Life Skills I Want My Daughters to Learn Early that Will Benefit them for Life


Life Skills I Want My Daughters to Learn Early that Will Benefit them for Life

I have two young and beautiful daughters. As parents, I believe we all want our kids to have the best. We want them to be happy, healthy, and successful in life. Sometimes, I wonder how I can best prepare them for their future. And perhaps, one of the best ways I can do is to impart the right values and educate them about financial literacy from an early age.

Personally, I feel that this is one lesson that they will unlikely learn in school and they should not only learn it as adults in the school of hard knocks. During the course of my work, I have seen many families struggling with their finances. Although we can prepare our children financially by planning for them or setting money aside for them, what is better than to equip them with financial knowledge and skills that will benefit them for life? And by teaching my children the value of money, it helps to instill a sense of responsibility about money — and not take it for granted.

Cultivating good financial habits and helping them understand the value of money from a young age can make a huge difference when they grow up. Therefore, explaining how to save, budget, invest and plan for the future is one of the most important skills we can impart to them.

So when should we start?

We can introduce the concept of money to them when they are toddlers. It should not be a taboo subject and one of the things I will do to get them money savvy is to shop with them and let them learn how to handle money. For instance, when my elder girl requests for some toys, I will try to explain if that is within our budget. It is teaching her delayed gratification. She knows she has to wait for her birthday or Christmas to get some of the toys she wants – and that is if she behaves.

According to a research, children are developmentally capable of saving when they are as young as five or six, and their developmental gains at this age may give them the economic knowledge and behaviours they require as adults. I see this as a pivotal time. So by then, you can also talk to them about savings and how interest works. Encourage your children to start the habit of putting money away for the future early (maybe to get their favourite toys).

Teaching them the concept of investment

Yes, teaching kids about investment can start really young. Though this concept may seem “too big for young kids to swallow”, we can always relate it to something tangible and easier for them. You can praise them when they finish a piece of art work by saying, “Wow, you invested time and effort in this and it looks amazing.”

Another way to introduce this concept is through an activity like planting seeds. You can help your child plant some seeds in a flowerpot. Talk about the time the plant needs to grow and the water you need to “invest” in it to get a pretty sunflower or a tomato at the end in “return”.

Actions can speak louder than words

Try to lead by example when it comes to kids and money. They inherit many of your financial beliefs subconsciously. When you visit a shop with your kids and they see dollar notes leave your wallet, they visualise it and gain a better understanding. So spend money wisely in front of your kids.

Though money is a tool, it is related to many things in life. You want them to be spending on things that can create value when they grow up, rather than worrying about how they are going to pay off their debts. If your kids simply expect pocket money at the end of every week, you may not be doing it right. Instead, emphasise that the amount they receive will be based on the scope of their labour, for instance helping out with the household chores or helping someone in need.

Imparting the Right Values

I feel that the good thing about teaching our kids about financial literacy is that we can also nurture other life values along the way.

Through money management, children can learn about setting goals and making responsible and informed decisions. They will plan more consciously when they want to buy the things they want, and cultivate patience when they experience delayed gratification. This is all part of their character-building process that will benefit them for a lifetime.

And most importantly, these activities promote family bonding as we all learn and share thoughts together!

Not paper-chasing

I believe that the acquisition of knowledge and skills goes beyond paper qualifications. I will not encourage my children to chase for good grades in school simply to secure a good paying job in the future.

Like Jack Ma once told his son, “you don’t need to be in the top three in your class, being in the middle is fine, so as long as your grades aren’t too bad. Only this kind of person has enough free time to learn other skills.”

I feel that although academic achievements are important, it should not be the main priority in life. Learning is a lifelong journey and the important thing is to make this journey interesting and exciting for my children, so that they can be equipped with the right values and the practical life skills and mindset to overcome any challenges in life.

Ultimately, watching our kids grow happily and healthily is what all mothers hope for, don’t you agree?


