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AMA MoneyOwl

This AMA will be held LIVE on Wednesday, 7 Oct 2020 from 7-9pm. Start asking your questions here!

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Stocks Discussion

What are your thoughts on the US Elections and how it might impact the stock markets?
Hi Anonymous, If you allow me to answer this way: in 2016, almost everybody said that if Trump wins, the stock market will go down and the USD would go down, because he was protectionist. However, the stock market and USD went on to deliver one of its best years in history. Elections and geopolitical risk are ultimately short-term events. The key to successful investing is to ignore the noise and concerns of today and stay disciplined for the long term. Our conviction is that whatever happens in the short term, the stock market always goes up in the long term. This based on both logic and evidence. The logic is that the stock market prices are determined by company's earnings, and earnings depend on demand, and demand in turn, on global population growth and increase of standards of living. As long as capitalism survives in some form, then this economic growth will flow through into capital markets and shareholders will be rewarded. Of course, it only applies to buying globally diversified markets, not individual stocks. The evidence is from almost a century of data that shows how the stock market has been resilient across all kinds of crises. Thanks for your question!
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AMA MoneyOwl

MoneyOwl

Investments

Moneyowl fee over the long run?
That's how advisory fees work my friend. Not just MoneyOwl but any FA you're hiring whether digital or human who charges an annual advisory fee would charge a % of AUM and as the account grows, you pay more per year, and even if the account loses money you still have to pay for advice. If you want to save on advisory fees, you should DIY your portfolio without financial or investment advice.
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AMA MoneyOwl

MoneyOwl

Stocks Discussion

Investments

I am a beginner investor and still have much to learn about investing. Is there ever a best time to enter the stock market and what are tell-tale signs of a good time to do so?
Dear Anonymous, Thank you for your question. Allow me to largely repeat my answers from a similar question in this AMA also from a beginner investor: It is great that you are starting to think of investing. Investing in markets has proven over time to deliver above-inflation returns to investors who are able to stay invested long term. There is an African proverb that says that the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now. This applies to investing as well! It is time in the market that counts and not the timing of the market. Time in the market allows you to reap the compounding impact of returns over time. Whereas timing the market is a close to impossible exercise, and most professional managers don’t manage to do it. What might give you comfort is that over the last hundred years or so, it did not matter when you started. As long as you had time (~10 years or so), even you had started at the beginning of a major crisis, you would not lose money if you managed to stay invested in the stock market. You can take a look at this webinar on investing, especially in the middle or so, when you see a mainly green-and-pink matrix diagram. https://www.facebook.com/moneyowlsg/videos/851434158708343 Do also take a read at https://www.moneyowl.com.sg/the-right-way-to-invest/ As a financial adviser at heart, and not just an investment house, MoneyOwl always advises clients to take a holistic view and ensure that they are in good financial health before starting to invest – much as we should be physically healthy before we run a marathon. One of most important things we need to do is to keep an emergency fund of about 6 months’ worth of living expenses. Otherwise, should you suddenly need money to fund your lifestyle and do not have this, you might end up having to liquidate your investments and take a loss, thus derailing your wealth accumulation plan. If you still have questions, do email MoneyOwl at [email protected](mailto:[email protected]) or message us on FB Messenger and ask to speak to one of our qualified advisers. As you may know, we aren’t just a robo but have a full team of human advisers on the AWP/CFP programme. For now till end of 2021, we also have zero advisory fee on all cash investments up to $10,000: an initiative we introduced recently to help Singaporeans, especially small investors looking to start, better manage amidst challenging times, something that is in our DNA as an NTUC social enterprise. Hope this helps!
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AMA MoneyOwl

