A Really Simple Guide On Investment Products To New Investors

Guide on investment products

[9 min read]

Written by Sherwin Chan, edited by Jackie Tan

Hello readers of fundMyLife articles! If you have read my two previous articles, which are here and here, you probably figured that I am relatively new to investing that has just a couple of years of experience.

Truthfully, when I first said to myself that I needed to start investing, I had a lot of inertia in the early stages because I didn’t know where to look for information or even what type of information I should be researching. And that’s why I am writing this article for those who are new to investments. Hopefully, I can be of some form of guidance to them.

What this article will cover is:

  1. How each kind of investment is suitable to the needs of different groups of people
  2. Pros and Cons of the major investment types
  3. My humble advice

Here’s the kind of investment that is covered below: 1) Stocks, 2) Bonds, 3) ETFs, REITs, and Index Funds, 4) Insurance products, 5) Alternative Investments

Disclaimer: this article should serve only as a general introduction to investment products. As such, do your own research and due diligence before you purchase any investment products. 

#1 Stocks

Who is it suitable for?

There’s no definite answer to this question. Why? It’s because there are so many stocks out there that every kind of investor can almost certainly find a stock that matches their financial needs. Still, pairing your financial needs doesn’t mean you should plunge straight into the stock market. There are other factors to consider as well.

For instance, one must have good knowledge and have the time to track how the stock market moves to time the entry and exit well. This knowledge is a combination of fundamental analysis and technical analysis because if you enter and exit the stock market at the wrong time or pick the wrong ship to board (analogy), you probably will lose money or won’t earn as much. Also, you should have sufficient financial and mental strength to weather volatility. The stock market is very liquid which results in high transaction volume, and therefore prices change quickly based on new information or market irrationality. As such, having the financial strength to weather volatility is critical, and you shouldn’t enter the stock market if you’re dumping a significant portion of your assets into it. Always be prepared for the worst.

Pros & Cons:

Pros:

  1. Potential for very high returns. (Look at Apple, Google 10 years ago and now)
  2. Some stocks offer stable, consistent dividends that investors can rely on as income.
  3. Almost all industries that you can think of are covered, and this is an excellent avenue for diversification across sectors.
  4. Stocks are easy to liquidate due to the ample liquidity in the market.

Cons:

  1. Higher risk especially if you pick wrong.
  2. Higher volatility in the short run than the long-term
  3. Time and effort are required for analysis.

My humble advice

Don’t be afraid of entering stocks! I know most of my peers are quite apprehensive about entering the stock market because to them, as newbies, it is venturing into the unknown. I genuinely understand that anxiousness, but it’s important to take your baby steps at the start. As I always mention to my friends, always start small and make as many mistakes as you can when your base capital invested is small. It’s better to lose $3,000 now than to lose $30,000 in the future. The earlier you make mistakes, the more you’ll learn because you know what doesn’t work. I’ve mentioned other advice regarding stocks on my first article here that I can only reiterate. Read voraciously, don’t limit yourself and test your pick across different strategies!

#2 Bonds

Who is it suitable for?

Bonds are suitable for those looking a regular source of income. Most bonds provide regular coupon payments that are stated in the terms, and this payment is pretty much guaranteed so long as the company doesn’t default on it. Bonds are also suitable for those looking for diversification sources from stocks and other forms of investments because bonds are stable long-term investments that can provide a decent income. Also, because it is usually recommended to hold the bond till maturity, investors should have sufficient financial strength to hold them until maturity.

Pros & Cons:

Pros:

  1. Returns are fixed and pretty much guaranteed so long as the company doesn’t go kaput
  2. Less risky in general compared to stocks in general
  3. You get the benefit of knowing what a good bond versus a junk bond thanks to credit rating companies

Cons:

  1. Sizeable principal sum needed to purchase the bond in the beginning
  2. May lose value in the future if interest rates rise especially for longer-term bonds
  3. May lose value if you don’t hold them until maturity
  4. Not as liquid as stocks.

