Hi! I am currently a student and I have around 30k savings. What should I do with it? I tried reading some of the articles but there's just too many types of investment. What would you recommend for a beginner? - Seedly
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Jiaqi Ng

Asked on 15 May 2019

Hi! I am currently a student and I have around 30k savings. What should I do with it? I tried reading some of the articles but there's just too many types of investment. What would you recommend for a beginner?

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Samuel Rhee
Samuel Rhee, Chief Investment Officer at Endowus
Level 4. Prodigy
Updated on 21 May 2019

Dear Jiaqi,

Well done and those precious savings need great advice, access to good products and you need to invest in a low cost manner - as cost and fees are one of the biggest reaons why people struggle with their investments. There are several options to go it alone and do DIY or try out various online and offline platforms. Some great books to get you going. Such as The Little Book of Common Sense Investing by John Bogle(founder of Vanguard) & Unconventional Success by David Swenson(CIO of Yale Endowment). Please also take a look at this article I wrote. https://endowus.com/insights/true-giants-of-the-investment-world-buffett-templeton-booth-bogle-swensen-5eaf2babf6/

I would ask you to try out Endowus, the most sophisticated wholly digital independent financial advisor in Singapore. Which means we are lowest cost at providing the most sophisticated advice that is available and we are independent so we are not paid off by any other financial product peddler or owned by any big financial institution. You can see here https://www.endowus.com We provide sophisticated institutional services that is similar to the way institutional investors would do it, like sovereign wealth fund (think GIC) or Yale/Harvard Endowments who have some of the best long term investment track records. We also have been contributing and doing our part to financial education and have a regular write up that is approachable and relatable yet focuses on the most important key facets of investing as an individual. Here - https://endowus.com/insights/ Check out the content there and reach out to us if you need any help.

I was previously the CEO & Chief investment officer at Morgan Stanley Investment Mgt and have 25 years experience and I have together with my partners created Endowus to provide the kind of service that I would want myself and for my friends. So try it out and let me know your thoughts. We are rolling out our services in coming months but we have a simple core portfolio solution that is suitable for 95% of Singaporean individual investors. Tax-efficient, SGD-denominated(so no FX risk) and cost effective as well to a fraction of the industry average costs. Please do more research and enjoy the learning process.

If you want to learn more about what Roboadvisors do as some have suggested to you here, (and also why Endowus is different!) then take a look at this article as well. I wrote it in The Edge a little while back and it will help you understand the whole landscape much better. https://cdn.endowus.com/press/TheEdge%202019-03-08%20-%20Are%20robo-advisors%20doing%20what%20they%20say.pdf

Happy investing!

All the Best,

Sam

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👍 7

Great work for that 30k savings.

Before you go off investing, set aside money for emergency fund (6 months of expenses, use 6 months of income once you start working)

If there is any money you will need in 3 years, don’t invest that too. You can put those in a fixed deposit.

You can use the remaining money to set up a well diversified portfolio according to your desired outcome across the 6 major asset classes.

Or you can go for some courses. (Courses are good investment for beginners because it kick start your learning)

All the best!

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Junus Eu
Junus Eu
Level 9. God of Wisdom
Answered on 16 May 2019

Kudos to having $30k of savings as a student!

First of all, set aside a portion that you would seem as emergency funds. I am also assuming that your university fees are fully accounted for already, since that is a significant expense.

With the remaining funds, I would then look to invest in it. You could do it the hands-on way with robo-advisors, or try your own hand at equity investments, which also require a relatively lower capital size.

Later on when you have amassed a larger sum, you might want to look at other asset classes like property etc. That's what I did!

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Billy Ko
Billy Ko
Level 7. Grand Master
Updated on 07 Jun 2019

Hi Jiaqi!

Preserving Current Capital

Aside from what Hariz and Grabriel suggested, another investment vehicles commonly utilised by beginners would be RSP - Regular Savings Plan. You simply pay a fixed amount every month (min. $100) to invest in ETFs or Indexes. This practice is good as it utilises the theory of Dollar-Cost Averaging, allowing one to diligently invest in the markets every month regardless of the price of the fund. You can get started through the 3 local banks in Singapore and brokers as well.

Lump-sum investing

However, if you prefer putting in a one-time investment kindda strategy, you could find stocks that are recession-proof i.e. consumer discretionary / monopolistic stocks such as the likes of Sheng Siong. Granted the price does not fluctuate much but at the very least you can be 80% assured that you capital would still be somewhat there as oppsoed to other industries.

REITs also provide a good source of recurring income. I've invested in REITs for 7 years now and the dividends alone have almost covered my capital vested into the company.

Hope it helps!

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Suen Lee
Suen Lee

09 Nov 2019

This is so helpful 👍 where else can I follow your comments?
Billy Ko
Billy Ko

09 Nov 2019

Thank you for the kind words Suen Lee! I've actually stopped posting for a while as I find the questions rather repetitive, but I'll try my best to reply to more questions :)

You can DIY invest or try out a roboadvisor.

If not you can play it safe first and put into Singapore savings bonds, fixed deposits.

I suppose as a student, you might have plans in future for BTO, wedding or other huge expenses. You can park the cash in Singapore saving bonds if these are an upcoming expense.

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You can invest anything after setting aside your emergency savings of 6 months of expense and any money you need within 3 years.

You can set up a globally diversified portfolio of funds with a FA or a Robo Advisor.

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Arpita Mukherjee
Arpita Mukherjee, Community Evangelist at Kristal.AI
Level 6. Master
Answered on 14 Nov 2019

Hi Anon,

The first step of your investment journey would be to read up and understand what investing is. Although there are so many financial advisors out ther who can help you with this, I'd suggest that you go for a robo-advisory platform to do the job of assessing your current financial position and recommend a portfolio strategy after reviewing your risk profile. As for the "catch", I would say that Robo-advisors are still not very different from your ordinary financial advisors as both options will still have a management fee incurred for users. The difference lies with the amount, as Robo-advisors have lower management fees.

I work at Kristal.AI, and my mojo is to help people make the right financial decisions. If you think I helped you, do give me "Thumbs up". If you think my response was biased let me know, I will work on it.

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A few things to set things in place.

Financial planning can be divided into 2 segment.

  1. Defend

  2. Attack

Ensure that your portfolio is well covered by hospital plan and a decent life/term that covers early critical illness. This is your defense.

Once set up, use the rest of your funds that are not your emergency funds to invest. Of course there are multiple invesments that you can go into. ROBO, ETF, FUNDS, STOCKS, BONDS. There are multiple selections.

You can either read up on your own and start learning about them or get a professional to guide you through.

Of course if you would like to learn more, message me back and I would be glad to share more.

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Benn Ng
Benn Ng
Level 2. Rookie
Answered on 20 May 2019

Open a brokerage account and read up on how to invest. Plan what ur portfolio should look like. Read up on asset allocation and portfolio construction like 7 twelve. Then allocate with no more than 5% in any asset. Stay invested and rebalance once in a while. Make use of ETFs. Treat ur funds as if its temasek and make decisions as if u are the boss. Good luck.

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MT2020
MT2020
Level 7. Grand Master
Answered on 25 Feb 2020

For a beginner, I would recommend putting your money into a robo-advisor and see how the robo advisor works for you. In the meanwhile, you can read up and improve yur investing knowledge. After that once you are more confident, you can start investing in individual stocks.

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