Investments

MoneyOwl

Fresh Graduates

What words of advice would you give a 25-year-old who is looking to start investing but still afraid to?
Dear Anonymous, I can understand why investing is scary. Investing carries risk and you don't want to lose the money that you have worked hard for and saved. Without knowing more about you, at your age, you would seem to have the tremendous asset of time to start investing aggressively. However, money is very personal and you might have some specific circumstances that influence your risk tolerance or your relationship with money. Perhaps you are thinking that you might want to buy a house soon and don't want to risk your money? Do you have an emergency fund set aside in case of a rainy day already - if not maybe you should do that first? Or you have heard stories of people losing everything in the markets? What are your life goals and how does money support that? As a bionic and comprehensive financial adviser that is humans-at-core and augmented by tech, rather than a roboadvisory, MoneyOwl Client Advisers would be more than happy to talk through some of this with you, like a risk coach. At the same time, we also hope to help you understand more about how markets work, because when you understand it, perhaps you would not be so fearful. On the practical side, sometimes, the best way to overcome your fear is to take that one step and it need not be a big step. Start with a little - for MoneyOwl, we start from a minimum of $100 one-off (and fees are waived for the first $10,000 for now). Allow me to explain psychological edge. During the March 2020 market drop, which was scary, MoneyOwl encouraged our clients to consider put in part of your dry powder – basically any cash over and above your emergency fund and regular investments – into the markets to work. Why do we do this? It is not because we are timing the market. Yes, of course because out clients bought more at cheaper prices they get a booster shot to your main goals. But the main reason is the psychological edge we know it would give each of our clients in managing his or her fears. Once they did a top-up when markets go down, they were no longer fearful. Instead, they were excited for the opportunity to give that booster to their plan which was already in place. I repeat below some of what I had written in answer to some beginner investors in this same AMA, perhaps it is a good start that you can find useful. Our investment page and articles page also explain further and it is a good place to start if you are looking to understand more about markets. If you wish to speak to an adviser, please email us at [email protected](mailto:[email protected]) There is an African proverb that says that the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now. This applies to investing as well! It is time in the market that counts and not the timing of the market. Time in the market allows you to reap the compounding impact of returns over time. Whereas timing the market is a close to impossible exercise, and most professional managers don’t manage to do it. What might give you comfort is that over the last hundred years or so, it did not matter when you started. As long as you had time (~10 years or so), even you had started at the beginning of a major crisis, you would not lose money if you managed to stay invested in the stock market. You can take a look at this webinar on investing, especially in the middle or so, when you see a mainly green-and-pink matrix diagram. https://www.facebook.com/moneyowlsg/videos/851434158708343 Do also take a read at https://www.moneyowl.com.sg/the-right-way-to-invest/ As a financial adviser at heart, and not just an investment house, MoneyOwl always advises clients to take a holistic view and ensure that they are in good financial health before starting to invest – much as we should be physically healthy before we run a marathon. One of most important things we need to do is to keep an emergency fund of about 6 months’ worth of living expenses. Otherwise, should you suddenly need money to fund your lifestyle and do not have this, you might end up having to liquidate your investments and take a loss, thus derailing your wealth accumulation plan. If you still have questions, do speak to one of our qualified advisers. As you may know, we aren’t just a robo but have a full team of human advisers on the AWP/CFP programme. For now till end of 2021, we also have zero advisory fee on all cash investments up to $10,000: an initiative we introduced recently to help Singaporeans, especially small investors looking to start, better manage amidst challenging times, something that is in our DNA as an NTUC social enterprise.
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AMA MoneyOwl

MoneyOwl

Insurance

Whole Life Insurance

Term Life Insurance

Which is better if I am deciding between whole and term life? And how do I know which is a better plan based on what needs I have?
Hi Anonymous, Thank you for your question. MoneyOwl and one of our parents Providend (including through the DIYInsurance business which MoneyOwl inherited) have been strong and vocal advocates of term insurance. This has often attracted the ire of fellow advisers. For most people, term insurance can fully cover their needs and this starts from an understanding of what insurance is for. Insurance is for protection. Insurance was not meant to be for saving and investing (whole life combines both) – it is far too expensive to use insurance for this purpose and there are many instruments out there even if you are risk averse. Insurance is thus an expense and MoneyOwl’s insurance philosophy is that we should buy as much insurance as we need but pay as little as we can. The best way to start thinking about insurance is not from products but in the following order: · How long we need the coverage for. This is also highlighted by Elijah below, as the place to start. · How much you need · And then what type to buy When we start by asking how long we need the coverage for, we realise that there are many needs that are temporary (for a period, or a “term”); and there are a few needs that are permanent (you need for “life”). If you are buying insurance to mitigate the loss of income due to death, a critical illness or disability, may I suggest that we only need this insurance until your planned retirement age (when there would have been no more income to replace), or until there are no more dependents, whichever is later. The needs that are for life are mainly large medical bills, so for this you need a Shield plan that can cover you for life. But, should you have a conviction that you would like to utilise alternative medicine in a medical situation, this need for alternative medicine coverage could be a “whole life” need. Ultimately, the reason we advocate term insurance is because it is the most affordable way to be fully covered and it is fit-for-purpose. If you depend solely on whole life, you will never be able to fully cover yourself. Yes, whole life gives you money “back”, but only because a large part of that premium – maybe 80 cents out of every dollar – you had given to the insurance company to invest for you (at very low rates because of the high costs involved) in the first place; the portion that went to pay for protection is not given back to you. If you ask actuaries, the people who make all the calculations in insurance companies, you will be hard pressed to find an actuary who would buy any insurance except term insurance and medical expenses insurance. We explain more about this in the following: An ebook that we have on term life vs whole life written by Providend founder and CEO/ MoneyOwl Executive Director Christopher Tan https://www.moneyowl.com.sg/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/MO-thecaseoftermvswholelifeinsuranceebook.pdf A video of a recent insurance webinar: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iQePr0qb2xY&feature=youtu.be To assess your insurance needs, you can also try out our insurance needs analysis platform (under “Find Out What I Need” on our insurance page) or compare about half a million quotes (“Compare Insurance”) on our insurance page, no account creation required and no need to speak to anyone, until you wish to. https://www.moneyowl.com.sg/insurance/ Hope this answers your question!
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AMA MoneyOwl