My humble advice

Don’t shy away from junk bonds. It’s not that I’m saying you should buy junk bonds, instead, do give some considerations to junk bonds as well because junk bonds often have higher returns that AAA-rated bonds. Remember, go for the bond that you feel comfortable with and can maximize your wealth. Also, don’t underestimate the interest rate risks on bonds especially for those investing in long-term bonds. For all investors, it is essential to have a basic understanding of how the interest rates move and how it affects your investments.

#3 ETFs, REITs, Index Funds

Who is it suitable for?

For this class of assets, while ETFs, REITs and Index Funds are entirely different things, one thing they have in common is that they are all baskets of investments. These usually hold more than one financial product in it and as such, are decently diversified within itself. This means that there are less diversifiable risks and hence provide a safe investment with not so bad returns. Additionally, since it is usually passively managed by a finance professional, it is suitable for those who have no time to micro-manage their portfolio and for newbies who are risk-averse and not sure of what other investment products to venture into.

Pros & Cons:

Pros:

  1. Can provide stable returns
  2. Have lower volatility than individual stocks
  3. An easy way to track the health of an industry/sector/economy
  4. Some are passively managed while finance professionals actively manage some
  5. Good for newbies who are not sure of what stock to buy but know what sector is good. (Reduces the chances you make a costly mistake)

Cons:

  1. Returns are lower than individual stocks
  2. For those managed by finance professionals, you still must pay management fees even if you don’t make a profit
  3. If you do make money, they also take a cut of your profit
  4. Your exposure may be too focused on the industry/sector causing you to have systemic risk

My humble advice

Always check what is contained in the basket you are buying. If you don’t check what’s inside the basket you are purchasing; you’ll never know whether there are golden eggs inside or rotten eggs inside. As such, it is essential to understand what you’re buying. I mean, it’s basic common sense to know what you’re buying right? Additionally, always be sure to check the management fees and the commission fees the finance professionals are getting from you. In times of recession and periods of low return, these small amounts make a huge difference in whether you make a net profit or a loss.

#4 Insurance products

Who is it suitable for?

Almost everyone. Now, talking about insurance warrants its series of articles but thankfully fundMyLife has covered this topic here and touched on the basics of it. But as a summary, there are many different forms of insurance available out there in the market, and you really should talk to a financial consultant to understand more and tailor your needs to the correct financial products. However, in general, it is suitable for people seeking ultra-long-term financial security and for those who are risk averse but do not want to earn the measly interest rates a savings account in the bank provides. Also, it is advised that you hold these products for the long term to enjoy the full benefits of it and hence, it is more suitable for those who have the financial capability to sustain this commitment.

Pros & Cons:

Pros:

  1. Returns are stable especially if you hold for ultra-long-term
  2. With proper research and planning, some have high bonuses over the long run
  3. Variety of insurance products are massive, and some will suit your needs

Cons:

  1. Returns may be lower than the market average
  2. Some products are not suitable if you need high liquidity in the short term
  3. You need to read all the fine print and understand everything inside it
  4. Most products require regular premium top up
  5. Be careful not to be scammed by those products that promise high returns but may not suit your long-term needs

My humble advice

I am no expert in insurance products and as such, implore you to read other fundMyLife articles on the basics of insurance as a start. One thing to know about insurance is that while there are many financial consultants out there who are out to eat your commission, there are many others who have a genuine passion in helping you meet your financial needs. One way to protect yourself is to do your research before engaging one to prevent yourself from falling into investment traps.

#4 Alternative Investments

Who is it suitable for?

Alternative investments here are those types of investments that don’t fall under the above four categories. For example, the most prominent alternative investment product is currently cryptocurrency. Other forms of alternative investments include art, vintage cars, timepieces, wine, etc. While there are many alternative types of investments out there, these usually don’t have the size and liquidity of the above four, and as such, I only recommend it to those who are willing to take risks and for those seeking to diversify away from regular investment products.

Pros & Cons:

Pros:

  1. Returns can be eye-popping (Bitcoin if you time it well)
  2. A wide range of choices available for you and as such, provide useful avenues for diversification

Cons:

  1. Returns can be wild, and losses can be massive (Again, look at bitcoin)
  2. Information about it is a lot lesser and are less accurate than those provided by reputable firms.
  3. Usually not very liquid investments

My humble advice

Truthfully, I am not well versed enough in this area of investments that I can provide you guidance per se. However, what I can tell you is that this area of finance is niche, and most investors are not suited for it. If you ever dabble in this area, make sure you do your proper research on the technical details, legal details etc.

