

And if you haven’t already, do yourself and your married life a favor by creating a basic financial plan.

Budget, Budget, Budget

Once you’ve gotten used to the concept of “our money”, it’s time to budget. If you’re used to budgeting solo, this is the time to get serious about creating a family budget. As previously mentioned, your partner may have spending habits completely different from yours. Similarly, he/she may bring assets or liabilities into the household. Taking time to set up a budget would not only help to keep your lifestyle in check, it would also contribute to financial success in your marriage.

To develop the most realistic household budget, keep in mind both short and long-term expenses. Your partner and you must understand where your money is going every month. When you’re done building your family budget, stick to it and update when needed.

In terms of investing, it is recommended to diversify your investments by allocating your funds into various financial instruments and industries. Doing so could help mitigate investment risk. You and your partner can construct an investment portfolio according to your preferences and risk tolerance. For instance, 70% of your portfolio can be directed towards deposits and bonds, 20% in stocks, and 10% in cash or likewise. The more you diversify, the more you minimize risk. Every investment has risks involved, so your partner and you should discuss how adventurous your investment portfolio would be. Keep in mind your shared financial goals to direct your decision.

Open & Often Money Talks

In a study by Fidelity, 72% of couples say they communicate very well with each other on financial matters, yet more than 40% of the couples surveyed didn’t know about their partners’ earnings. If you’re in a relationship and thinking of marriage, you already know that communication is key. The same goes for money matters. You need honest, frequent conversations. Strive to do it weekly, but bi-monthly or monthly is fine. Ease into it by talking about career goals, how many children you’d like to have, future vacation plans, retirement plans, and so on. Then move on to everything money-related: money history, money goals, money fears, money weaknesses, the works.

It’s normal for a couple to have differences in financial knowledge and experiences. More often than not, one spouse takes the lead in money matters, as he/she has the better skill set to evaluate investment options or complex financial transactions. This is totally okay, as long as the other person is also involved and well-informed. Without these open and often money talks, lack of awareness from your spouse and/or you might lead to bigger problems down the road.

Money management in our personal lives is a huge deal, let alone in a marriage. This money journey belongs to your other half and you, so walk the journey together and build your wealth together. Your partner and you deserve a happy and lasting marriage – don’t let finance cause your relationship grief. Of course, every couple is different. Hence, there’s no “one system fits all” when it comes to money management in marriage. It’s never guaranteed to be easy, but one thing is for sure: planning ahead definitely helps.

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.

Saving In The Digital Era

We’ve all been there before: at first, we were just absentmindedly scrolling through our Instagram feed when we come across a beautifully made travel bag or trendy sneakers posted by a brand account. Next thing we know, we’ve placed our order and we’re ready to make a purchase.

Everything happened too fast! When the order arrives at our door, our satisfaction levels are high. But in mere days we realize we didn’t really need the product in the first place.

Temptation is everywhere in the digital era, and it’s becoming harder and harder to save money. With the rise of technology and social media, online shopping is just one easy click away. If you fall prey to too many ill-considered purchases, you will soon have bad financial habits.

So how do you save money in the social media era?

Set up automatic deposits into your saving accounts

Establish a budget, period. When you have an accurate view of your income and expenses, you can start improving your personal finances. Once you have set a budget and clear goals, get in the habit of saving money by automating the process. Set up regular and automatic deposits into your savings and investments accounts, either directly from your paycheck or from your checking account.

Get a money buddy

According to an MIT study, friends with similar traits can pick up good habits from each other. Financial planners also recommend having someone to hold you accountable for the task at hand to increase effectiveness and deliver stronger results.

Consider using the concept to save more money. You don’t need a finance whiz, you can find a partner in a friend, a parent, a sibling, or your own spouse. Set an achievable savings goal and ask your money buddy to monitor your progress and keep you on track.

Solo shopping

When it comes to shopping, it’s fun to shop with company. For the sake of personal finance, however, it’s better to shop alone. In a fun and relaxed mood, your friends might encourage you to buy more things than you intended. Obviously, it’s not healthy for your financial condition.

If you still want some company, ask your money buddy to accompany you. They are monitoring your personal finance progress, after all – chances are they won’t suggest shopping as a way to have fun in the first place.

When you get a raise, raise your savings too

Everyone says they would save more when they have more. But do people actually do it? When we get a raise, usually the first thing we do is buy something expensive to celebrate the occasion. Maybe a handbag, or plane tickets to a dream destination.

Celebratory spending is fine. Some self-reward is healthy. But remember to increase your automatic monthly transfer to savings as well. It might be painful now, but you will reach your personal finance goals faster if you allot more money to your savings and investments from a younger age.

Ultimately, saving enough money comes down to willpower and contentment. Do you have enough willpower to save? Are you okay with not having more right now? If you can develop both these qualities, you will grow wealthy over time.