The New Year often symbolises a reset button for recalibration. It’s an opportune time to ponder over what you didn’t like about last year, and set yourself up for greater success this year. With New Year resolutions drawn up, happy healthy kids in school and having somewhat of a work-life balance, are you geared up to achieve your financial goals too?
If you’re shaking your head right now and feeling a little unsure, fret not.
There are easy ways to make smarter financial planning decisions a reality and achieving your New Year resolutions possible. First, do start with a reality check and be honest with yourself.
Be a smarter, more strategic parent about your financial goal this year
Here are 6 ways to help you get closer to achieving the financial confidence that you deserve:
1: Be (more) financially-disciplined this year
Have you started a morning run routine to keep your weight in-check? Are you attending courses to upgrade yourself? Growth comes with discipline, and it applies to savings and wealth accumulation too.
Thanks to the pandemic, the stay-home and work from home arrangements have led an increase in online spending. Well, it’s “safer” than to be jostling at the crowded supermarkets for groceries. Family essentials are necessities, so these are expected expenses.
However, how many “YOLO moments” have you had when justifying other purchases? Choosing a more premium home office chair, or, buying more expensive food to pamper your family one too many times? How about that cappuccino from the café more often than before? You can save as much as $1,300 a year if you cut down on that daily cuppa on weekdays!
If that sounds like you, it’s time to pause, make a conscious decision at the point of purchase and rethink your expenses – are they needs OR wants? Are you spending more and saving lesser than the previous year? Honestly, do the kids really need a cup of fruit juice every weekend, or, can you make fresh juices at home instead?
2: Take ownership of your budgeting and clear your credit card debts on-time
Be a money-smart parent and be aware of your monthly expenses, debts, income and savings. Yes, we can have self-care expenses budgeted for, whether you’re a pregnant mama, working mum or stay-at-home mum (SAHM)! Parents definitely deserve a pat on our backs because parenting takes a lot of energy and commitment – we just need to make sure we know that we can spend within our means. This clarity comes when you have an accurate picture of your financial status, right?
It’s also super easy to shop online or at retail stores – all your need is a credit card – but every tap may accumulate into a shocking bill! Make it a habit to check your credit card bills and know what those purchases were for.
Additionally, clear your bills on time to avoid incurring late charges. Update your personal budgeting record accordingly: Was it a payment for the children’s enrichment classes? Was that credit card payment for another new dress and shoes, again? This way, you will know how much of what you earn goes to the children’s expenses, yourself, your family’s needs, and savings.
3: Have an open conversation with your spouse about family expenses
When it comes to the monetary aspects and decisions of raising children in Singapore, it takes two to tango. Planning to have more kids? Take stock of your combined financial abilities. Thinking of sending the kids to more enrichment classes? Discuss with your spouse who pays what, or if the sum will come from a joint account that both of you have funds dedicated to children’s needs. This applies to a sole breadwinner arrangement too. With an objective discussion, the team can ‘divide and conquer’ the parenting responsibilities together.
Many Asian women are brought up with the idea that ‘our money is ours; our husband’s money is ours’. Sorry to burst that bubble but we’re in the 21st century where mums can also be career women and are financially independent too. Many husbands and wives have equal say and it’s not always the lady who holds the purse strings these days, right? Meanwhile, being opened lets both parties understand what your financial goals and New Year resolutions are. If one party is focused on retirement planning, while the other was hoping to move to a bigger house, some discussions of financial goals are necessary so both can work towards smarter financial planning too.
4: Review your investment portfolio & insurance plans
After signing up for life insurance or medical insurance plans, most people keep their documents away for years and don’t take another look until needed. Does this sound familiar? If so, you should dig out all those documents and sit down with your financial consultant soon.
If you bought investment-linked policies (ILP) in your 20’s and you’re now a parent in your 30’s, chances are, your needs, insurance coverage, risk appetite and income have changed. That means, you might not be getting the “optimal results” to reap the intended benefits.
There are many types of insurance policies in Singapore, do you know what insurance you have and what you are potentially lacking to meet your financial goals? The basic plans that most people have are Life Insurance and Health Insurance – as you know, medical bills in Singapore are hefty. Your child may already have a Maternity Insurance Policy under his/her name, but do review if the coverage is sufficient.
5: Work hard, but let your money work harder
SMART goals are effective not just for students and employees. If your New Year resolutions involve being able to save up a specific sum over an intended period, it’s time to get started. Most of us would want to retire by a certain age, and not be stressed over money matters in our golden years. Take advantage of compounding interests and how investment plans and the right insurance policies can help you achieve your monetary goals. It beats letting your hard-earned savings sit in the bank account, earning a meagre interest that doesn’t quite match up to inflation rate.
If your New Year resolutions include growing your wealth to a definite figure, it’s definitely time to speak with your trusted Financial Advisor to map things out for you.
6: Be prepared for the unexpected
Life may sometimes throw us surprises, so an emergency fund could come in handy for unexpected situations. The emergency savings should be at least a few months worth, to support your family through challenging times without incurring more debt.
Are you ready to plan ahead for your family’s future, including retirement and kids’ university fees? I’m a mother and Financial Consultant raising my family in Singapore, and I understand how challenging achieving financial confidence may seem like a distant dream. I’m just a phone call or text away to share my knowledge and experience to journey with you beyond finance.