Conclusion

What I have written above is just a simple guide for newbies to understand more about the different product types and by no means a comprehensive list. Newcomers should still do their research on every kind of investments and more importantly, understand their individual financial needs and goals so purchase the correct investment products. It is imperative also to have some basic finance knowledge before you genuinely commit your money into the investment. All the best and may you be profitable in your endeavours!

Been doing lots of research, but not sure who to engage to take the final step? Look no further! fundMyLife connects you to credible and incredible financial advisers privately and anonymously, based on the financial planning questions that you ask. We aim to empower Singaporeans to make financial decisions confidently.

Follow us on our fundMyLife Facebook page to get exciting updates and your dose of finance knowledge! Alternatively, the Insurance Discussion SG Facebook group is a good place to discuss insurance-related topics with fellow Singaporeans.

My First Time Was Painful (When I Started Investing)

Why and how I started investing

[6 min read]

Written by Sherwin Chan, edited by Jackie Tan.

How I got lucky with boredom

Before you read on, what I have written below is more on how I got started with stock investing and some snippets of suggestions inserted based on my personal experience. It won’t be a long read but neither will it be short. Hopefully, I can provide prospective investors with some peace of mind of what to expect. I’ll follow this article up with another one that will help you understand the different types of financial opportunities and how some will not suit you.

Boredom

I started investing due to boredom.

Now hear me out, it is not that I do not have the awareness that early financial planning would be beneficial in the future, but rather the reason why I first picked up a book related to investments was merely due to boredom. I started investing when I was in the army doing my national service; I was a clerk and was fortunate enough to stay out (go back home daily). Since my daily duties were not physically exhausting, by the end of the day, I had sufficient energy to engage in my hobbies – binge watching my favourite shows.

As time grew on, I got bored of the routine where I just “consume YouTube videos like there is no tomorrow” lifestyle and decided to read more educational non-fiction books instead. This led me to non-fiction books that eventually brought me to topics like economics and investments. I decided to pick up the book on “Stock Investments for Dummies” (I was a dummy then so I might as well start from the book designed for me) and was pretty apprehensive about it at first but still gave it a shot.

Me giving a shot at the book led me to spend the next four months intensely devouring its contents. I studied my book as if I was taking A Levels and learned lots of stuff from it. Now, I’m not promoting the book but merely telling you how I felt when I first dabbled in a topic that I did not know. I was like a caveman seeing the fire for the first time; everything was new and too exciting for me to pass. I’m sure that’ll be the case for you newcomers as well.

Suggestion #1: Your first book should give you the general idea of where to begin

While we are on this note about what books to start with, I suggest newcomers pick up a book that covers the different forms of investments. I started with “Stock Investing for Dummies” (more specialised to stocks) partly because I already knew I wanted to try stocks first before others, but also because I couldn’t find the “Investment for Dummies”, the more general one, and was lazy to go find it on other bookstores. For beginners, always know what choices are available to you first before picking one and going to learn more deeply about it. This means knowing what a bond is, what are ETFs, what are REITs and all the other possible investment products available out there for you. The more you know about each type, the better you can invest based on your needs. Ultimately, if you don’t know anything about investments, it’s best to start with the definition, scope and depth of it first! I will be covering more the different forms of investments in the follow-up article that will be so stay tuned!

Creating my first account

Apologies for the slight digression above but that’s how I am going to place my suggestions. They are all just snippets of useful information, that will be inserted wherever appropriate. Going back to my story…

I eventually got into the process of creating my first brokerage account with DBS Vickers Securities, and it was at this point that I felt that I should have done more. I was naïve then and just assumed that a good brand name for a company was all there is to a brokerage account; I’m not saying that my experience DBS Vickers is terrible, in fact, my experience so far with them has been positive. All I am saying is I did not do the necessary research properly before choosing my brokerage firm. I was lucky that DBS is an excellent firm with a strong reputation, but for other first-timers into the investment scene, I shall create a short to-research list about the brokerage account in the follow-up article (otherwise we would never end this article). For now, let me just share with you my experience when I created mine.

