As students gradually become young adults and seek financial independence, are they equipped with the right knowledge to gain a solid footing in life and the years after?
A 2018 study found that nearly a third of young adults were “financially precarious” due to poor financial literacy and lacked money management skills. After all, it isn’t a skill set typically taught in school. It is also a topic that is often neglected at home.
With that in mind, the YWLC Pay It Forward (PIF) Mentorship Programme team organised a financial literacy session with Priscilla Pang, Co-founder of WomenINVEST, for the mentors and mentees of the programme on how they can develop healthy financial habits whilst young and how they can start a savings plan.
Some of the PIF Mentorship Programme mentors and mentees at the financial literacy workshop delivered by Priscilla Pang, Co-founder of WomenINVEST
Here are the financial literacy tips shared:
Develop healthy financial habits as early as possible - It is never too early to start forming good saving habits. It starts with differentiating your needs from your desires, and this can be done by keeping tabs on exactly what you are spending on. From budgeting and keeping track of your spending, you will then be able to identify what you are spending on, and what you can cut out, if necessary. This helps you work towards consistently saving a portion of your allowance or income.
Invest your savings to achieve your financial goals, increase your purchasing power, and support the causes you believe in - Some of the common financial goals include being able to afford a home, support your aging parents, and financial stability when you start your own family. Healthcare and property prices increase yearly due to inflation, and this could make your financial goals seem out of reach. One of the ways to beat inflation is to invest your savings to outgrow the rate of inflation. Funding companies that support the causes you believe in is also another way you can invest your savings.
Understand how you can invest your savings based on the risk and returns potential of your investment - Before investing, it is important to identify the following to make a more informed decision:
Income and Adequacy of Emergency Funds: Your current income and your savings (a.k.a emergency funds) impact the type of investments you can make. The more loose funds you have on hand, the more you can spread out over different kinds of investments. This means that you can have part of your money in investments that are higher risk, and some in investments with lower risk.
Life stage: Where you are at in your life will affect the kind of risk you are willing to take. For example, a parent might want to take lower risks to ensure that there are sufficient funds for the family, while a younger person with lesser commitment might feel more comfortable to take higher risks.
Risk appetite: Of course, regardless of which life stage you are at, it also boils back down to your risk appetite - what kind of risk are you willing to take? With all investments, you first have to put up a sum of money in hope of gaining back a profit. So the question is, are you willing to invest money in something that has some chance of giving you a high profit, if you also had a higher risk of losing the money invested? Or do you prefer investing money in something with a high chance of giving you some or minimal profit, but with minimal risk of losing the money you invested?
Suitable Investment Platform: It is also important to consider the right kind of investment for yourself by assessing the ease of usage, hidden commission fees, assets to choose from on the platform, and whether you are comfortable with purchasing stocks in your own name or through a brokerage.
Start small with investing a small amount every month consistently - This is an investment strategy called dollar-cost averaging that reduces investment risks and prevents bad timings of purchases of stocks. You can start by investing $100 monthly. This can help you avoid panic buying or selling because you cannot know for sure how the market will do due to market volatility.
YWLC’s PIF Mentorship Programme is a 6-month programme in partnership with International Women’s Forum (IWF) and ITE Central. It brings together YWLC members eager to mentor budding young adults with mentees from IWF and ITE with a growth mindset. Mentor-mentee pairs from this programme consistently learn and bring out the best from each other.
WomenINVEST is a community of females who empower one another in their investing journeys.
WomenINVEST was created after discovering the differences between women and men in the learning of investing. Understanding that women may have different risk appetites or concerns when it comes to investments, they hope to empower more women to learn to invest without having to feel overwhelmed or out of place. For more information, visit their website here.
Authors: Ng Wan Wen
Photos: Joanne Tan