This article was written in collaboration with MariBank. All views expressed in this article are the independent opinion of DollarsAndSense.sg based on our research. DollarsAndSense.sg is not liable for any financial losses that may arise from any transactions and readers are encouraged to do their own due diligence. You can view our full editorial policy here.
There is no one-size-fits-all method to manage finances as a couple; we all have different ways that work for us. My wife prefers to just keep her savings in a bank savings account, while I believe in investing to grow our savings quicker to achieve financial freedom earlier.
While we both have opposing views, we agreed to build up a pool of funds that we both can tap on in case of emergency needs for our kids, or for pampering ourselves with an annual getaway.
Obviously though, today’s higher inflation environment is doggedly chipping away at our spending power. So, it is increasingly important that the value of this pool of funds grows at a similar or higher rate than inflation.
MariBank Provides Better Options to Manage Our Savings
When I first learned about MariBank, and its two accounts – Mari Savings Account and Mari Invest – I thought it would be a good fit for both our preferences in managing finances. We can manage both a higher savings interest rate and a low-risk cash management investment option, in a seamless digital platform.
Source: All screenshots are from the MariBank app
MariBank is a digital bank regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). Holding a Digital Full Bank License and like any other Deposit Insurance (DI) Scheme members, our money in the Mari Savings Account is protected by the Singapore Deposit Insurance Corporation (SDIC), which insures up to S$75,000 per depositor per DI Scheme member.
What’s great about the Mari Savings Account is that even without jumping through any hoops, such as having a minimum deposit, salary crediting or minimum spending, we can earn an interest rate of 2.88%1 p.a on all savings in the account. While 2.88% p.a. is a promotional rate till 31 Mar 2024, the base rate of 2.5% p.a. is also higher than most basic savings accounts with no attached interest rate earning criteria that are offered by other banks (as at time of writing).
And unlike most banks in Singapore, the really nice feature of this savings account is that we can see interest rates credited into our account on a daily basis, calculated based on the previous day’s balance. There’s some satisfaction in seeing our savings grow every day – and knowing exactly how much interest we’re earning each day.
Mari Invest: Access To Low-Risk Investments With Instant Liquidity
While Mari Savings Account rates are great, we decided to learn more about Mari Invest to find out how we could grow our cash further. We learnt that Mari Invest gives us access to relatively low-risk investments (mainly in MAS Bills), while potentially offering a slightly higher return.
We can easily look at the Fact Sheet on the Mari Invest homepage to find out exactly what we’re investing in.
Currently, Mari Invest offers Lion-MariBank SavePlus – an exclusive product distributed by MariBank. This is a fund managed by Lion Global Investors, one of the largest asset managers in Southeast Asia, and part of Great Eastern. Mari Invest offers attractive accessibility (min. S$1 investment) and liquidity (instant redemption at no cost)2.
Based on the returns displayed on the MariBank app, the last 30 days return stood at 3.52% at the time we opened the account (on 30 Oct 2023). This has improved to 3.87% as at the time of writing this article.
Lion-MariBank SavePlus fund carries an AA rating and gives us a generally low-risk exposure given its portfolio allocation to MAS Bills (54%), Lion Global’s Enhanced Liquidity Fund (ELF) (21%), Money Market Funds (MMF) (19%), and Short Duration Bond Fund (SDBF) (6%).
The high allocation into MAS Bills caught our interest. I had been nudging my wife to invest in T-Bills, but she had hesitated because of the lock-in period of 6 months or 1 year. Worst still, my wife does not even have a CDP account – where the T-Bills are stored once we invest in them. However, through Mari Invest, we are able to access MAS Bills without my wife having to open a CDP account, and concurrently enjoy the option to cash out immediately as well.
(Editor’s Note: MAS Bills are slightly different from T-Bills. While T-Bills can be bought by individuals, MAS Bills are reserved for Institutions. Additionally, T-Bills have 6-months and 1-year maturity, while MAS Bills have 4-week and 12-week maturity.)
On the MariBank app, we can also see a daily update of Mari Invest’s returns in the last 30 days. This allows us to see if the historical performance is trending towards the projected returns.
Next, we checked through the fees and charges for Mari Invest. From the FAQs, we learned that there is a 0.35% p.a. management fee on the underlying fund and any returns we see on the platform is net of fees. From now till 31 December 2023, this 0.35% p.a. fee is fully waived for investors – giving us even more returns on our investments.
However, it is good to see that there aren’t any transaction fees when investing via Mari Invest, or when we want to make instant withdrawals2.
Our Experience Investing With Mari Invest
Armed with our understanding of the investment portfolio, the risk exposures and projected returns, we were ready to give Mari Invest a try.
The entire investing process was seamless. It took less than a minute to place the order directly from our Mari Savings Account. There was also the option of paying via PayNow QR.
Once our order is confirmed, it is simple to track our returns on the app. All we have to do is click on the “Return” square, to access a detailed summary of our investment holdings. We are able to see the “Current Market Value” of our investment, as well as the “Return” that we have achieved.
Sceptical of its Instant Withdrawal feature, we also tried it out. Our funds were really credited instantly2 back into our Mari Savings Account.
Not satisfied, we also tried transferring the amount out to another bank via PayNow – and that too went through.
Baby Steps To Better Manage Our Wealth
While my wife had no intention of changing the way we were managing our savings, Mari Invest’s features turned her head!
What also gave my wife more assurance was that we have a bird’s eye view of our entire holdings – savings and investments – within a single platform. From there, we can decide how much we want to keep in our Mari Savings Account (which also earns a decent 2.88%1 p.a.), and how much we want to plough into Mari Invest to potentially earn a higher return.
With two little ones in our family now, the significance of maintaining liquidity while optimising the returns on our spare cash becomes increasingly important.
Utilising both Mari Savings Account and Mari Invest offers us a well-rounded solution to efficiently handle our excess cash. This balanced approach not only safeguards our financial well-being but also sets us on a path towards achieving our long-term financial goals, all in the context of our expanding family.
The contents in this article do not constitute the distribution of any information or the making of any offer or solicitation to anyone in any jurisdiction in which such distribution or offer is not authorized or to any person to whom it is unlawful to distribute such contents or make such an offer or solicitation. The information in this article is intended for general circulation and/or discussion purposes only, and shall not be considered or construed as an offer, recommendation, inducement, solicitation or investment or financial advice to buy or sell or otherwise transact in any investment and does not take into account the specific investment objectives, financial situation or particular needs of any particular person.
This advertisement has not been reviewed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore.
1Rates are accurate as at point of publishing. All rates are for information only and subject to change without prior notice. Promotional interest rate of 2.88% p.a. is effective till 31 March 2024. Prevailing base rate of 2.50% p.a. shall apply thereafter. Mari Savings Account has a maximum deposit capped at S$75k. T&Cs Apply.
2Instant cash out limit is currently S$10,000 per investor daily and subject to availability.
Deposit Insurance Scheme
Singapore dollar deposits of non-bank depositors are insured by the Singapore Deposit Insurance Corporation, for up to S$75,000 in aggregate per depositor per Scheme member by law. Foreign currency deposits, dual currency investments, structured deposits and other investment products are not insured.