Ladies – you too can make a great investor!

8th March 2011 marks the 100th anniversary of the International Women’s Day. Here’s wishing all my fellow beautiful and amazing sisters a Happy Women’s Day! On this special day, take some time to celebrate our accomplishments and honor ourselves for being the beautiful, loving, smart and capable woman we all are.

Among the achievements that Singaporean women can be proud of is the rising financial literacy and awareness of the importance of personal finance management. A recent survey by MasterCard Worldwide Index of Financial Literacy found Singaporean women to rank highly in terms of basic money management and financial planning compared to their Asian Pacific peers, scoring 70 and 80.4 respectively (out of 100)

When it comes to basic money management, 71 per cent of the Singaporean women surveyed said that they do not have problems staying on top of their bills and credit commitments.
At the same time, nine in 10 believe they “should have three to six months of cash savings to meet their emergency needs, such as illness or job losses”.

However when it comes to investing, Singaporen women scored only 51.5 (out of 100) in investment skills and knowledge, below the average 56.7 in Asia Pacific region.

So why this disparity? Being educated and financially independent women who are perfectly capable of mastering their personal and even family finance and budgeting, why do many feel inadequate and not confident about their ability to make investing decision?

Women are perfectly capable of becoming savvy investors, if they choose to and take the necessary steps to do so. Here’s how..

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Here’s to a Healthy Body and Mind this Rabbit Year

The Tiger year is coming to a close and the chinese new year festive mood is all around. While people were out shopping for new year goodies and preparing for the celebrations, I spent the past 5 days recuperating at home, trying to recover from a severe cough bug and eye infection. During this period of physical discomfort and associated emotional ups and downs, I learnt 2 valuable lessons about physical and mental well being
which I am sharing in this post.

5 Financial Resolutions for the New Year

Happy New Year!

The beginning of a new year provides a great opportunity for a fresh start and a chance to make new financial resolutions. Whatever stage of life you are in at the moment, be it in your 20s, when you are carving out your career and enjoying life or in your early 30s building your family while developing your career, or in your 40 -50s where things are stabilised at work and family and you are starting to plan for your retirement, here are 5 financial resolutions that can make a positive difference to your financial well being in the long run.

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Create the masterpiece of your life!

“LIFE is a great big canvas and you should throw all the paint on it you can.” ~ Danny Kaye

 

You are the painter of your life and your life is a masterpiece, a work of art. Imagine you have a full palatte of colors to choose from to paint on your blank canvas. Color it in as much as you can and enjoy every moment of your painting.

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3 Things You Must Know About Your Health Insurance

Recently there has been a lot of attention on medical and hospitalisation coverage, especially with the news of the health minister’s $8 heart bypass operation. Some people feel that he must have spent a lot on his insurance or have special back up plans to enjoy such comprehensive coverage. 

On the contrary, the health minister’s coverage is in fact highly affordable to the average working singaporean and did not even involve any cash premiums!  

How can average singaporeans enjoy comprehensive hospitalisation coverage without paying through the roof? What are the 3 key things you need to watch out for in your hospitalisation plans?

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What Does It Take To Become Wealthy?

 “Wealth gives you freedom to make choices” – Oprah Winfrey

Wouldn’t that be great?

Having the freedom to choose whatever you want, to spend time with your family and loved ones, to travel to exotic places all over the world, to enjoy the lifestyle of your dreams or to pursue your interests… without worrying about the money or trying to find time off work commitments.

Yet to many people, wealth seems elusive and a distant “if only”

So what does it take to become wealthy, is it really that unattainable?

Actually the keys to wealth creation lies in 4 simple steps. These 4 steps may appear seemingly simple and so commonsensical that you may think “I know this already, what’s the big deal?”. Yet these are the very fundamental steps which are practised by the world’s wealthiest people and advocated in numerous personal finance and wealth management books.

So, what are the 4 keys?

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Getting out of the rat race! Fun at the cashflow game

Just played the Cashflow 101 boardgame with a great bunch of friends from our Financial Freedom Club this afternoon and we all had fun!  

