Asked on 04 May 2020
This Mother’s Day, we want to play a part in helping you show gratitude to your mum!
Write your entries here and for one of you, we’ll send a cake your way for your mum this Sunday, 10 May 2020!
Campaign period: 4 May to 8 May 2020
This finance lesson is probably different from what many parents tell their children. Most parents will instill the mentality of how money is so important and how we should save up in their children. But for my mom she always tell us "money is just an idea" or " money is just a tool stop being so obsessed over it" and her point in saying those is to let us know that money is an idea of what we think it is : if we think that we have not enough money to get something we want then we will always have not enough money. She believes that instead of thinking to yourself you dont have enough money to afford something you should always ask yourself how you can afford that item. And most peoples' answers to how to afford something is by saving. But once again she will challenge this idea and tell us" what are other ways to get that dream item Instead of saving up "how Long do u want to take to save ? Do you know how long
you need to save to retire?" This is because she believes money is in abundance and not shortage and the idea of money people have is important. By always focusing on saving, one is living in shortage as they have the idea that they can't get more money so they end up saving. Instead focus on the abundance of money in the world, make your money work for money by generating passive income to give you your dream life.
She always stresses how one's idea of money Is so important. She also believes that money is just a tool. Dont focus on working for money, focus on how to make your money work for you . " Stop being so obsessed about money " what I always hear from her. She would always** remind us to be obsessed on working to LEARN and not working to earn**, this is because she believes when we work to learn we will eventually let the money work for us.
Her constant reminders taught me that instead of focusing so much on the whole idea on money, focus on increasing your financial education and learning how to make money work for you. i really appreciate my mom's teachings even though it might be very different from what society thinks and I'm grateful that she has taken so much time to instill in me all these lessons
The best Personal Finance lesson my mum ingrained in me especially having spent more time with parents during the Circuit Breaker is going to be different from most responses here on saving money:
From young, my mother has always ingrained in me the value of money. Her concerns around money has also been what guided my principles around thriftiness, investing early and earning more to provide a financial buffer for the family. This included:
Stashing away 50% of monthly income for savings and investment from the first job I had (when I was 18)
Definitely spending below my means
Earning your own keep and not depending on anyone else for finances
Thinking about the family first, before buying things for my personal wants. Sometimes, money spent on loved ones could be more gratifying than spending money on oneself.
However, as I spend time with my parents during this Circuit Breaker and seeing them age, I am increasingly drawn to the realization that time spent with them is priceless.
Money does not come by easily for most of us, but time is truly the most finite resource. As I think about the sacrifices that my parents have made for my sister and I, I am reminded that in the midst of chasing financial goals, it also makes sense to dedicate some time everyday to appreciate those we love, instead of expressing that gratitude in the unforeseeable future when we have made $x amount of money and now can stop worrying about money.
And there is a financial lesson to this. The earlier we hit financial independence, we earlier we can have peace of mind to spend time on what truly matters. It will be a difficult journey especially in current times when job and pay cuts are rife, but in the long run, if we stick to the fundamentals of thrift and investing early, it could turn out good in the end!
"Little drops of water make an ocean"
Lost track of how many times she had said this to me over the past 21 years of my life.
When I first heard it, I believe it was because I used too much shampoo when I was in the shower. I thought it was insightful. Who would have thought to count the number of drops an ocean could have?
As the years went by and I found myself in Secondary School, my allowance increased and I realised I had the choice to spend it on whatever I wished to. "Little drops of water make an ocean", she said. I chose to believe she meant that every amount saved per week adds up in the long run. I reduced my purchases from the drinks store from once a week to once a month. The ice milo dinosaur with nata de coco was great, but plain water from the water cooler would suffice.
