You’ve asked, we’ve answered! NYP, we’re glad to see your hunger to know more about savings & budgeting. We hope your leaning journey doesn’t end here – check out NAV to get a knowledge boost on all things money-related.
ICMYI: Don’t fret if you missed our DBS Instagram stories ‘cos the answers are posted here (bookmark this page!) and archived in our IG highlights. A few questions were similar in nature so we’ve condensed and edited them.
|Lorna Tan |
Head of Financial Planning Literacy at DBS
Prior to joining DBS, she was the Invest Editor at The Straits Times and The Sunday Times for 16 years, covering finance, money management and consumer protection issues. She is also the author of four best-selling books on personal finance, and is an adjunct Associate Professor at NUS School of Business.
Basically, she’s got this adulting thing in the bag – and she’s here to share her wealth of knowledge so that you can up your game.
1. What is the difference between a debit and credit card?
With a debit card, you spend by drawing on the money you have in the bank account it is linked to.
With a credit card, you are ‘borrowing money’ from the card issuer, which you have to pay back after a certain time period. If you delay payment on your credit card bills, you will incur late fee charges and interest on the money you owe, which means you will have to pay back even more as time stretches.
Both debit and credit cards can be useful! If you do decide to take up a credit card that can give you extra cashback and/or rewards on your expenditure, remember to set up reminders to pay your bills on time.
2. Is it important to have a credit or debit card at this age and how to properly use it to manage your finances? And why is everyone talking about going cashless? I like going cashless but...
I like going cashless, but I can't always use it at places like hawker centres where stalls also ask for cash. Money is money whether cash or cashless.
Well you also have e-wallets to choose from. The critical point is to use more cashless options and rely less on cash. With cards or e-wallets, there's already technology helping you to keep records of your transactions (you can find it in your e-wallet or banking app like digibank). You can look back on your history to understand your own habits and improve them. If you rely solely on cash, it'll take more time and effort to keep tabs on your spend, so going cashless helps you to avoid the struggle of remembering where your money went.
There are already more than 500 hawker stalls in Singapore that accept cashless payments, and this number is growing. Having said that, there are still some businesses that prefer cash as it may seem cheaper to conduct business in cash (which is not always true) or are hesitant to learn how to use cashless technology.
If you like going cashless, why not talk to your favourite hawker vendor on the benefits of it? There’s a Hawkers Go Digital initiative where new sign-ups can look forward to an E-payment bonus of up to S$1,500.
3. Can I afford to retire and buy a house if housing is so expensive and cost of living so high and pay for diploma is so low?
Having such concerns can be a good thing, as it means that you’re aware of the hurdles ahead of you on the road to retirement. But don’t let worry cripple you. Here are some tips to consider:
- To improve your pay prospects, you need to invest in yourself. Pick up new skills to give you an edge over your peers. Google is your best friend, and there are many online courses available! Alternatively, you can consider furthering your studies.
Adopt the mindset of lifelong learning so that you can always add value to your company. In return, that gives you more leverage to negotiate for better pay. Learning never stops. Even for me, I recently learnt how to use Telegram to engage with the community!
- Start good financial habits early. Monitor your saving & spending and consider looking for additional sources of income such as side-hustles and internships.
- Start planning for your home purchase in advance! This also depends on what type of house you would like to purchase – prices differ from public and private housing. We’ve laid down the different types of housing and pricing considerations here.
Do bear in mind that a property is a big-ticket item, so affordability is key when it comes to ensuring you’re able to repay your housing loan. It is prudent to do your sums carefully and avoid over committing financially when you buy your home. Do your due diligence and empower yourself with information on government subsidy schemes and suitable mortgage packages that can offer savings.
Saving, Budgeting & Financial
4. Is it realistic for us to have 3 – 6 months emergency saving? I’m busy with studies, only get enough from my parents for food, but it feels like I need another job just to save enough.
