Financial planning: Making a start

Cost of living is an evergreen issue for individuals working in Singapore. Given that stress from managing personal and household finances not only impacts employee productivity but also one’s health (Garman, Leech, & Grable, 1996), it makes sense (and cents!) to make time for financial planning.

Here are three things you can do:

1. Select your goals
Are you aiming to be debt free, planning on purchasing a new place, putting aside money for your children’s education, building your retirement funds?

2. Review your financial needs
Creating a balance sheet will help you assess the areas of expenses and savings/investment that you may want to work on. Moneysense has a template for both planning a family budget and assessing your assets and liabilities.

3. Find ways to optimize your resources
Creating a budget will help with you track both the expenses and savings/investments that you envisage making. A family budget excel spreadsheet can be downloaded from SME toolkit.

It’s never too late to start!

Financial stress

A recent Straits Times article (“More finding it hard to pay credit card debt”, 24 Sept 2013) reports a rise in the proportion of individuals who had not made a minimum payment of their credit card bill in two months. Housing loans have also been on a steady incline over the last three years, according to an Economist article (“The perils of a gilded age”, 3 August 2013) which cites figures from the Credit Bureau.

Financial stress impacts workplace productivity: Employees burdened with personal financial problems spend time which could otherwise be better spent on work responsibilities solving these problems. It’s not only a question of 1) assessing one’s financial situation and 2) managing available resources, in order to 3) set goals such as setting side a proportion of income for savings and investment – the three steps outlined in the local online financial education programme at http://www.moneysense.gov.sg.

But it’s also a question of setting aside time and making it a priority as part of self-care. As Irving (2012) points out, engaging in positive financial behaviours contributes to life satisfaction and psychological wellbeing. Time spent on financial planning is time well spent!