4 unconventional investments that can make your life better

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Financial Planning

Work, bills, and responsibilities — modern work life can be overwhelming. We spend a great deal of time thinking about money, and for good reasons. We need money for our basic essentials. But there are many other aspects of our lives that are worth investing in too, which we so often forget that there is more to adulthood than earning money and paying bills.

Brandan Chen

Financial Planner

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Interests/Hobbies

We hear stories of people who have quit their high-paying jobs to pursue their interests, turning it into a career (like our own local hawkerpreneurse). That is one way to pursue your dreams. While not all of us would need (or want) to make a career out of our hobbies, what we can do is to set aside time every week to do what we love.

If you’re an avid long-distance runner, sign up for local marathons and make time over the weekends to train. If you love animals, spend the weekends volunteering at an animal shelter.

Here are some ways that we can invest in our hobbies:

  • Find a group of people who share the same interest as you. Try platforms like meetup.com that are great ways for anyone to find interest groups on just about anything you can think of.
  • Keep up to date on relevant conferences and events (it’s also a great excuse to travel). Try Eventbrite and even The List for starters.

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Career Goals

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At some point, we fall into the trap of being too caught up in the day-to-day routine. We wake up, grab coffee, clock into work, get buried under too many emails, grab more coffee and repeat the same routine day after day.

Rather than accepting the humdrum of work-life, make a conscious effort to strive for excellence at whatever role you’re in. This means looking beyond the day-to-day responsibilities.

A great way to invest in your career is to upgrade your skills through courses or attending conferences. Try seeking support from your managers and HR department for training and development resources. Identify a need in your team or department and make a case for why they should send you on courses. If your company does not have the necessary budget, you can also try looking for assistance in government-funded schemes. Equipped with deeper knowledge and sharper skills, you may be positioned to seek better opportunities within your workplace.

Relationships

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One of the hardest things about our modern working life is juggling work commitments and relationships, either with family or friends. We find ourselves with lesser time for the people around us. With time being a precious commodity, we are forced to decide which relationships are worth investing in.

An efficient way of going about this is to participate in activities together with your loved ones. Building on the earlier point about investing in your interests, you can grow and develop your hobbies while spending time with those that matter. Instead of TV dinners, make it an effort to engage in conversations with your family. If you are out with friends, try to adopt a no personal device rule. You can also plan for bonding activities over the weekend. From handicraft to hatha yoga classes, there is always something catering to different interest within your family and social circles if you plan ahead.

Health

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In our daily hustle, health tends to be one of the first to drop off our priority list. After a hard day’s work, you want to sit back and relax, rather than going for an hour-long jog around your neighbourhood. For office-bound work, sitting for long hours can also result in health problems.

Forking out hundreds of dollars on a gym membership may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but there are some easy and practical ways that you can invest in your health and wellbeing:

  • Create a standing workstation. All you will need is an adjustable laptop stand. You can go one step further by investing in a stability ball, effectively turning your workspace into your workout space.
  • Choose an affordable exercise activity like jogging or yoga, and schedule this in the morning before your day’s activities begin. There are also plenty of free and fun group exercise classes across the island.
  • Get insured early. Even the fittest person falls sick. Getting yourself insured in the event of sickness can be a way of saving yourself financial stress and anxiety in the future.

While it seems that different aspects of life push us in different directions simultaneously, it is important to keep track of what we truly want to achieve. Investing in what is most important to us is just as important as keeping track of our financial investments. What are you choosing to invest in today?

Taking care of our dependents as well

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As we move towards our retirement years, we would need to think about our dependents and their quality of life after us. While we may imagine our retirement years to be happy, in good health and surrounded by our family, sometimes, life can take a turn for the worse when we least expect.

This could be a sickness that requires a huge amount of money for treatment or expensive long-term care that we didn't plan for, which could place a financial burden on our loved ones. It is thus important to ensure we've got our healthcare expenses covered with the appropriate insurance.

For those who have dependents, you may want to think about leaving them with a sum of money that can help them maintain their quality of life after you have passed on. This can be in the form of a life insurance that you've paid for.

Disclaimer:

This advertisement has not been reviewed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore. The information in this article does not necessarily reflect the views of Manulife (Singapore) Pte. Ltd. All stated information, including external links, are general information and does not constitute or form any recommendation of insurance plan. Certain information in this article may be taken from external sources, which we consider reliable. We do not represent that this information is accurate or complete and should not be relied upon as such.

This article is for your information only and does not consider your specific investment objectives, financial situation or needs. We recommend that you seek advice from a Manulife Financial Consultant before making a commitment to purchase a policy.