7 Practical Tips to Become an Entrepreneur with No Money


7 Practical Tips to Become an Entrepreneur with No Money

In a generation where self-made success stories are synonymous with inspiration and most people desire to make it on their own, the allure of entrepreneurship has spread far and wide. For the most motivated individuals, the only thing left to do is to take action.

If you are one of them but you feel cash-strapped to put your plans into motion, here are 7 practical tips for you to start embarking on your own entrepreneurial journey without breaking your bank! Lack of funds should not, in any way, deter you from pursuing your entrepreneurial dreams!

1. Put your hands to work

One of the easiest ways to keep costs low is to employ a hands-on approach. On top of reducing the need to utilise and finance manpower. By taking a hands-on approach means that you will most likely be dealing with a service-based business, which is more no-frills than a product-based business would be. If there is something in particular that you are good at which also has potential to generate revenue, you can turn it into a business at a relatively lower or no cost.

2. Begin with what you already have

Do you have the knowledge or skills that someone else might be prepared to pay for? Can you paint, design, code or speak a foreign language? If you possess knowledge or a skill that other people do not, or would need to spend time and money learning themselves, that would immediately put you at a big advantage. Tap on your skills to provide these services at no cost!

3. Look for free resources online

The beauty of the internet these days lies in the fact that you can access information quickly and tap on all the online resources for free! Build a website at little or no cost via online website builder platforms such as WordPress or wix. Then get onto the social networking platforms like Facebook or LinkedIn. They are free, easy and an amazing way to reach out and promote your businesses without spending much money. Start small and grow it!

4. Get a little financial help

A budding entrepreneur can head to a bank to obtain a bank loan for his or her starting capital to get the ball rolling. But of course, banks are strict with their loans, and the process of obtaining a loan may end up to be more cumbersome than otherwise. The good thing is that banks are not the only option. There are often government grants and funding schemes like Startup SG or Capability Development Grant targeting entrepreneurs of various categories and industries. If your business idea fulfills the criteria, then you are more than eligible to apply for these grants.

5. Get help through crowdfunding

In this era, there exists platforms that help budding entrepreneurs get an early head-start, and surprisingly, it isn’t too difficult to figure out. Like Kickstarter or FundedHere, there are platforms for budding entrepreneurs to put out their new innovations and seek funding through any keen consumer who stumbles upon their page. On top of financing their plans, this is also a great way to get one’s name out there, and as we all know, word of mouth is sometimes the most powerful way to get around. Utilising such platforms not only helps you attract investors, but also gets you a solid customer base when your business becomes a reality.

6. Join a career that lets you run your own show

How does a career that challenges you to grow as an entrepreneur sound like to you? If you like to have the flexibility to choose your target markets and build your team, consider becoming a financial advisor. Financial advisors work with people to help them (and yourself too) prepare financially for the future, and the work you do can transform the lives of your clients and their families. It may be tough in the beginning, so joining an agency or network that provides you with free trainings and access to like-minded peers from across the country can give you the support and advice specific to your practice and career path.

7. Last but not least – Think partnership

Tap on the capabilities of others which you may not possess. This can reduce your costs of outsourcing or employing someone to do the job. But you may ask, where can I find my partners? Well, join networks, meet more people, and start establishing trust and credibility. If you’ve had prior business success, talk about it. If you haven’t, discuss your professional achievements so they see you as someone they can trust and work with. Then, make him or her an offer that they simply cannot refuse. With the same passion and constant communication, you can benefit from this synergetic partnership to achieve your desired success from your entrepreneurial journey!


Why I left my $40K Engineer Job to start out on my own at the age of 23

Why I left my $40K Engineer Job to start out on my own at the age of 23

Did you know? According to a study by global webhosting company GoDaddy, “not having to worry about losing their corporate jobs” is one of the driving forces leading Singaporeans to pursue entrepreneurship.
I believe that part of it comes from the insecurity, the other is the money. I used to think that my job as a sales engineer then was stable with good income and great career prospects. However, an incident that happened to one of my closest friends struck me to think otherwise.