When I first wanted to create an account, I was not eligible for a full trading account (above 21 years old) and signed up under their young investor scheme (18-20 years old) instead. They explained to me what the benefits of having their trading account was and gave me a short risk-profile test and sizing my investment knowledge. Which basically went like this…

Well, the picture might have slightly simplified things but what I can say is that they do all the assess you in a natural flow of conversation that helps keep young, apprehensive investors like me at ease. They also informed me that the brokerage account is different from your usual bank account and how to top up money into it to start trading. They also explained the different avenues which they can help me improve my knowledge of investments. I eventually got my brokerage account and SGX CDP account (requirement if you wish to trade in SGX) created at one go in 15 minutes. With this, I finally had a powerful platform to start my stock picking.

Devouring information

Now doing all the above will only give you the platform to start investing. The other, more difficult portion is knowing what to buy. What I’ve learned over the past couple of years is the importance keeping up to date with industry, economic, political trends and random information off the news. During the whole course of the journey, it is essential that you know everything and anything about the stock you want to buy or already have. Only when you know the latest trends, predictions in the future can you be “in-the-know” about what stock to buy, whether the industry is expanding, threats to your company etc.

Suggestion 2: Start reading early

You don’t have to have an investment account to start knowing what is happening around the world. A lot of news event around the world occurs in a sequence of events; they don’t happen singularly. For instance, predictions you hear about quantum computing doesn’t just come from the wild imagination of a tech geek, these futurists often have seen information and news from around the world that gradually roll out. If you don’t expose yourself to this small but gradual steady stream of information, you will never be able to analyse trends yourself and must always rely on others. What I’m saying is if you’re the kind of person that doesn’t have the habit of reading news regularly, it’s difficult to follow what is happening in the world and that puts you at a considerable disadvantage over other investors in the market. You’ll always be behind the curve. So, start early!

Choosing the first stock

The first stock I picked was a company listed in SGX. It was G92: China Aviation Oil and getting to this stage where I decided my first stock took me two weeks of research. How I went about choosing my first stock was looking at things from a macro to a micro perspective. Firstly, I analysed the country and the sector that I thought had growth potential. In this case, I chose China’s booming aviation sector. After which, I decided on the industry within the sector, and this was the aviation fuel supplier business which China Aviation Oil was engaged in. I mean, planes need fuel to fly so being in the aviation fuel business would suggest that this industry would be part of the booming sector. After choosing the industry, I narrowed down to the different companies and set a price target to buy & sell. Once I felt the price was sufficiently low and had excellent earnings potential, I bought the stock.

How I chose my first stock may seem easy but trust me, it was tough. Firstly, there are many booming industries and stocks with high potential and narrowing it down to one was hard. It is always best to have a few shares in mind eventually and pick one with the most earnings potential based on the current and future market price. There is a reason why I took two weeks to do this because there were many considerations and it is okay to feel lost during all the research. After all, the companies and industries on the list are probably those that you never heard of so take your time to understand as much as you can!

Suggestion 3: Don’t limit yourself

You may have heard from your parents, investment gurus that blue-chip stocks (large established firms) are stable and provide excellent earnings. While it is true they are stable; they may not offer the BEST gains. Don’t just limit yourself to a particular type of stocks, countries, industries etc. Always keep an open mind and do your stock screening well. Always remember to do your research correctly and BELIEVE IN YOURSELF! It’s better to make mistakes when your starting capital is small than make an error in the future when your wealth is more substantial.

Suggestion 4: Test whether your pick survives the different ways of picking a stock

My method of going from macro to micro can be a way which you choose shares. However, there are many other strategies which people employ. Pick an approach first and once you have a few companies narrowed down, test them with different strategies and see whether they survive the litmus test and is still worthy of a purchase. The stock doesn’t have to endure all approaches but the more the better. Also, don’t pick a plan that does not align with your goals and needs.

What’s next after you purchase your first stock?