MoneyOwl

Investments

What do you think is the greatest difference between investing today and say 10-15 years ago?
Hi Anonymous, Thanks for your question. Around 12 years ago, we suffered the Global Financial Crisis. The GFC brought to light some inherent structural problems in the whole investing ecosystem and debunked many assumptions. One of these is really the whole value-add of active management. Since then, the “alpha” (outperformance) that was associated with being better, smarter and faster, for example, with the hedge funds (arguably the most active of active management), seems to have disappeared. As Prof Bob Merton, Resident Scientist of Dimensional Fund Advisors and Nobel Laureate shared with MoneyOwl during a visit to Singapore about a year ago, his reading was that some of this alpha was more “financial services alpha”: to do with the ability to obtain cheap leverage, not really because of manager skill. Perhaps it was the disillusionment with “professionals” mixed with the timing of technological advancement, that was saw the advent of roboadvisers first in the US just after the GFC. Roboadvisers have brought fees down and increased accessibility. Singapore started to see a mushrooming of roboadvisers in the last few years, too. What we need to take note of, however, is that roboadvisers worldwide are not tested in a severe crisis. This is where having the institutional knowledge of how to advise clients through a crisis, how to risk-coach them, how advisers can and should be in the lead for individual clients rather than fund managers, is so valuable. MoneyOwl is privileged to inherit this through our parent, Providend, which has advised clients through various crises, including the GFC, over the last 10-15 yars. For Singapore investors, there are also many more options not just on the access side but also on the product side. 10-15 years ago, low-cost, market-based funds like those of Dimensional’s did not exist. In fact, they only started being available to retail clients about 2 years ago. This is a tremendous improvement. But we should not only look at commercial investment products. Solutions for wealth building include national schemes which have been strengthened greatly during this period. The development of CPF LIFE, in particular, is an excellent annuity scheme for Singaporeans that should form the Safe Retirement Income Floor and be the starting point for all retirement planning. For many people, perhaps even just maximising CPF, would already go a long way towards retirement adequacy, with or without buying commercial investment products: and by this we do not mean using CPF as a source of investing funds! That is why, counter-intuitive as it might be for a business to say so, but not at all out of sync with our social enterprise and professional ethos, MoneyOwl always advocates a comprehensive planning approach that properly integrates CPF when it comes to investing towards our life goals.
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AMA MoneyOwl

