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Asked by Anonymous

Asked on 18 Jun 2019

What is a decent amount to have in a bank at around 19 years old?

I’m 19 this year and a few months into NS with a monthly allowance which made me think more about my financial savings. Just want to know what’s considered a good amount to have around my age. Thank you!

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Junus Eu
Junus Eu
Top Contributor

Top Contributor (Jan)

Level 9. God of Wisdom
Answered on 20 Jun 2019

At 19, I wouldn't worry so much about having a certain amount in the bank account. Having $10,000 vs having $15,000 just because you saved an extra $5k this year is great, but not going make a huge difference.

What I would prioritize though are the following:

  1. Learning experiences to maximize your income generating abilities post NS

  2. Establishing good financial habits

  3. Being prudent and saving up to build a foundation

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Gavin Tan
Gavin Tan
Level 4. Prodigy
Answered on 18 Jun 2019

Hey there I'm 19 this year as well, gonna enlist next year as I'm in my final year of poly. When I was young all my savings were given to my parents, and I only started to save for myself when I was 17. Right now I have about roughly 5k in investments and cash. Would have more but mostly spent on my girlfriends and drinking haha. I think that for now, the amount to have is not the important part, but what you actually do with the money. Do you invest? Do you just save? A good advice I'd say is save till around 10k, and then start investing in the stock market!! Good luck man jyjy!

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Tan Wei Ming
Tan Wei Ming
Level 5. Genius
Updated on 18 Jun 2019

I'm 19 this year and it will be my turn to enlist for NS in a few weeks time. I have about $21k worth of cash and investments. As what others have said, there's really no amount every 19 year old must achieve to be considered a good amount to have at that age. This is because different people have different circumstances. For example, their parents might have helped them save a huge sum of money since they are young and they continued to save when they are older. They definitely will have more cash than I do.

For National Service, I always recommend those who are in service to sign up for POSB Save As You Serve. With POSB SAYS, you can potentially earn up to 2.25% per annum, that is if you do not withdraw any amount from the amoint and save at least $800 every month without fail.

I always advise people to save at least $300 every month so that they can earn 0.2% base interest and bonus 2% interest if one does not withdraw. That being said, the main goal of this product is not to withdraw. Therefore, you need to look at your expenses for the past few months. Assuming that you are still earning $560 per month, are you able to keep your expenses to less than $260? Do you have any expenses that can be avoided such as going out with your friends to club or to eat with your friends at expensive places or do you have any big ticket purchases in the next few months?

Since you can't withdraw any amount for POSB SAYS, I would suggest having sufficient liquid cash in your ordinary savings account to cater for those unexpected expenses. I am not trying to say that you can go ahead so long you have sufficient liquid cash but please do it in moderation.

The problem with some teenagers is that they save a lot in endowment plans or POSB SAYS to the point that they are lacking of emergency funds to stay afloat for the remaining months when they encounter unexpected expenses.

This is similar to learning how to invest, many teenagers who tried to invest in Stashaway might not aware that the at least 6 months emergency fund still applies to them. This is because prices fluctuate, they might realise a loss if they were to sell to raise proceeds for unexpected expenses. With emergency fund, they have liquid cash to help pay for it and there's no need to sell to raise proceeds.

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Tay WenHao
Tay WenHao
Level 6. Master
Updated on 18 Jun 2019

Hey there. There any really a scale to how much you should have because its dependent on a lot of different factors like how much you spend, if you are paying your own meals/bills or paying for your study loan.

Usually the rule of thumb is to save 20% to 30% of your earnings but it may be slightly different for NSF because you dont actually earn a salary but getting an allowance instead.

If you are just a few months into NS, I suppose you are still staying in camp, which is actually not a bad thing because food and lodging is provided for. Try your best not to spend extra money in camp during weekdays (like going to canteen or using the vending machine). Though its hard not to spend but its a good way to train your resilience and its good for your health and wallet.

I would suggest you to try save as much as possible if you can during your NS as you dont really need to oay for anything else other than your entertainment during the weekends. Try not to go club or drink too much or you may just spend your whole month allowance in just a night which is not worth it. Temptations and peer pressure are quite common in NS thus need to have very good self control.

Trust me, if you can manage to save a good 5-10k during NS, it will be a good start.

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Tay WenHao
Tay WenHao

18 Jun 2019

To top it up, heres a very good read from seedly that shows how much you can really save! Though its a bit hard, you can actually save up to 10k by saving 50% of your allowance! https://blog.seedly.sg/national-service-ns-how-much-can-one-save/

There is no right or wrong answer here and no specific amount to have. Just save as much as you can. Plan for future expenses if you are going for further education after NS. And enjoy your time in NS!

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Frankie Aufhauser
Frankie Aufhauser
Level 7. Grand Master
Updated 3w ago

This is individual. no correct one answer. but it is excellent that you askbthst question.

you need emergency funds and should have/create no debts.

when you have funds for investing then, think longterm and buy passive ETFs (SP500, MSCI world) as buy & hold strategy (ultra longterm)​​​

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Instead of looking at how much to have, look at how much income is coming in

If you have low income and high expenses, then your decent amount in the bank will not be decent eventually.

Look more at how you can have more income or spend less.

I write cool stuff about personal finance and money-saving hacks here.

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Alex Chua Cheng En
Alex Chua Cheng En, Pcme at Anderson Junior College
Level 5. Genius
Updated on 20 Jun 2019

Before answering your question, I hope you do the below 2 things,

  1. Create 2 banks accounts : CIMB (1% interest rate - your saving account), posb /dbs saving account. (1. Act as your current account so that is your limit of your spending. 2.so that u can start using SAYS as soon as you start NS - details... Go Google or I believe others mentioned about it.

  2. What do you plan to do after NS? Work? Travel? University? If you are going university, to what extent are your parents sponsoring you? Do u have scholarship?? This details can help you plan for how much money do you need to have in your bank account at the end of NS and the start of your university.

So you have your end goal, start planning and calculating your decent amount in the next 2 years. Not NOW. Here are some of the HOW?

  1. Establish good financial habits.

save first then spend. Not the other way round. By strongly encourage you to open 2 accounts is to teach you to give your bank account a role. Classify your money. Give them a role.

  1. SAYS blog has a tip on how to save in NS or just Google it. There are a lot of ways.

  2. At the meantime, start learning about investing. I would recommend you to start with reading on STI, bonds, dollar averaging, robo advisor. The rest are of higher risk.

Whatever you do, do your own due diligence. Don't start, E. G invest stocks, just because people tell you to.

Feel free to ask me any question. Like my post if this really help :)

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Alex Chua Cheng En
Alex Chua Cheng En

20 Jun 2019

Don't just invest your money, invest on yourself too
Dexter Tiah
Dexter Tiah, Founder at Whatcard.sg
Level 4. Prodigy
Answered on 20 Jun 2019

I had like s$3k in my bank account when I ORD-ed. At this stage of your life, I suggest just spending it on interesting experiences, such as living abroad for an unpaid internship. It enriches you as a person, and can potentially capture the interest of employers (which will be your main income stream in the first few years of your working life as you build up your assets)

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