As Millennials, many of us are dealing with our first recession in Singapore in our adult lives.
Our generation is feeling the financial impact. Roughly a third of millennials (ages 24 to 39) and Gen Z (ages 18 to 23) say that Covid-19 has had an extreme or very negative impact on their financial security.
The truth is there is a lot we cannot control externally. Few jobs are stable during these times. Even big technology companies like Uber and LinkedIn have let go of staff during the first half of this year.
It would take some time for our economy to recover. What we can do is to focus on taking steps to prepare for a prolonged recession in Singapore.
If you are worried about job security and thinking about how you can prepare, here are some steps you can take to cushion the impact on you and your family.
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1. Have at least 12 months worth of emergency funds
In challenging times like these, it would be prudent to save around 12 months worth of expenses.
This is because many have estimated that it would take them around 12 months to find a new job in such an economic climate.
For instance, if you spend $1,000 a month. One year worth of expenses will be $1,000 X 12 months = $12,000.
If you find yourself spending more online than usual, you may wish to take some preventive measures.
You could unsubscribe from mailing lists; disabling push notifications and also unfollow influencers who constantly run ads. If you really need to make a purchase, you can also use Shopback to save costs and get cashback on some online expenses.
To help your savings grow, do remember to put your money in a high interest savings account.
There are many options available. Personally, I use the DBS Multiplier account.
What I like about it is that I can still earn interest in an event if I were to lose my job. This is because Dividends from some of my dividend stocksare also classified as Income.
Furthermore, DBS updated the terms of their DBS Multiplier account on 1 August 2020 to be inclusive to those who have been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
You can now earn interest even when you do not credit your salary. This ensures that those who are not working yet such as students, fresh graduates who have yet to find a job and the retired, can earn some interest.
Many savings accounts globally have slashed their interest rates to an all time low. The banks in Singapore have all been impacted as well. However, what I like about DBS Multiplier is that it is an account for all seasons in my life – good and bad. There is also no minimum balance required.
2. Start investing consistently
If you have yet to start investing, this might be a good time. This would ensure that your money can grow much faster. In my case, I invest anything beyond my emergency funds.
Part of my savings go to Robo Advisers such as Stashaway.
Stashaway is licensed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore. I personally feel that it is a good first step for beginners who are completely new to investing. You can use my promo code here to get a 6-month management fee waiver, for up to $10,000 of assets under management.
You can also consider DBS Digiportfolio, a ready-made investment portfolio that combines human expertise and robo-technology into one to grow and protect your wealth.
Also, if you use an RSP to invest, the amount can also go towards your eligible transactions for the Multiplier account and increase your total interest earned.
If you’d like to learn about the different types of investment options such as bonds, stocks and ETFs, you may do so in this free online course here. This free course is conducted by Jonathan Ang, 25, a full-time investor who started investing during his national service days.
Investing not only ensures my money can compound at a much faster rate, it also helps to grow my emergency funds in my DBS Multiplier account.
After all, when you invest, you can also earn interest with DBS Multiplier. This is valid for Valid for fully settled “BUY” equity trades via DBS Vickers Online Trading.
3. Create another stream of income, don’t just depend on one source
Of course, savings and investing is just one component. As shared in my previous video about how I manage my monthly salary as a millennial in Singapore, there is a limit to how much one can save.
So I would recommend people to put focus on other aspects of personal finance such as income.
In my personal view, it is risky to rely only on one source of income. For many businesses, they have multiple revenue streams which makes them resilient in tough times. Similarly, we can reduce our own risks by diversifying our income.
Having more sources of income also gives you faster and more agile paths to wealth. Every new source will increase the total amount of money you make, and represent another path of potential advancement.
Since I have time after work, I decided to monetize my blog in April this year, focusing on earning through affiliate programs and sponsored posts. Should you have any special skills, you may consider monetizing it as well.
4. Continue to grow your knowledge & upskill
When it comes to the topic of upskilling, many immediately assume it is all about learning coding and becoming a software developer. However, it is not necessary to learn them to thrive in a digital age.
You can still stay in your industry and your area of interest, but make an effort to understand where it is going and what skills are in demand. This can be easily done by analyzing the job descriptions or talking to your peers in the industry.
For instance, if you are in HR, why not learn how to use LinkedIn Talent Solutions, Workday or HR Analytics. If you are an analyst, why not pick up Tableau? If you are in accounting, how about picking up XERO? If you are in Sales. Why not learn how to use Salesforce CRM? If you are in marketing, why not pick up in-demand skills in SEM, SEO, Social Media analytics and Content Marketing?
When you learn these skills, you increase the value which you can add to an organization. You position yourself as an employee who can move forward with them in a digital age, not hold them back by refusing to adopt softwares and the whole new way of doing things.
Upskilling doesn’t have to be about coding, it is simply about staying relevant and ensuring you can survive in this digital disruption of our economy.
If you have yet to use your $500 SkillsFuture Credit, you may wish to consider tapping on it. I used mine to learn Malay.
Beyond upskilling in terms of hard skills, I would also encourage you to use this time to improve your personal finance skills. I have written extensively on this topic and you can access my articles for free or follow my youtube channel here.
Other resources include NAV University which has monthly talks and seminars for anyone who wants to get better at money from saving, protection, investment, debt management, home planning, retirement and more.
If you’re student, you may also follow this Students Only Telegram to get hacks and tips on how to get better at money
5. Keep networking online and offline
Lastly, do not forget to network.
Networking can help you to find a job faster if you were to lose yours. Employee referrals continue to be employers’ top source of hires, delivering more than 30 percent of all hires overall in 2016 and 45 percent of internal hires, recently released data show.
It also have several other benefits such as helping you to identify industry trends, understand market rate for your salary.
While some may be uncomfortable with networking, my advice would be to approach it with the mindset of how you can help the other person.
As author Ryan Holiday says in my favourite book, Ego is the Enemy:
“Imagine if for every person you met, you thought of some way to help them, something you could do for them?…The cumulative effect this would have over time would be profound: You’d learn a great deal by solving diverse problems. You’d develop a reputation for being indispensable. You’d have countless new relationships. You’d have an enormous bank of favors to call upon down the road. That’s what the canvas strategy is about—helping yourself by helping others.”Ryan Holiday
Times are hard for everyone but we are all in this together!
I would continue to update this blog with articles and generate content, so feel free to let me know via DM what topics would be the most relevant to you.
This is a sponsored post by DBS, but opinions are mine