MoneyOwl

Endowus

Robo-Advisors

Investments

EndowUs and MoneyOwl offer the same access to dimensional funds. What distinguishes MoneyOwl from EndowUs?
Hi Andy, Thanks for your question! I think the main difference between MoneyOwl and not just Endowus, but roboadvisers in general, is who we are. MoneyOwl is not really a "pure start-up", funded by VCs or founder money. Not to say that this is bad in itself. But for us, this is not how we started as we are a JV between NTUC Enterprise - with 5 decades of serving working families and Providend - a best-in-class comprehensive and homegrown adviser with a history of ethical advice and a pioneer in the fee-for-service model. MoneyOwl was built on this heritage and continues to bring this to Singapore, to which we are fully committed. This also means building our business in a way that is sustainable and ethical. We do not just want to compete on price to be the cheapest - though we are among the lowest cost - but focus on the value we bring. Secondly, in a sense, MoneyOwl isn't really a roboadviser - rather, we are a comprehensive adviser that happens to have an investment robo platform. Actually we have 4 platforms: insurance, investments, will-writing and comprehensive planning that integratest CPF. We are big on CPF because we think that this is the best retirement planning tool for many Singaporeans and we have to integrate it into retirement plans. Thirdly, MoneyOwl is Singapore's first bionic adviser. We bring human wisdom and technology together. This is not about client service or even about fund management hubris. It is about human advisers - and we have a full team all in the AWP/CFP programme- augmented by technology because being a social enterprise, it is all about people; and humans are the ones who understand humans the best. Fourthly, if you look at investment philosophy, there are some meaningful differences. MoneyOwl is big on "market-based" investing and Dimensional funds express this view. We believe in the wisdom of markets and market information, and the futility for both equities and bonds, not just equities. There is a question in this AMA about bonds where I expanded on this. That belief is also why currently, we only have Dimensional because Dimensional is the only fund house that fulfils the criteria of having a bond fund that is global and non-forecasting and which is hedged to SGD. On the actual Dimensional funds used, there are differences as MoneyOwl selected a combination of funds that have the lower Total Expense Ratio and yet give the broad diversified exposure. While we do not compete on lowest fees, there are fee differences as well, and you can see from the way we set out our pricing that MoneyOwl is really serving small investors and ordinary families, not chasing the affluent or HNW markets. Hope this helps.
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AMA MoneyOwl