Be patient. That’s the number one key. I know it is tempting to sell your stock when you see a sizable increase in its value OR a sudden decrease in value but always stick to your price objective. In the meantime, it is essential to check the value of the stock at regular intervals to monitor for sudden price changes. Sudden price changes might mean there is new information that may affect your stocks current and future value. During all these, never stop keeping yourself up to date with the latest trends and keep an eye out for the next opportunity. New information in the market can change your price objective and remember to re-evaluate the present and future value of the stock regularly.

My journey from picking up the first investment book to purchasing my first share took me a total of 4 months. It may seem long but in hindsight, the moments I had when I felt lost was invaluable because it taught me many things about how to do and not-to-do things. Trying to establish a sense of direction was arduous and painful, but I’m glad to have gone through this journey. I am now more financially independent and able to help my fellow peers. I am continually learning and from my experience, the critical thing I can share is TRUST YOURSELF.

Been doing lots of research, but not sure who to engage to take the final step? Look no further! fundMyLife connects you to credible and incredible financial advisers privately and anonymously, based on the financial planning questions that you ask. We aim to empower Singaporeans to make financial decisions confidently.

Follow us on our fundMyLife Facebook page to get exciting updates and your dose of finance knowledge! Alternatively, the Insurance Discussion SG Facebook group is a good place to discuss insurance-related topics with fellow Singaporeans.

 

Review: Udemy Marketing Class for Insurance Agents

Written by Jackie Tan. Jackie is part of fundMyLife, the platform that connects financial planning questions to the right advisers.

Social media is often described as yelling into a crowd of people. Paying for social media ads is akin to getting a bigger and louder loudspeaker – you’d reach out to more people. However, with proper digital marketing techniques, it turns your loudspeaker into a walkie-talkie that buzzes the right messages to the right crowd.

There’s almost no excuse for a company to maintain a social media presence to get ahead of competitors, and insurance agencies and agents are no exception. However, it was quite surprising that they still do not leverage the power of social media. In our (casual) survey of Facebook pages of insurance agents, we find that the adviser pages surveyed have a median of 125 fans and 1% 7-day engagement rate, implying a low reach compared to the industry average of 5%. Hence, there’s a need for a marketing class for insurance agents.

As such, it was a delight when fundMyLife stumbled across an Udemy course titled “Facebook Marketing for Insurance Agents”.

What is that? A Marketing Class for Insurance Agents?

As the name suggests, it is an online course containing a series of lectures that aims to guide insurance agents market themselves online on Facebook.

It’s taught by a digital marketer named Jay from Malaysia, but we thought that the insurance scene in both countries were similar enough that agents from Singapore would benefit from the course as well. The course is 5 hours long, and is composed of several parts in the syllabus:

  1. Welcome
  2. Building Your Online Presence
  3. Advance [sic] Facebook Strategies
  4. Take Action Now
  5. Buying & Building A WordPress Website
  6. A Real Entrepreneur Journey
  7. Step by Step Guides

So far so good, let’s dive into it.

The Content

The lecture starts with an introduction into what digital marketing is, and how it differs from traditional marketing. In the part on building an online presence, he shares a strategy called the ATOM strategy: Always Think Of Me and to do that, the marketer has to 1) Educate, 2) Share (Case Study, Testimony), 3) Part of Community, 4) Appear Live In Person, 5) Humor.

ATOM Strategy. Consists of Educate, Share, Part of Community, Appear Live In Person, Humor
The ATOM (Always Think Of Me) strategy that helps the insurance agent build his/her online presence. Screengrab from online course.

The points on establishing an online presence are relatively self-explanatory; those are wise words as it helps to engage your audience and doing so establishes yourself as an opinion leader. These actions are simple in theory, but it’s exceedingly challenging to execute.

Creating content is hard. There is a severe shortage of consumer education when it comes to products, case studies that highlight interesting situations that consumers faced, and opinion pieces of agents on their respective speciality.

Next, he proceeded to share some advanced Facebook strategies – he shares some of the common pitfalls that novices do. For example, one mistake that people tend to do is share too much information in the picture. He gives an example of a post with too many words.

A slide titled "Split Testing" is shown, together with two different images. The image on the left is wordy and the image on the right is less wordy.
Split testing helps the marketer discover which image, text, or caption used is more effective in targeting a particular audience. Screengrab from online course.