The Cashflow game was the very 1st activity that my husband and I organised for our Financial Freedom Club members. We selected this game to kick start this club’s activity because the game is about getting out of the rat race, a.k.a achieving Financial Freedom! It was great to see everyone having fun and learning from the game.   Continue reading

The Financial Freedom Club

In my previous post, I mentioned about the importance of having a supportive peer group along your growth journey. 

Having witnessed the power of a supportive peer group in our own lives, my husband and I became inspired to start our very own Financial Freedom Club! 

Our vision is to develop a community of motivated, aspiring people supporting each other in their strive towards financial freedom. This club will also serve as a platform to share resources, ideas, inspiration and success stories so everyone can learn and grow together.

In the course of helping individuals plan for their financial future, I hear dreams and aspirations to secure a better life for their loved ones, to retire comfortably and do the things they like. I also hear their frustrations and constraints, having to juggle between work demands and family commitments. Many long to be free to do the things they enjoy but feel trapped and resigned to work to earn a living. It is my wish that this club will equip more people with the resources and to show them that achieving financial freedom is not as difficult as it seems.

Be part of our Financial Freedom Club on Facebook!

We will be playing the Cashflow 101 Game designed by Robert Kiyosaki where you can learn investing concepts, financial management and strategies to get out of the rat race through a fun and educational board game! Come join us, learn new things, make new friends and have fun!

RSVP here http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=138707716175360

Lessons from kite flying

Last sunday, I went with my family to the Singapore Kite Festival held at The Promontory @ Marina Bay.

It was a memorable experience watching colorful kites of all shapes and sizes flying high in the blue skies while feeling the gentle breeze blowing in my face amidst the bustling sounds of street performances mixed with children laughter and even harp music!

We managed to successfully get our kite up after a few tries, yippie!

After the session, I realised that kite flying is actually similar to life and success

1. Ride the opportunity when it arises

To get the kite up requires the wind to blow in our favor and once it does, we quickly set the kite off and grab the chance to fly it as high as possible, with a little running and tugging when necessary.

Similarly before our projects can take off, we must be prepared and ready to capture opportunities when it arises. A little hard work is definitely required at the beginning, but with the right technique and resources, coupled with the right timing, the projects will fly!

 2. The ups and downs are what makes it fun!

During our kite flying, our kite soared with the wind and fell as the wind strength weakened, just like many of the other kites around us. Each successful attempt to get it back up brought along the excitement and exhilaration all over again. And it was this very up and down cycle of excitement and dismay that kept us captivated and glued to the activity. Imagine if the kite had just set off smoothly and stayed up there steadily, I think everyone will get bored after a while, especially the children!

 There will always be ups and downs, peaks and troughs in life. Rather then fearing it and getting disheartened or put ourselves down when it happens, embrace it and view it as a learning experience. Enjoy the process because the sour and bitter is what makes success all the sweeter when you finally achieve it! If you ask successful people about their most memorable achievements, chances are most of them will recall their challenging moments and how they overcame it.

3. Keep your eye on your kite (goal)

We saw some people chasing after runaway kites and kites falling after colliding with others in their paths. In life, just like kite flying, it’s easy to lose focus and become distracted by other people or events.  Once we take our eyes off our goals, it’s very easy to fall off track and end up spiraling downwards unknowingly.

In order to have sustainable success, it’s important to maintain focused and keep our eyes on our goals at all times.

Even when the kite is flying nice and high, we must stay vigilant, occasionally tugging at it and steering it away from other kites in the same path. Similarly staying focused on our goal allows us to respond and adapt to situations and maintain our momentum.

So, get ready to ride the winds of opportunity, stay focused on your goals and enjoy the process! Happy kite flying!

To your success and happiness,

Yong Hui

My Financial Journey

Decided to write this blog in Mandarin Oriental hotel room the morning after celebrating my 3rd wedding anniversary.

The past 3 years of marriage has seen me grow in many areas, financially, personally and emotionally. I am fortunate to have a husband who is financially savvy and forward looking. =)

Since courtship days he has been encouraging me to take charge of my finances and learn the skills to make my money grow. In the past I was basically nonchalant about money and found the whole idea of investing too complicated, tedious and riskly. It took many years before I finally took the first step on my financial empowerment journey…

It all started with a seminar Millionaire Mind Intensive (MMI) back in 2008 which triggered me to review my attitude and beliefs about money. I realised my subconcious beliefs about money was that money is the root of unhappiness and creates discord among family. To me I never really thought of becoming wealthy because I felt that being rich would create more problems then happiness.