MoneyOwl

Interest Rates

What do you think about the traditional stock/bond balanced portfolio? Is it still fit for purpose in a low interest rate environment?
Dear Immanuel, Thanks for the question. Allow me to explore it from three angles: (1) Is it possible to make money from bonds when yields are near zero? (2) Are overall returns going to be lower? (3) Have bonds been able to play the stabilising role in a portfolio? Are there better alternatives? The short answer to the first question is yes, bonds can have a positive return even when yields are zero or negative. In 2019, bonds had a tremendous year despite yields being so low, even negative in many developed countries – as you rightly point out, an unprecedented environment. There are three sources of return for bonds. The first source of return is the yield. The second is tied to the term structure and can be captured by a “roll down” strategy. So say you buy the 5-year bond and hold it to maturity and the return is 0.5% p.a., this is what you get. But, if a curve is upward sloping, i.e., the 5-year minus 3-year is a positive yield, you can employ a strategy such that you can sell an originally 5-year bond that had you had bought two years ago that has “rolled down” to 3 years, and sell it into the market which will price it at the lower yield (i.e. higher price) taking reference from the new 3-year issues. Because of this second source of return from “roll-down yield”, even negative-yielding bond markets like those in Europe saw positive return because the bond curves were steep: the negative yield was more than offset by the differences in yields between the terms. This is what Dimensional does for its bond funds in MoneyOwl’s portfolios. There is a third source of potential return, which comes from changes in the yield or curve, i.e., forecast interest rate and bond yield movements. Unlike the first source of return (current yield) and the second source of return (the roll down yield/ steepness of curve), these are unknowns and arguably the equivalent of market timing in the equity markets based on reading economic data and taking fund manager risk. Dimensional has estimated that over time, the expected return from such forecasting activity is 0. In other words, it is hard to make such calls consistently. But a lot of the movement and return on bonds this year came from this third source of price change. But I can appreciate that the niggling concern over low bond yields remain. How can it pan out any other way than bond yields normalising and thus bond returns being negative eventually, and overall returns lower? I think that it is not necessarily so. Firstly, there is the all-important issue of time frame. Returns from bonds could be negative and overall market returns lower, but it might be for a time rather than permanently. A successive interest rate increase could very well in the short run cause pain in the bond market. But after this repricing, what we can expect then is higher yields overall and depending on the circumstances, the steepness of the curve could again offer “roll down” returns. In fact, insurance companies would be glad because while their bond portfolios might suffer mark to market losses, they end up having higher yielding assets. Obviously, I am venturing a bit into the territory of crystal ball gazing which I would normally prefer not to, but I’m just illustrating what is plausible, that it is not Armageddon. Secondly, we should not view bonds in isolation, but the return of the whole portfolio. At MoneyOwl, we believe that the return from investment that you need to grow your wealth over the long term will come mainly from equities. The same macro factors that cause bond yields to “normalise” might actually be positive for equities. Granted that we have not seen it happen this way, from a low bond yield level. But we have seen periods of high inflation before – which should have been very bad for bonds – and despite those times an investment into a 60/40 portfolio or even an equities portfolio would still have provided a positive return as long as investors stayed invested for a sufficient time horizon. When asked about negative bond yields, Warren Buffett said that they puzzled him but did not scare him. If we take a step back from the technical price levels and the unprecedented nature of bond yields, and remind ourselves what bonds are, perhaps we would agree that it is not scary. Ultimately, bonds are the result of production and economic activity. They are I.O.Us or debt issued by the government or companies when they borrow from investors to raise funds – because there is productive activity to be funded. Government use taxes and other income to pay back bondholders, while companies use business earnings to pay back bondholders. In that regard, the similar conviction we have about why global stock markets go up in the long term would apply also why bonds are probably here to stay: because population growth and a desire for increase in standards of living around the world give birth to aggregate demand, which have be met by companies or governments through the use of capital. Thus as long as the market economy is still valid and as long as we believe in capital markets, we should continue to have a belief in bonds having a role to play in our economy and also in our portfolios. On whether bonds can continue to play a stabilizing role in portfolios, what we have seen during recent stress times is yes. When we monitor the portfolios, we see that the portfolios with progressively higher proportion in bonds have a less negative return in a severe equity market downturn than portfolios with less in bonds. This means that the portfolios are acting the way they should. Even when there was temporary extreme dislocation like in March 2020, credits suffered more than Treasuries – as the case should be. On the possibility of gold being an alternative, we did see gold prices increase quite a lot in this year. Interestingly, Bloomberg had held a webinar saying that part of this was to do with a technical issue about the delivery of physical gold being affected by COVID. But the theory is that the opportunity cost of holding gold has fallen now that bonds are also not yielding anything, and perhaps gold can replace bonds. My main discomfort with this is that gold has a very inconsistent relationship with equities. Unlike bonds, the negative correlation with equities movement is not strong. This is because gold is ultimately a speculative asset and unlike bonds and equities, which are productive assets. The return from gold you get is purely dependent on the change in gold price after you buy it. Prices are set by buyers and sellers, and while gold is bought and sold for jewellery, it is the speculative buying and selling of gold that determines almost all of the day-to-day changes in gold price. Being a speculative asset, therefore, gold cannot replace equities as the core of a portfolio that you invest in to secure your retirement nest egg, or for any return objective for that matter. There is no disagreement among investment professionals on this. I have never seen a portfolio with 40% in gold, for example and I don’t expect this to happen anytime soon. Even if there is a flight to safe havens, it is complex because gold is priced in USD and both gold and USD can be safe havens. This is an added complexity for the SGD-based investor. Because gold is a market of emotion, any allocation to the gold that is substantial enough to shift your return significantly when gold prices increase (maybe 10% or so), would also expose you to risk of loss if gold prices fall. This, then, adds to, rather than smoothens the volatility of your portfolio. In portfolio construction, we would like to cross a high bar of evidence before we use an asset class for a particular purpose. We look for a long term, pervasive relationships or characteristics. We have evidence about long-term stock markets. With bonds, we also have long-term evidence of their characteristics and relationship to stock market price movements. With gold, there may have been recent movement demonstrating a hedging effect to equities, but the evidence is not pervasive enough across time to convince us to make a substantial strategic allocation. ! Thanks again for the question and for allowing me to share these thoughts!
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AMA MoneyOwl