Started working part-time on a job attachment organised by my school, the pay was little to nothing. $10 a day, with at least 4 hours' shift. Working mornings to afternoons meant that I had to spend my meagre pay on lunch myself. Lunch easily cost $2.50 for a simple cai png meal. If you were to include to and fro transport from home to work, that was easily $1.50 total. Just like that, I earned only $6 per day for a while. I came home, and it being my first PT job, I complained to my mum like kid would. She laughed, before saying "Little drops of water make an ocean". I took her words seriously, and packed my own lunches for work every day. My earnings went up.
I'll be starting on my internship this summer, and with the circuit breaker measures still in place, trust me, I'll never splurge on anything using my pay.
Looking back, those little drops of water have yet to make an ocean, but they sure have made a lake. As I grow in financial literacy thanks to my mum, I hope one day a river finds its way to my lake, and it grows to become a sea... to become an ocean. Thank you mummy, for my little drops of water will make an ocean.
04 May 2020
Two concepts that both boil down to the same principle - Money is a means, not an end.
My mother was a HR manager and frequently needed help from the banks as well as various authorities and other departments in her company. I noticed that she often bought snacks from Polar etc when she was going to bank in a cheque or have a meeting. She would do the same when she came home from work - I would always look forward to her coming home with snacks.
However, I didn't think much of it until I started working - where she verbalised her purpose and why she did it. Always set aside a small amount of cash for "relationship building". In life, you will always need support and help in all that you do - the easiest way to make yourself likeable is food. Help people and people will definitely help you.
This relates back to the key principle - Money should be used, instead of pursued.
Another concept was the importance of the difference between wealth and money. Ultimate, if you continue to exchange time for money, one can never truly achieve wealth. Holding on to cash to "save up" for the future is often a bad decision in hindsight. Focus on building streams of income (be it dividends, websites, skills), in the hopes of achieving wealth one day.
Growing up, I would hear stories about my mom's job as an accountant for a commercial real estate company around the dinner table. We would hear terms thrown around like "debit," "credit," and different ways to incorporate macros in spreadsheets.
Then she started doing bookkeeping for small businesses on the side. Getting an inside look at how she managed their finances was an eye-opening experience. When my father started his own side business and I got to help out with the books, I really learned from my mom about what it means to manage your finances well.
Here are four of the lessons that have stuck with me for years:
1. Tracking numbers matters
You may have heard of the advice to track your numbers, but it really is that important. You need to see how much you're earning and what you're spending before making effective changes to our financial life — personal or in your business.
Tracking your finances is much easier thanks to technology. Back when I first started helping my mom with bookkeeping, we had to keep track of paper invoices and input everything manually (you can take a guess at how old I am).
Once you have the raw data in front of you, it becomes easier to see how you are faring on your financial goals, or to set a savings goal. For example, my mom would look at profit/loss statements to make sure the businesses were earning money. It could even help see where you're overspending and change your ways.
2. No number is too small
You know that phrase "small leaks sink great ships?" It's absolutely true, especially when it comes to your finances. It's not about cutting back on those lattes. Rather it's other expenses you may have overlooked, like recurring memberships you don't use.
My mom would scrutinize my dad's business expenses every quarter to see what he was spending on and whether or not there was a similar service for less. If there was something he never used — like a bunch of magazine subscriptions to industry-specific magazines he never read — she promptly canceled them. That alone saved my father hundreds of dollars a year.
3. Read the fine print
I get it: Jargon in contracts can be super confusing and intimidating, to say the least. But if you don't understand what it is you're signing, you could be in for a rude awakening.
One of my mom's clients went on an overseas trip and was shocked at how much the entire trip cost. As my mom looked into it, she discovered that her client was using a credit card that had a foreign transaction fee attached to it — she was essentially paying an extra 3% for her purchases.
Now, each time I sign a contract or consider opening a new financial product, I always look at the fine print to ensure I'm not going to get caught with fees. Or at the very least, understand what it is I'm signing up for before putting my name on the dotted line.