Saving as a student is not easy, especially if you aren't holding a part-time or temp job. But this is still possible. Here are some tips:
- Save what you get from special occasions (e.g. birthdays or festive seasons)
- Find your spending history in banking or e-wallet apps, such as the digital advisory tool NAV Planner on Digibank. This allows you to monitor how much you spend on luxuries (yes, bubble tea counts!), and you can understand what expenses you can reduce in order to save more in the long run.
- Look out for bank accounts that help you earn higher interest. You may be holding on to an account that your parents/guardians helped you to open as a child, but it is usually a very basic account that gives you very little interest. Here’s an interesting article from The Simple Sum that talks about this😉
- Get yourself plugged into online forums and blogs that talk about the best high-yield saving accounts! (FYI: DBS Multiplier Account caters to students now too, and our interest rates grow with you even after you graduate, which saves you the hassle of switching accounts frequently.)
5. Hi, I am a student pass holder (international student) and I would like to open another acc. I plan to save a certain amount of money each month (e.g. $100-$150). Then I can use that money to...
Then i can use that money to pay for my further studies or go travel in the future. May I know how can I open a bank account and which one is the best for me? (e.g. Has highest interest or something)?
You can open an account online! It'll save you time and allows you to stay safe in this current season. Ensure you have the necessary documents on hand too, here’s a guide to help you along.
If this is your "savings goal account" and you plan to use some of that money for travel, I'd recommend checking out multi-currency accounts (we have those here at DBS),one of which also earns you some bonus interest based on the transactions that you're doing with our bank.Meanwhile you can check out NAV Planner in digibank to help you plan for your goals.
6. Every time razer comes out new product, I will confirm buy. Because of that, I feel like my money slowly going down, even though by right I have alot from my Parttime job. Should I continue?
We feel you – new product launches are tempting! Before you click ‘add to cart’, ask yourself very honestly if this is a need or a want. If your existing mouse does not work, maybe getting that new Razer mouse may not be a bad thing if it helps with the digital learning experience.
But if this is a want, consider saving up instead of buying more of what you may already have. Times are really tough now, and the economy recovery from the impact of Covid-19 is expected to be a long road ahead of us all. The job market is also unstable or shrinking for several industries, so ensure you have enough emergency savings to help you cope with any unexpected events.
If you already have 3 – 6 months of emergency savings and you are saving prudently, then perhaps you can set aside a ‘treat-yourself’ fund from the money that you save every month to get yourself something nice every once in a while! Start with a small sum of maybe S$10 a month, so you have S$120 at the end of the year to get something that you have had your eyes on. Such as… that new keyboard from Razer? 😉
Which bank is the best place to put/store my money? In terms of interest rates
Great question! While I would recommend DBS because I feel that DBS is a bank that truly grows with you, I want to ensure that you make an informed choice. Seedly has a great overview of all the bank accounts with interest rates.
There are also blog articles that will give you an unbiased comparison of higher interest savings accounts from various banks, and a quick Google search will get you there 😉
What should I consider when doing my financial plan for the next 5 years?
The economic recovery from the impact of Covid-19 pandemic won't be smooth and is likely to take time.
Whether or not you're entering the workforce right after graduating from NYP, it's good to keep up with news concerning the sector(s) that you're interested to work in. It'll help you better understand what knowledge and skills are/will be in demand and what the employment prospects would be like. These are linked to your pay prospects, which affects how fast you can save up and grow your money in the years ahead.
- Have at least 3 to 6 months of emergency savings (or more if you have dependants or if you plan to freelance) as your safety net.
- Map out your goals - are there any big-ticket items that you need to save for and how would you prioritize them?
- Talk to your parents/guardians about any existing insurance policies they may have already bought for you, before you start buying your own.
- Get started on your investing journey if you haven't done it yet, because you need to grow your money to beat inflation and save up faster for your goals. The money you can invest is what you have over and above your emergency savings.
You can actually track your progress on all of these matters in DBS NAV Planner in digibank.
