Financial Planning

How can I keep my savings accessible?

Actually, your money doesn’t actually have to be as “untouchable” as you think. Better ways to keep your finances within reach from Manulife Singapore are just a down scroll away.

Are you the sort who saves money by squirreling away loose notes into a Milo tin you keep under your bed? If that sounds a little old-school, what if we were to remind you that simply putting money away into a regular savings account with interest rates below one per cent is roughly as effective as the Milo tin method, seeing as you won’t beat prevailing inflation rates either way?

Many in Singapore still prefer to keep their money very accessible (ie in a regular savings account) instead of considering investments and funds which may make retrieving their money less convenient than a stroll to the ATM.

But there are ways to find a balance between keeping your money available if you really need it, while still getting it to work harder for you. Here are four to get you started.

Be wary of large investments

Some assets are difficult to liquidate (convert to cash) on short notice. This may seem pretty obvious, but a very common mistake among Singaporeans is to sink too much money into buying the biggest house they can get. This is often done on the basis that the home is a retirement asset.

However, a bigger house means hefty mortgage repayments. And without proper planning, it’s difficult to get money out of your house when an emergency strikes. Even if you are willing to sell it, this is probably not something that can be done in a matter of weeks.

You should also be careful not to sink cash into exotic and illiquid assets such as wine, art, watches, etc. Unless you have the extra cash, of course.

jenga play

Do not invest too heavily in volatile assets

Volatile assets, such as small cap stocks, are liquid. It is possible to sell them off in a matter of days. However, bear in mind that you may not be able to sell at the best price. Say all your money is tied up in shares, and the stock market is currently underperforming. You’re going to lose money if you need to sell them off to cover an emergency.

You may want to balance your portfolio with lower risk assets, such as blue chip stocks, which tend to have more stable prices. Speak to a professional financial advisor for more details.

road sign volatility ahead

Choose financial products with flexible options.

Fixed and structured deposits may be safe, but they lock down your money. If you terminate a fixed deposit before the maturity date, for example, you will lose the accrued interest.

You should consider flexibility as well when buying financial products. For example, Manulife has a Flexi Protect insurance plan. This allows you to redirect your premiums from coverage to investment later down the road, to better aid with retirement. You can also adjust the level of insurance to suit your changing financial situation.

Singaporeans also have access to Singapore Savings Bonds (SSBs), which generate a higher interest rate than fixed deposits (around 2.6 per cent per annum if kept for 10 years), and allow you to withdraw the money on any month.

Do not invest everything

You should save as well as invest. In general, you will want to set aside at least 20 per cent of your income as savings, on top of any investments you make. Aim to do this until you have accumulated six months’ worth of your income.

This constitutes an emergency fund. In the event of a crisis, you can resort to it instead of liquidating your investments, or using expensive loans.

The best way to be ready for life is to allow a professional financial advisor to review your situation. Everyone faces different risks, so there is no single best approach to preparing for emergencies. The key is to have a range of assets or products tailored to your specific lifestyle needs.

origami transformer with funds, bonds...

Disclaimer:

These insurance products are underwritten by Manulife (Singapore) Pte. Ltd. (Reg. No. 198002116D). This advertisement has not been reviewed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore. Buying a life insurance policy is a long-term commitment. There may be high costs involved if you terminate the policy early, and your policy's surrender value (if any) may be zero or less than the total premiums paid. Buying health insurance products that are unsuitable for you may affect your ability to finance your future healthcare needs. This advertisement is for your information only and does not consider your specific investment objectives, financial situation or needs. It is not a contract of insurance and is not intended as an offer or recommendation to purchase the plan. You can find the full terms and conditions, details, and exclusions for the mentioned insurance product(s) in the policy contract.

This policy is protected under the Policy Owners’ Protection Scheme which is administered by the Singapore Deposit Insurance Corporation (SDIC). Coverage for your policy is automatic and no further action is required from you. For more information on the types of benefits that are covered under the scheme as well as the limits of coverage, where applicable, please contact us or visit the LIA or SDIC web-sites (www.lia.org.sg or www.sdic.org.sg).

We recommend that you seek advice from a Manulife Financial Consultant or its Appointed Distributors before making a commitment to purchase a policy.

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