What changed was when I realised these beliefs were not helping me and that being wealthy not only allows me and my loved ones to enjoy a better lifestyle, it also enables me to do more and contribute to others.

Once I changed my attitude towards money and found my purpose for wealth, I started to work on myself, to acquire the financial knowledge, skills to grow my money and develop good money habits to manage my money. And I have never looked back since..

Looking back these were the key factors that contributed to the change in my financial life:

1. Mindset Shift

Many of us live on autopilot and majority of our day to day decisions are made based on our subconcious beliefs and habits. Have you ever wondered why you chose the weekend activities you did, why do some people choose to spend their weekends doing adventurous sports while others choose to relax and chill out at home, many times it’s just a habit that formed over time. Similarly when it comes to the financial aspect, all of us have certain beliefs about money and rich people, some are empowering, some are not, some even cripple us and stop us from taking steps to make a difference in our lives. For example, during the seminar I attended back in 2008, I realised that I have always felt that rich people were money minded, scheming and arrogant (influence of all the hong kong drama serials) and that I would not be accepted by friends and family around me if I were too rich and successful. No wonder I was satisfied with just being mediocre and just earn a decent income!

Many of us did not consciously choose our beliefs, our beliefs were formed over time through our life experiences, the stories we hear, the movies we see etc and etched into our subsconcious as we attached our emotions to it. Only when I was aware of my unconscious beliefs about money was I able to make a more powerful choice as to which beliefs to keep, which to let go of and to create new empowering beliefs that will support me in my journey towards wealth and financial freedom.

2. Ownership and Action

Ever notice how students who do well in studies or excel in sports tend to be motivated, self driven and they exhibit good self discipline? Compare this to those whose parents have to keep pushing them to do their homework, send them to tuition classes and personally monitor their work? The difference between the former and the latter lies in the former group’s ability to take responsibility for themselves. The underlying reason is because they are focused on what they want.

I know because I used to be very passive and bo-chup about my studies during Primary school and only did my assessment books when my mother nagged at me. Naturally my PSLE results were mediocre. Somehow during Secondary School, I started to “wake up” and put in effort into my studies, diligently doing my homework and revising my work. And lo and behold, I jumped the class ranks and came out top in the entire cohort by secondary four!

Why can I sharing all these? Because the success formula behind my achievement in school was not intelligence or miracles, it was simply a result of me deciding to take ownership for myself and taking the necessary actions to work towards my goals. I experienced the same amazing effect at work in my financial life when I finally told myself “That’s it, Yong Hui, it’s time for you to take charge of your finances, because no one else can help you unless you decide to help yourself and nothing will change until you take the first step!” And that resolution became the turning point for me.

Harv once said “Your wealth can only grow to the extent that you do”. From then, I started working on myself, enhancing my financial skills and knowledge, and developing empowering mindset and attitudes. I attended seminars, read books and researched on money management, investing and asset protection etc. Most importantly, I applied what I learnt and started to track my expenditure, monitor my cashflow, investing my money in various instruments and enhancing my insurance coverage.

I will be sharing some of my learnings and financial information on this blog and website. I hope you will find useful and helpful to kick start or enhance your financial knowledge =)

3. Supportive Peer Group

 

Having a supportive peer group is the other key element that contributed to my growth.  I was fortunate to be part of a very supportive environment when I joined the financial services industry. I was part of a positive and motivated team who encouraged each other to strive towards our financial goals; I had an inspiring mentor who guided me along the way and supported me through my down periods, never giving up on me. I was also very grateful to have a supportive husband and family who gave me their blessings to venture into self employment.

As the chinese saying goes, we become who we associate and spend most time with.  Who are the Top 5 people you spend the most time with? Are they supportive in what you do, do they provide guidance or encourage you along the journey? If so, congratulations! If not, I invite you to find some new friends and form a support group of like-minded, positive people who can provide the moral support and ideas along your journey towards achieving your goals.

To Your Success and Happiness,

Yong Hui