What do you think I can do to get millennials thinking more about money for their future as our country is getting more expensive by the year :). I really want to help people move away from the "I wish I did this when I was younger mentality"
Glad to hear that you wish to be the change you want to see in others. I think the ability to see into the future could help change minds and perspectives, so tools that help simulate what your money could look like "X" years down the road would be a handy motivator.
Otherwise as an easy conversation starter, you can use relatable examples. Bubble tea used to cost S$1.50 years ago but the average price now is about S$3. Say you have S$10 now - you can buy 2 or 3 bubble teas today; 20 years later it might not even get you a cup. Are you prepared to live in the future?
Build good money habits early, so you won't be struggling to pay your bills and necessities when you're older and facing the risk of outliving your financial resources. You can start small, by forgoing the bubble tea you were about to buy :)
Investments & Insurance
10. Hi, if I have $15,000 in my savings. What is the best way to grow my savings instead of keeping it in my savings account?
Having S$15,000 in your savings account as a student is an impressive feat! The first thing to do is to leave 3 to 6 months’ worth of emergency savings in a savings account that gives you higher interest.
For the balance, you can consider investing it to make it work harder for you. If you are new to the world of investments, find out more about the different types of investments here.
11. Should I spend money on the lottery? (i.e. 4D, Toto, Singapore Sweep.) Asking because my dad bought some tickets occasionally.
Lottery gives you no guarantee of returns, and you can only pray that you get lucky. I prefer to rely on things that are more within my control - investments.
With investments, there's information out there to help you make a better decision on whether the money you put in will help you to generate more money. It's up to you to put in the time and effort to look for the information and assess them. It may not be as “easy” as lottery, but it is definitely the more reliable way to grow your money as long as you make the effort.
I have bought lottery occasionally but with money that I can afford to lose cos the chances of winning are very low. Come to think of it, I have not won anything from lottery, so far.
12. Hi! I want to start investing but it's quite hard to find beginner lessons as most of them are jumbled up or requires the person to know the basics, so are there any books or videos you recommend
I have authored 4 bestsellers, the two most recent ones being “Retire Smart – Financial Planning Made Easy” and “Money Smart – Own Your Financial Destiny”. They are available at stbooks.sg and bookstores, and you can also borrow them at the nearest public library!
Besides those, you can check out NAV.sg and start with the articles under "What is investment and why do I need it" as well as "How do I start investing?" sections.
In addition, check out the NAV Ask Me Anything videos on our DBS YouTube page where I offer tips on financial literacy topics like budgeting, recession proofing and how to achieve financial wellness.
What type of insurance & investment should a student (18 - 21yo) purchase? I heard that insurance is cheaper if you buy when you're younger, but I am not sure what I need.
For insurance, you may want to check with your parents if they have bought any insurance policies on your behalf first. But if they have not, the basic types of insurance are:
- Integrated Shield plan (to supplement the compulsory MediShield Life plan)
- Critical illness insurance plan
- Personal accident plan
- Term insurance plan
Start off with the hospitalization & surgical cover Integrated Shield plan to supplement the compulsory MediShield Life plan, if you wish to stay in a higher-class ward and/or have the flexibility to choose your own doctor. It is good to consider health insurance while you are still in good health. When you start working, consider getting a Critical illness insurance plan which provides a lump sum payout should you be diagnosed with specified illnesses. Read more here.
For investments, consider opting for a regular savings plan (RSP) where you can start with as little as S$100 a month. Read more about RSPs here.
Should I start investing now even though I don't have a job? How do I start investing if I should?
Ensure you have 3 to 6 months (or more if you have dependants or plan to freelance in future) of emergency savings first as that is necessary to help you tide through rainy days.
If you already have more than enough for emergency savings then yes, do consider beginning your investment journey. Empower yourself with financial know how by checking my books and the articles and videos in NAV.sg such as the articles under "What is investment and why do I need it" as well as "How do I start investing?" sections.
Where do I go to know how to invest my money?