Another common mistake is pressing the “Boost Post” button to promote a post instead of setting up a proper ad campaign. Indeed, you miss a lot of opportunity for further targeting and experimentation when you merely boost posts.

Moreover, he suggests that advisers set websites up for email collection for the subsequent steps in the lead generation funnel as the email collection helps and that embedding a Facebook pixel aids in tracking and segmenting the Facebook audience further.

A Venn diagram showing the ideal target user is someone who knows about you, who is near you, and is part of the demographic you are targeting
It is important to get people who are not just in your geographical area and are in a certain demographic, but also people who have seen your posts and/or website. Screengrab from online course.

Sound Advice So Far…

Jay also introduces the idea of a marketing funnel, a series of steps designed to convert strangers online into eventual leads and customers.

A picture of a marketing funnel
While this marketing funnel is sound in theory, it can be quite challenging to implement with regards to insurance. Screengrab from online course.

He advises to build a website to offer something in exchange for the website visitor’s contact, such as an e-book or a guide, and let the product be an introduction to the insurance agent. Once the visitor is convinced that the agent’s expertise is sound, and has a taster of his/her advice in the e-book and website, the visitor can then be converted into a lead and eventually a customer.

The course ends off with a step-by-step guide on buying and building a WordPress site (1h 28 mins) and a sharing on his entrepreneurship journey (1h 5 mins). We won’t cover those, but the former is very useful if you don’t know how to create a WordPress site and the latter is inspiring; it is a call to action to put into practise what you learned.

That’s All Folks

Aren’t you glad we spent the $18 so you don’t have to? To summarize, here are the pros and cons of what we found from the course:

Pros:

  1. Covers basic ideas surrounding digital marketing
  2. Inspiring life story of the lecturer at the end of the course
  3. Step-by-step walkthrough on buying a WordPress site
  4. Shares precaution to avoid classic mistakes
  5. Teaches tried and tested digital marketing techniques

Cons:

  1. Has breadth, and less depth
  2. Incomplete case studies

Verdict: Like nasi lemak without sambal, or chicken rice without the fragrant rice, this Udemy course lacks a certain punch that makes it a complete dish. As such, you will have to do more research if you’re an insurance agent looking to modernise your sales channel after this course.

You’ll just have to find an alternative course online to study – preferably free – or hire someone to help you out.

fundMyLife is a platform that aims to empower the average Singaporean to make financial decisions confidently. We also connect consumers to the right financial planners in a private and anonymous manner, based on their financial planning questions. Follow us on our Facebook page to get exciting updates and your dose of finance knowledge! Let us know what you want to know about finances or something that you wish your friends knew! 

Post-script: What is 7-day engagement rate?

The 7-day engagement rate is a high-level metric used to approximate the level of engagement (duh) in a Facebook page.  Engagement is defined as actions that a user takes on your page, e.g., liking, reacting, or sharing. A high 7-day engagement rate demonstrates consistent interaction with the content on the Facebook page, and implies that the followers of the page are high quality.  There are several tools out there to measure this metric – we used Meltwater’s Likealyzer to analyse the pages.

3 Kid-Friendly Board Games To Teach Your Kids Personal Finance

3 board games for family fun & finance

Written by Monica Fan, edited by Cindy Teh. This article is a part of a special series by fundMyLife content marketing interns from QLC.io.

Putting the Fun in fundMyLife

Often, the best lessons in life are learned through games. In sports you learn to work hard, cultivate resilience, and build grit. In video games, you learn things like strategizing, working in a team, and hand-eye coordination, etc. But how about financial literacy and skills? We here at fundMyLife are all about having fun in life, and what better way to incorporate fun and personal finances than to use games to go about it! In this article, we look at some of the board games out there that you can enjoy with your family while learning about managing personal finances at the same time. Start ‘em young, we say!

1. Happy Pigs

 

Happy Pigs board game box
The one who’s truly happy here is the farmer

Level: Easy
Number of players: 2-5
Time to play: 30-50 mins
Age: 10+

Happy Pigs is a fun and silly game for the entire family! The main aim of this game is to raise the pigs in farms and keep them alive by feeding and vaccinating them, with the objective of selling them off at a good price. The games have 16 rounds: with 4 in each season – Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter. It is not difficult to play, once you understand the importance of optimizing the Costs and Returns within a limited timeframe. The richest player wins! Happy Pigs is a strategy game that is perfect for kids, and teaches them to overcome the challenges of working with limited resources and terms.