4. Work with skilled professionals
Not to brag, but my mom was pretty awesome at her job — there's a reason she was promoted every few years and was booked out on bookkeeping clients. It's probably because she worked without much hand-holding, and saved her clients and the company she worked for money by doing all of the above-mentioned things.
I've learned that even though it can cost more to work with someone who is good at what they do, it's absolutely worth it. I once hired a few contractors to help with my freelance business and I saved so much time and stress working with one that cost a bit more, but had rave reviews from other business owners.
This philosophy applies to products, too. My mom purchased office items that were better quality — she still has her office chair 20 years later. I remembered that office chair when it came time to purchase mine for my home office. Spending a bit more for a quality ergonomic chair was a great choice because it encourages me not to slouch and I can pretty much guarantee the chair will last me a long time.
Managing your finances well doesn't have to be hard. It does take discipline and a willingness to work in your best interest. Or in my mom's case, her client's best interest. Either way, I'm grateful to have learned skills from my mom that I can use for a lifetime.
The best personal finance lesson that my Mom has taught me since young is not to buy things on impulse and think before we buy. Some questions she asked us to ponder include: Do we really need it or do we just want it? Would it be better off saving those money to use in the future for better needs than having to splurge on something now to satisfy our temporary desire?
I can't describe how amazing my Mom is. She is a great example and an inspiration for me. For a family who is not well-off at the start to where we are today - having a roof to stay and able to enjoy three meals a day, it just proves the validity of my Mom's advice on personal financial management. No doubt, the progress of saving is slow. However, in the long-run, we will be able to benefit from it like how my family is benefitting from my Mom's past prudent spending. With that, I really hope to surprise Mom this coming Mother's Day because she has worked so hard for our family.
My mum made me realise the importance of saving up money and getting the house ready for such situations. I would've assumed that if I would not be cooking much at home, my future house would not need any kitchen or I can have a simple microwave and an open-concept kitchen. But being in this circuit breaker and staying/working from home has made me realise the importance of having the basic necessities and also to learn how to cook for myself in future. While food delivery options are still available, it might not be financially viable for the entire period.
She also taught me the importance of saving up money for a rainy day. While the government did give us $600, it is not necessarily a guaranteed thing for future circumstances. She reminded me that I should have sufficient savings to tide me through at least half a year should I lose my job in times like these. And it is also important for me to consider investment options and learn how I should park my money in certain industries and sectors.
Thank you mummy!! I love you ❤️
My mum has taught me to always save for a purpose. For example, she would save up all my angpow money and edusave awards money (yes I couldn't spend a single cent) into a bank account, which she said its for my education. And now, I have graduated from uni and is currently debt free as I don't have education bank loans to pay for :') Though it was tough to see your friends being able to spend their angpow money while you can't, but now that I'm loan-free, I'm really thankful.
"MONEY IS EARNED, NOT GIVEN!" - My Mum
Allowing us to take on chores that we can get paid for not only teaches us the value of hard work but helps us learn how to manage our money. If we don’t do our work, we don't get paid.
When we work for pay, we can learn the cost in labour of an impulse buy without monumental consequences. We can also understand the value of hard work, learn to be responsible for what we produce and appreciate money even more.
My mum ask me to save as much money as possible and never depend on anyone. I'm glad I listen to her because in terms of this pandemic crisis, I have lost my source of income. At least now I still have my savings to fall back on! Hope to reward her for her wisdom!
Simplest lesson. Our family don't print money and money don't grow on trees.
1st part means we (parents) will not be funding you for life, so grow up and start being independant (soon). 2nd part means wealth don't grow naturally, so put in hard work, time and effort - so applicable to all walks and aspects of life. :)
She taught me to not be afraid to ask for more. If I have good information or content that is of value add to another person in quantible amount or not, always ask for more initially before negotiating down so the other person also feels like that have a good bargain for it. This applies for interviewing for jobs as well.
I also learnt that saving first before spending is important. Then spend on needs before wants. Delayed gratification is very important to a person's future.