We have an investments section on our page, NAV.sg with a wide variety of articles and resources available to show you how to get started on investments!
Which ETF is suitable for beginners at Singapore to buy, Singapore ETF or US ETF? 2) What is the minimum amount of money needed to invest in ETF? 3) Any good resources providing step by step instructions to buy local ETF and overseas ETF (where and how to open brokerage account and find the ETF we want etc )?
You can invest in Singapore ETFs with offerings from your local bank and invest in US ETFs with SGX. And you can start investing in ETFs through trading platforms or RSPs. Since you are a student, I recommend starting with a RSP where you can start with as little as S$100 a month. Read our guide on How to invest in ETFs here.
Hi Ms Lorna, Wei Jie here! I am a year one banking and finance student and am interested to know more regarding the fundamental of investing. And which or what type of investment do you think as a beginner could try out for low risk and ok return. Then base on your personal experience on investment, what are some useful tactics or tips you can share? Lastly, understanding that you have proficient knowledge on wealth, what are some advice to better manage my money while doing investing.
Hi Wei Jie! As a beginner, I would recommend starting with a RSP, where you can invest in ETFs starting with S$100 a month.
Based on my personal experience I would recommend doing your research first before investing, and not just base your decisions on what your friends are doing. Start with checking out NAV.sg where we cover the basics of investments.
One thing I do to better manage my money while investing is to always remember to pay myself first. I set aside my savings target into an account that I do not touch as a form of paying myself first, before using the rest of my money for my daily necessities, insurance, and investments.
I want to start investing and grow some passive income but I don’t know where to start. May I have some advice?
Ensure that you have 3 to 6 months of emergency cash and have suitable insurance cover before you start investing your idle savings. Before you start investing, understand your own risk profile, knowledge of investment products and financial planning approach. This is because investments are only one part of financial planning that will help you achieve your goals. You can check out the resources at NAV.sg.
Regularly investing in smaller amounts (like investing via a regular savings plan) is worth considering especially for beginners, since dollar cost averaging will help to reduce the average investment cost and impact of volatility. Think about it as subscribing to music or TV streaming services, where you pay a monthly subscription fee. Keep that subscription going so that your investment has more time to grow with compound interest over time.
If you have more savings to spare, you may consider robo-advisors too but do your due diligence and look for the ones with a good track record and reputation.
What is the best investment account for students? What type of account has high interest? What investments are there in the market?
This question may require very long answer! But in short, the types of investment options out there also depend on your risk appetite. Are you able to sleep well when the markets are volatile or are you looking for safer and guaranteed returns?
As you are a student, I recommend that you start with something less risky, such as a high-yield savings account that gives you guaranteed interest on your savings. You can couple that with a RSP investment that lets you start investing with S$100 a month.
Check out our digital advisory tool NAV Planner on digibank. It gives you personalised insights on how your financial health and the type of investments that are suitable to help you achieve your short and long-term goals.
Hi Lorna, I'm a nursing student who will begin my career in 2022. I would like to know more about investments. Should I be involved in any investment when I start my career? Is it safe to invest? How much should I invest? Will investment help me grow my money? How should I ensure I have enough savings for my retirement? Would love to hear your advice. – Huda
Hi Huda! First of all, it’s great that you will be contributing to our frontline and serving the community as a nurse in 2022 – I’m excited for you. With inflation rising at about 2% yearly, it is prudent for you to start investing early so that you beat inflation.
If safety is a concern, consider investing with a reputable financial organisation, such as a bank. Empower yourself with financial know how so you are able to do due diligence, understand the investment products and make informed decisions. Since you are new to investments, you can start with a small sum such as S$100 a month, and increase that amount when you feel more comfortable. And yes, investments will help you to grow your money over time, especially when you have a long-time horizon to reap the benefits of the power of compounding returns and to ride out the market volatility.
It’s great that you are thinking of retirement too! Check out this new feature called Map your Money in the NAV Planner tool where we map out how much money you will need for retirement, and how you can start planning now.