2. Monopoly

Not shown: hours of chaos as every player fights to be the last one standing

Level: Medium
Number of players: 2-8
Time to play: 60 mins (or forever)
Age: 8+

For kids, the most recommended game is the classic board game MONOPOLY. This game puts you in the shoes of a real estate tycoon – in this game you are buying and selling, or investing in properties. Parents, through this game your kids will encounter basic ideas in economics, e.g., cash flow, assets, debt, stock market, and bankruptcy. The ultimate goal of this game is to be the last player left with cash in hand. While some luck is involved, it is still an educational game for the whole family.

3. Cashflow For Kids

The logo for cashflow for kids game
No one should be left behind when it comes to financial education, especially kids!

Level: Intermediate
Number of players: 2-6
Time to play: 60 mins
Age: 6+

Cashflow For Kids, developed by Robert Kiyosaki, author of “Rich Dad Poor Dad”, is an interesting game which gives young players some ideas of how accounting works in the real world. The aim of the game is to encourage players to think about different streams of passive incomes, such as mutual bonds and stocks, instead of focusing on the limited and stabilized salary income.

A sheet for cashflow game
That’s a lot of sheet, but better prepare your kids for such sheet in the future!

One astonishing characteristic of the game is the accounting sheet given to assist players. It is for recording income earned and expenses incurred to help kids better visualise financial scenarios, and for assessing the performance of their investments.

While the accounting sheets given are different from actual financial statements, it is designed to give your kids ideas about passive income, unexpected expenses, unsystematic risks, and the importance of cash in real life. This is a sophisticated game with many volatile variables and it is not easy to play, but the depth of financial knowledge gained would be extremely useful for your kids. As the creator said, children will learn most by playing this game regularly. Anyone can train to have a higher financial IQ! Even your 6 year old!

That’s All Folks!

Having adequate financial knowledge is no longer a “good-to-have”, but a “must-have” in today’s world and economic climate! Besides cultivating good habits, you have to teach your kids to take care of their money, and they will take care of you in your old age with their money.

Why else do we have kids for? OH, you mean the joys of parenthood?

fundMyLife is a platform that aims to empower the average Singaporean to make financial decisions confidently. We also connect consumers to the right financial planners in a private and anonymous manner, based on their financial planning questions. Follow us on our Facebook page to get exciting updates and your dose of finance knowledge! Let us know what you want to know about finances or something that you wish your friends knew.

10 Ways to Up Your Side Hustle Game Using SkillsFuture

By Cindy Teh, edited by Jackie Tan

What is SkillsFuture?

By now, I’m sure all of you and your grandmother knows what SkillsFuture is. Basically, the government gives EVERYONE 25 years old and above (yes, everyone, even your great-great-grandfather if he’s still alive and kicking) $500 in SkillsFuture credits to pursue a course or programme for upgrading your skills and gaining superpowers*!

Get superpowers like baking
*Superpowers like superbaking may or may not be included. Just normal baking, maybe.

Here at fundMyLife, we are all about empowering people to make sound financial planning decisions. So we thought, what are some of the ways in which we can use our SkillsFuture credits to earn some cash? This ain’t no quick get rich scheme, I’m afraid. This is about investing in yourself and picking up new lifelong skills that would generate extra bucks for you in the long run (read: side gigs).

Let’s get started! Money isn’t gonna just fall into your lap, you know!

1. Become a Personal Trainer

A man and woman in a gym fraternizing
It’s a noble calling – you get to help others/yourself achieve their goals and look good too.

Are you already into fitness and eating well? Take a course on the human anatomy and nutrition and get certified. Superboost your health knowledge and you can either save some money on hiring your own trainer or earn some money by training people. Personal Trainers get to choose their own schedules and most people are only free on weeknights and weekends anyway, which means you don’t even have to leave your day job! Moreover, you get to yell at random strangers to motivate them – a true win-win.

Personal Trainers charge between $50 – $120 per hour.

