This article was written in collaboration with MoneySense. All views expressed are the independent opinion of DollarsAndSense.sg
The irony about health check-ups is that they are most effective when you feel that everything is fine and that you don’t have any problems. A health check-up serves to bring to your attention potential issues that you’re not aware of so that you can remedy them, before they turn into something more serious.
To help Singaporeans better understand potential blind spots in their financial situation and take steps to patch them up, MoneySense has launched a free Financial Health Check tool that anyone can take and complete in under five minutes.
For the uninitiated, MoneySense is the national financial literacy programme helmed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore and Ministry of Manpower, with participation from other government agencies.
So, even though I thought my financial health was okay, I went ahead to try MoneySense’s Financial Health Check to see if they could identify areas for me to improve on.
Visiting The Newly Revamped MoneySense Website
The first thing we noticed is that MoneySense revamped their entire website in conjunction with adding new features like the Financial Health Check. Content is grouped into bite-sized guides, together with links to a wealth of additional information and other useful online resources.
With anticipation and curiosity, I began my journey by clicking “Let’s Do It” on the Financial Health Check page.
Relevant Questions Based On Your Demographics And Answers
Like a good doctor, the Financial Health Check quiz is systematic and asks the minimum number of relevant questions necessary to give an accurate diagnosis.
The first few questions have to do with basic demographic information, like my age, citizenship, home type and employment status.
The next set of questions deal with one’s emergency savings (or lack thereof) and spending habits.
We then move on progressively to insurance, investments, retirement planning and estate planning.
The various stages of MoneySense’s Financial Health Check.
Depending on your answer to each question, the follow-up questions asked will be different. This is smart, since I never encountered a question that didn’t make sense or was repetitive.
For instance, if you responded that you have loans, you’ll be asked if you’re able to meet the monthly loan repayments for each loan that you have:
Another example would be: you’ll only be asked to input your monthly premiums if you answered that you have life insurance and hospitalisation insurance:
Unlike the annual health checkup at the doctor’s, this Financial Health Check is a breeze to do and completely painless!
Receiving My (Financial) Health Check Results
After completing the quiz (in less than five minutes, as the website promised), I received my results instantly. There is no need to give any personally identifiable information or e-mail.
It is worth noting that they highlight only the three action items that are most important in helping you improve your financial health. This is a good move, because it doesn’t discourage those who might not be as financially savvy and have many more areas that need strengthening.
If you’d like, there is an option for you to provide your e-mail if you want to receive a full report with all the recommendations that are relevant for you. I would say that the recommendations are practical and actionable, with links to relevant tools and resources.
After you’ve acted on the suggested recommendations, you can come back and take the Financial Health Check again and see how you can continue to do better. Similar to a regular health checkup, it makes sense to build up a habit of regularly checking on our financial health, since things can change over time.
For me, I’ll be doing all three suggestions before the year end, because I want to start 2019 in the pink of (financial) health. This means making a CPF nomination, working out how much I’ll need for retirement, and relooking my investment portfolio.
Sustaining Good Financial Health Is A Lifelong Process
No matter how healthy (or unhealthy) you think your financial situation is, you do owe it to yourself to take five minutes to give the Financial Health Check a try. It is fast, convenient, and insightful. You don’t have to worry about any hard selling because MoneySense has no financial products to sell you.
After identifying the areas for improvement, you can then read up more about the specific areas on MoneySense and DollarsAndSense, or speak to your trusted financial adviser about it.
Content on MoneySense website is organised in similar categories as the Financial Health Check, so you can easily find the information that is most relevant to you.
If you prefer to speak to someone to understand your Financial Health Check results and recommendations better, MoneySense has also launched a series of roadshows with “financial clinics” for one-to-one consultations.
You can drop by any time between 11am-6pm at these dates and locations:
There are limited slots daily, so be the early bird that catches the worm! You can also check out other fun and education activities at the MoneySense roadshow.
Have you done your Financial Health Check? Let us know your experience with it and whether you’ve implemented the recommendations!