MoneyOwl

Investments

Hi Chuin Ting, 1. I'm a fan of your writing, you explain complex concepts well and dispense great investing advise. Is it something you consciously worked on? And 2 - With the US markets...?
Dear Jonathan, Thank you for your kind words! I am really heartened because simplifying is not naturally my strong suit. I am blessed to have a team that gives me good feedback and I try to learn from those who are better and more experienced than me at advice and communication, like my fellow Executive Director and co-founder Chris Tan. On the markets, whatever happens to short-term prices and in monetary policy, it should not change the way you invest. I can understand the concern that there is so much money printing propping up asset prices. But this has been the worry since the GFC in 2008-9. Like now, nobody believed that there were legs to the rebound in 2009. Today, you probably hear people saying that equities are too high. There is no upside to the market, how can there be when the economy is so bad, when there is a risk of a second COVID wave. The thing is, it actually is quite normal – in past crises, stock markets always move ahead. This is because whereas news report on the past and the current, market participants price in the future value of earnings based on the collective wisdom, knowledge and assessment of the millions of participants. If you think about it, while we now worry about extended rallies, we also worry when the rally turns into a decline! That is really quite a stressful way to invest. Actually, timing the market and staying out of it because of fears like these can actually be a riskier move, because even just missing a few days of the best return can jeopardise your goals. (Take a look at the picture for this.) This would be a shame before there really is no need to time the market, because it is the time in the market that matters, more so than when you enter. So we recommend sticking to your plan, regularly investing in a portfolio suited to your need, ability and willingness to take risk. Once you are invested, you stay put. The work is done before the volatility happens. The asset allocation of your portfolio between bonds and equity is already decided. The diversification of your portfolio globally and across many different companies is done at implementation. What if we do have a second dip? Treat it as an opportunity to give a booster shot to your plan and goals. Just like you would buy more in a sale, put some dry powder to work. We can be confident to stay invested and to continue investing because we know from both logic and history that the stock market always recovers and goes up in the long run. The logic is that stock prices of companies in aggregate are ultimately driven by earnings growth, and earnings in turn by demand. And what drives demand? Global population growth and increase in standards of living. The evidence is from almost a century of stock price movements that tell us it does not matter when you enter, at a certain periodic high or low – as long as you have time (~10 years for 100% equities) and are invested in broad markets, you will be able to reap a positive long-term return. If you haven’t seen it before, you can take a look at this webinar on investing, especially in the middle or so, when you see a mainly green-and-pink matrix diagram. https://www.facebook.com/moneyowlsg/videos/851434158708343If you have, well, it is a great reminder and a great source of comfort to us as investors! Thank you again for joining the AMA and hope this helps! !
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AMA MoneyOwl

MoneyOwl

Career

Undergraduate

Education

Hi Chuin Ting, I see that you studied the Arts but you're in the financial industry for your career. What led to your decision and why didn't you venture on the path of the art?
Dear Anonymous, Congratulations on being well through your undergraduate studies. Thank you for asking me about my personal journey! I studied history at university but never with the intention that I would use the content. Rather, I always saw it as a kind of training of the mind for generalist skills of analysis, organising information, joining the dots and making good arguments. I didn't want to be an academic or teacher in the subject. But I know I was privileged to be able to do this, because MINDEF which sponsored my studies, recognised the value of my education beyond its content and for 9 years I had a satisfying and meaningful job as a non-uniformed officer in the Defence Policy Office, a kind of mini-foreign affairs cum strategy planning outfit. Changing industry to fund management (after a one-year break) was not easy. It wasn't something I planned - I guess it was more God's leading. It so happened that my husband had some management shares from his company's IPO and not understanding any of investing, I decided to self-study my CFA Level 1. At the exam, I met an old friend who just joined a fund management house and he brought me in - at quite a junior level, because of lack of relevant experience. But it was a choice; my other option then was to go back into Government where I would have continued at a senior level and be well in my element. But I went with my gut and took the plunge because I wanted to learn something new, even if it risked failure. I would tell you that even after all my studying, for some time I did not understand a single word of what was said at the daily investment team meetings, and that was really disconcerting! But I was blessed with mentors; and I was also thrown into the deep end because of the Global Financial Crisis, again a privilege and great learning opportunity. Eventually I moved to the NTUC group and after a number of postings I was asked to lead a project to look into closing the advisory gap in the mass market for comprehensive, competent and conflict-free advice, which led to the formation of MoneyOwl. Financial advisory is also a new industry to me, as is being CEO. Once again, God blessed me with resources, a great team and a great mentor in my friend, colleague and co-founder, Chris Tan. Do I have regrets? No, actually. At the point when you make a switch, you might have to take a step backwards. It might be painful and it will be scary. But this may be necessary so that you can move even further ahead. In the period after a change and before you achieve the competence needed to thrive, it might feel like nothing you have done before counted and you might despair that you have wasted years, but it is not true. The direct content of what you have studied may not be relevant, but the intellectual skills and life skills that you have picked up are always building you up and developing you. No one takes that away. So don't be afraid to let go of something because there is a season for everything and a reason for everything. Sometimes, we do not see the relevance until later. What is important is a growth mindset, resilience, and the courage to take the risks by going with your heart and your gut. Don't be afraid to fail but don't be afraid to succeed big time, either. Wishing you all the best and wisdom in your choices ahead!
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