She used to work in a multi-national company fetching an income of more than $200,000 a year. Many of us really envied her career success and achievements until one day when we heard that she was retrenched! Not only did this came as a surprise to us, it was also a rude shock to her. She was deeply affected and it took her more than a year before she managed to return to the workforce, with a significant compromise on her salary.

To a young graduate like me then, I came to realise that it was really stressful to be in the sandwiched class. We had to keep working very hard to “keep ourselves afloat” to earn that paycheck after paycheck at the end of each month. But for the rich and wealthy, they did not have to work for money but had money work for them.

I do not come from a rich family, but through reading, I discovered how I could work towards achieving my dream to gain financial independence. Most successful entrepreneurs did not start out with a lot of money to build their multi-million business. The most powerful assets they possessed were the strong mindset and the willingness and courage to take up challenges. It was also about financial aptitude, which is what we do with money after we earn it, and how to make it work for us.

Starting My Own With No Capital

Though with much apprehension, I still decided to take the plunge and tendered my resignation. The fear of failure and how others would look at me suddenly dawned on me. But it was still clear to me that I wanted to start out on my own. I needed to be financially savvy to do that, so I started picking up the necessary financial knowledge and skills to manage my own wealth (which was never taught in school).

Gradually, I realised that I could also help others achieve their financial goals with the new knowledge and skills I acquired. That was the time when I decided to join Prudential as a Financial Consultant to share the knowledge I learnt through my personal experiences.

6 Months and I Exceeded My Previous Annual Pay of $40K

I was pleasantly surprised when it took me just six months before my sales commission exceeded my annual pay of $40,000 from my previous sales engineer job! But somehow my perception of a Financial Consultant career changed. My biggest motivation was not from the money I made, but the satisfaction I gained from helping someone in need.

I managed to deliver a number of claims payouts to my clients, but this was not the only aspect that left a deep impact on me. It was the fact that my services could give security for the families so they know they were in safe hands if the breadwinner was no longer around one day. This was exactly the kind of security I was looking for when I started out on my own.

The work has enabled me to help others achieve their financial goals and indirectly, get rewarded for the work we do at the same time.

Financial Consultancy is An Entrepreneurial Journey?

Just like managing our own business, we determine how we want to grow and run the business, not only to make profits, but also to create a caring and connected community.

I was fortunate to have a great mentor who guided me to where I am today. He groomed me to be an agency leader under JCOrganisation (JCO), giving me the opportunity to lead my team and manage my own business. All thanks to him and my team, I was honoured to clinch the Top Group Agency of the Year (GAM) Award in April 2018. This is in recognition of the efforts and contributions put in by various agencies within Prudential which achieved the highest team productivity last year.

Over the years, I discovered an interesting phenomenon when it comes to running my own business and entrepreneurship.

Why do we want to build a business?

Because we want to be our own boss. Because we want absolute autonomy in deciding our business direction, target market, service or product provided, and how we run our business. And of course, this is the chance to prove ourselves and carve a niche in the working world. You know you are capable of much more than just being a tool to helping someone else realise their dreams.

The beauty of the finance industry lies in what you see and believe is what you will get. Why do I say that?

Today, to be a successful Financial Consultant, we wear many hats. We are our own business. We decide the target market we want to serve. Are you a consultant to the high net worth? Or are you a consultant to business owners? Or perhaps your forte is in planning for the professionals? You will decide your target market and what financial instruments can best fulfill their portfolio, be it investment, retirement planning or risk management.

Gone are the days where an insurance agent peddles just that – insurance.

We have to do our own marketing and our own branding. And JCO is a platform that gives me the training to handle the target market of my choice. I believe that if I can do it, you can too.

How do you run your business? How do you ensure customer loyalty?

These are questions a business owner thinks about and you will too. Interested to know the answers? Do keep a lookout for my upcoming articles.