“How do you expect yourself to afford that (expensive item), if you don’t save up for it? Also what’s the point if you’re able to buy it but not have any money leftover?”
As a stubborn teenager, this made me want to prove my mom wrong. I set aside my pocket money regularly and after O levels, I had saved enough to buy a pair of dr martens boots I’ve always wanted with money leftover to allow me to enjoy my holidays.
It was my first ever big purchase on my own with my own money and the satisfaction I felt walking out of the dr martens store after paying was so fulfilling I can’t even explain.
Because of how contented I felt I no longer asked my mom or dad for money to spend on shopping/leisure anymore because I wanted to repeat that feeling of satisfaction. Even when I entered poly I continued working part time while juggling studies #hustle and I ended up being able to afford 3 grad trips and still have money and still graduate with a nice gpa. Totally worth it.
Thanks mom, because I wanted to prove you wrong, I’m a very motivated person and a good saver now. (Thankfully only my money and purchasing power grew and not my feet so that same pair of boots is still very well loved)
My mother always tell me earning money is not easy. It is important to save it and keep in the bank for rainy days. We should not borrow money from others but we can help others by lending it within our limit. She always said money on our hands are true money. I still remember she told me her first gold bangle was come from her many years savings because grandma did not buy her any gold. When I was young I don't agree with on the concept of saving money.
Sometimes I was thinking money is just a system that we use to get better life. Although we need to save money but more importantly we should use money wisely to change our life.
During this circuit breaker, I learn that what my mum said money on our hands are true money so that we can use it.
Thanks my mum always enlighten me how to use money so that I won't simply spend on unnecessary things. Love u, mommy.😘
The best personal finance lesson my mum taught me was how to track my expenses using debit and credit systems when I was in primary school.
I remembered she bought those tiny 555 notebooks and labeled the names of each booklet. My sisters and I have our book which she will take out from her bag, sit us down after a long day of work, and ask each individual on the expenses and savings of the day.
When I was young, I find it a hassle and I couldn't understand the effort she gave from getting the book, sitting us down, and jotting our expenses in our book every single night. Sadly, I only understood the importance of Expenses Tracking when I was an adult. She was trying to influence us and impart the habit of tracking our expenses since young however we took it lightly.
I have been tracking my expenses and saving for the past few years. It became a habit because doing it reminds me of those sweet old days with my mum who gave her best in teaching us basic finance knowledge, instilling good habits on us every single night no matter how tired she was after a long day at work. (I did give my part by filing the Expenses tracking's notebook on my own too!)
The best personal finance lesson mum taught me is to always save up for rainy days or for what I want. Since I was little, mum would give us pocket money and everyday she will ask what we spent on and how much we have left. So with that she ingrained the habit of saving in us. Until now, I still make it a point to ensure a portion of my money goes into my savings so that in case of rainy days, it will come in handy. Such a habit followed us through and I think this is the best finance lesson she has given us which can last us a lifetime.
My mum singlehandedly raised 3 kids up and to do that alone was not easy. Hence, she picked up ways to build her savings. She taught us the importance of saving from young so since secondary school, my brothers and I found part time jobs while studying. She also made sure we were insured from young with the most important being hospitalisation and critical illness plans. One of the best personal finance she taught me was to know all the different credit cards out there, their sign-up bonus, the categories for rebates and the minimum spend per month.
Learning from that, I used to use CIMB credit card for online spend. Now, $800 min spend is too high to hit so I changed to using DBS live fresh for my 5% rebates on online shopping since min spend for the card is $600. For transport and groceries, I use Maybank Family & Friends card for 5% rebate as well. Tip: to hit the min spend for your credit card, always plan big purchases in advance and offer to buy stuff for your friends online too(:
HAPPY MOTHERS DAY TO MY OHMA! Thanks for teaching me about personal finance since young(: in return, I introduced her to finance sites such as Seedly, MoneySmart and also ShopBack!