How do I invest money into a company such that I can guarantee no loss? What attributes of the company do I need to look out for?
When it comes to investing in a company, there is unfortunately no such thing as no guaranteed loss. If you are looking at guaranteed returns, consider products endowment insurance plans where there is a guaranteed return component. Do note that some endowment plans come with both guaranteed and non-guaranteed return components.
To analyse a company, firstly, look at the annual report of a company. Analyse the strength of a company’s financials by looking at ratios such as Price to Earnings, Price to Book and Return on Equity.
Secondly, try to attend the company's AGM to assess the management team and to suss out any potential upcoming financial issues that it could be facing.
Thirdly, understand the sector that the company is operating in and assess its performance vis-a-vis its peers.
What is stock investment all about? Can you break it down for absolute beginners? 2. How to know what to invest in and how much? 3. Why is the total balance for my debit card still more than my available balance even after a year? Is something wrong with my account?
Stocks is basically a collection of shares, and shares represent a portion of ownership in a company. When you buy shares, it means you’re investing in that company’s business with the expectation that you can get some returns from the money you put into buying a stake in that company. You can read more here and here.
With regards to your debit card balance, I recommend that you connect with our friendly customer service officers via our DBS digibot service!
Is it wiser to invest your money than letting it sit in the bank?
If by "sit in the bank", you mean let it sit in a deposit account, then sure, it's definitely wiser. If you have at least 3 to 6 months of emergency savings already (or 6 to 9 months if you are freelancing or plan to), any amount that you have above this threshold should be channelled to other aspects of financial wellness - protecting yourself (insurance) and growing your money (investments). Even your emergency savings can do more than just "sit in the bank"! It can earn you interest too, so look out for higher interest rate savings accounts.
When people say they want to sell their stocks, who are they selling it to? How do i start investing as a young person? -who do i go to, what are the steps, how much money should i invest in proportion to my savings.
They are selling to other buyers on the market. If you wish to start your investment journey, you can check out NAV.sg and start with the articles under "What is investment and why do I need it" as well as "How do I start investing?" sections.
Typically people start investing on their own by reading up on resources online, or attending seminars/webinars that are suitable for beginners.
A good rule of thumb is to invest 50% of your net worth, of course after ensuring that you have 3 to 6 months of emergency savings (6 to 9 months for freelancers). You can track where you stand on these matters with NAV Planner in digibank.
I still do not understand the different between bonds, shares and ETF in the module.
Bonds are like an agreement to lend money, so when you buy a bond you are essentially the "lender" who is loaning your money to the issuer of the bond for a certain period of time. In return for loaning your money to the issuer, you get interest.
The rate at which you earn interest differs between different bonds. When the bond matures (i.e. time is up and the issuer needs to pay you back), you get your principal back (i.e. the original sum of money that you lent the issuer").
Bonds can be issued by governments or by companies.
Shares are essentially a stake in a business and are issued by companies. When you buy shares of a company, you're buying an ownership stake in it. In return for putting your money in a company, you may get some benefits - either in capital appreciation (where the value of shares you bought rises), or dividends (payouts from profits made by the company), or both.
An Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) is like a collection of investments. If bonds are apples and shares are pears, then a bond ETF is like a basket of apples while a shares ETF is like a basket of pears. ETFs track a market index or group of investments and typically seeks to perform at the average of the "collection".
26. I’m currently studying banking and finance in NYP, and I’m a Year 1 student. I aspire to work at DBS after completing my diploma...
and am interested in accounting. Are there any accounting related jobs at DBS?
There are accounting job related functions in the bank, e.g. departments and teams dedicated to finance. Even if numbers are your strength, don’t limit your options and be open to consider other opportunities available within DBS that would also leverage on your expertise.
Apart from skillsets, we want to ensure that candidates will make a great fit as we take pride in our progressive working culture and values!
If you have a minute, do check out the DBS Careers website to find out more about life at DBS!
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