This article was written in collaboration with DBS. All views expressed are the independent opinions of DollarsAndSense.sg
Similar to tidying up our homes to ensure that they are as clutter-free as Marie Kondo’s, the desire to be on top of our financial matters is a common and perennial one among Singaporeans.
Just as clutter finds its way back into our homes after a lapse of diligence, continual effort is necessary to ensure our personal finances stays in tip-top shape. While effort is needed in both our homes and finances, the results are dramatically worth it.
Most of us have demanding jobs, an active social and family life, and may not be sure of where to start. Furthermore, the amount of information we need to absorb and skills we need to acquire can be quite daunting.
There are mandatory government policies regarding CPF, MediSave and HDB that we need to understand; insurance coverage gaps that we need to identify; setting a budget and keeping to it; making investments based on our goals and risk appetite; and more.
To help you to get started on your lifelong journey of mastering your personal finances, here are 3 comprehensive and invaluable resources that Singaporeans can tap on – for free.
# 1 Are You Ready?
Whether you like it or not, the Central Provident Fund (CPF) is a vital pillar in the lives of every Singaporean from the day they are born (and have a MediSave account created and get enrolled into MediShield Life).
While the primary role of our CPF funds is to ensure our retirement adequacy, we can also use our CPF monies to pay for our homes, education, make investments, and more. Thus, holistic financial planning in Singapore cannot neglect the options provided by CPF.
To help Singaporeans better understand and make the best use of their CPF monies, the CPF Board created and continues to maintain Are You Ready?, a portal that brings together regularly updated content in a wide range of formats, such as articles, videos, infographics and republished articles across the Singapore personal finance landscape.
The information is categorised by life stages, making it easy for first-timers to get up to speed with the information that matters to them, whether it is starting work, planning to get married, buying a home, or preparing for retirement.
Another section that is worth bookmarking is the Tools section, which contains calculators created by CPF that can be used to project things like the interest you can earn from your various CPF accounts or estimated CPF LIFE payouts based on the money you have in your CPF Retirement Account.
# 2 NAV – Your Financial GPS
Does your resolution this year include better money management? If so, you wouldn’t want to be missing out on NAV.
NAV is a comprehensive suite of resources developed by DBS and POSB to help you improve your financial know-how, empower you to critically assess your own financial needs and develop action plans according to your stage of life and specific financial situation.
From an intuitive digital financial “advisor” that gives you insights on your money habits and personalised suggestions on how to build or adjust your financial plan, NAV also offers a repository of quality, relevant content, an open community for discussion of money matters, as well as in-person events and free one-on-one consultations. NAV aims to provide the various enablers you need to help you find your way.
Just like decluttering your home, financial planning and review should be done continually and be a natural part of your routine rather than an intense, annual affair.
With NAV you can learn and discover concepts and knowledge and be empowered to make financial planning decisions with confidence. Since the focus is on education, NAV’s offerings are specifically designed to not be “product-led”.
Keen to learn about a new area within personal finance? Set aside some time to attend a class. So far, there have been workshops on wedding planning and investing with ETFs, among others.
If you prefer to read easy-to-understand articles while on the go, you can take your pick from a large collection of articles available covering popular topics such as growing your wealth, getting a home, and protection.
And when you have questions on what you’ve read, you can post your questions at the NAV community and take part in discussions with fellow Singaporeans.
If all these resources are a little overwhelming and you prefer the human touch, you can opt for a personal one-on-one appointment with a NAV crew member. These sessions can help you develop a customised financial plan according to your goals or review where you are at on your financial planning journey. It’s also completely free and conducted in a neutral, non-product driven environment.
With NAV, you can learn about personal finance and master your money, in your way.
# 3 MoneySense
MoneySense is the national financial literacy programme by the Monetary Authority of Singapore and Ministry of Manpower, with participation from other government agencies.
Their recently revamped website coincides with a renewed drive towards improving engagement with young Singaporeans. Tools like the Financial Health Check give you a gauge of how healthy you are financially in under five minutes, and highlight areas for improvement, ranked according to priority.
Content on MoneySense website is organised in topical categories like Savings, Loans and Credit, Insurance, Investments, Property, etc, so it is easy to find information that you’re looking for.
With policies and rules changing periodically in Singapore, you can have the assurance that MoneySense is a definitive, authoritative source you can refer to whenever you have a question.
MoneySense also runs roadshows and other events to engage Singaporeans of all ages and these are great opportunities for you to get any burning questions answered. You can look at the list of upcoming MoneySense events here.