2. Become a DJ

DJ looking coolly into the distance because he is cool
You can be the next big DJ at the next big festival!

Envious of awesome DJs like Steve Aoki or Tiesto? Learn to mix tracks and drop the beat, and not only can you earn some income on the side, you’ll also be super popular at house parties!

DJs charge at least $60 per hour.

3. Be a Copywriter

Cat looking at typewriter
Write marvellous pieces that move and motivate!

Can’t write? Don’t worry! For only 8 hours of your life, you’ll develop skills in writing awesome, compelling articles! Businesses (especially online ones) are always looking for copywriters to create copy for their products or services. Learn copywriting, and you can even freelance for us!

Depending on the type of content needed (press releases, blog posts, articles); most Copywriters charge at least $30 per hour!

4. Be a Photographer

Man contorts beautifully while taking a photograph
Do not be fooled – this is a protographer in action.

I’m sure you saw this coming. Everybody needs a photographer be it for weddings, for new babies, for portraits, for a new spouse, etc. Learn how to work with cameras and enhance images digitally, and you’ll never have a bad Facebook profile pic again. Spend your weekends taking photos for other people, and you could get good enough that someone would bring you on an overseas photoshoot!

Photographers charge upwards of $50 per hour depending on the type of assignment.

5. Be a Graphic Designer

Ah, graphic designers. Prepare to be misunderstood about what you do!

This has to make the list. It is probably one of the most common side gigs you’ll hear about. Be trained in Adobe Illustrator, or Photoshop, or InDesign, and design your own brand logo for your side hustle instead of paying others to do it.

Freelance Graphic Designers charge $20-$50 per hour (at the low end), to more than $300 per hour! This also brings us to…

6. Be a Web Designer

Another common side hustle! Web design is a popular side gig among freelancers and digital nomads because all you need is an internet connection and you can work with clients from anywhere in the world. Even if nothing comes out of it, you now know how to create an awesome fan site for your favourite GoT character.

Web Designers charge upwards of $40 per hour, depending on their skills and experience.

7. Be an App Developer

A bunch of guys getting drunk and coding
While drunk coding makes everything infinitely better, alcohol not included in the SkillsFuture course. Source: The Social Network.

Technology moves the world – don’t get left behind! The skill ceiling is high, and you might have to put in a little more time and effort to master this one. However, once you master it, you can charge between $30 – $180 per hour! Scarcity for good technical help also means your skills are always in demand.

Click here to learn how to create Android apps and here for iOS apps.

8. Be a Drone Pilot

Credit: Bill Stafford.

Not kidding, this course promises to teach you how to start your own aerial filming business in 2 weeks! Get in there quick while there’s not too much competition around yet.

Google tells me that drone operators can charge from $200 per hour to $5000 per session!

9. Become a Hairstylist for events

Master stylist or Edward Scissorhands – your choice!

This is perhaps more for the ladies, but we’re all about human rights and equality here! No one should tell you what you can or cannot do – forget about gender norms!

*ahem* Erm yeah, so learn how to do hair for weddings, events, photoshoots, etc, and rub shoulders with models/taitais/socialites while you’re at it.

Bridal Hairstylists can charge $100 per updo!

10. Be a Career Coach or Life Coach

Are you the enthusiastic grab-life-by-the-balls type? Are you your loved ones personal cheerleader? Do you love helping people? Do your friends always tell you that you have an inspiring life story? Consider coaching as a side hustle.

You get to choose your own working hours, and nowadays you can even coach people over Skype so you are no longer restricted by geography!

Career coaches typically charge upwards of $70 per hour.

That’s all, folks!

Here are 10 ways to convert your SkillsFuture credits into cash, through a little bit of investment of your time and effort. We never did say it’s easy after all, but it’s important that you take charge of your life!

…or you could just put your feet up and watch the next episode of GoT. We won’t judge.

fundMyLife is a platform that aims to empower the average Singaporean to make financial decisions confidently. We also connect consumers to the right financial planners in a private and anonymous manner, based on their financial planning questions. Follow us on our Facebook page to get exciting updates and your dose of finance knowledge! Let us know what you want to know about finances or something that you wish your friends knew!