“When are you getting married?”
“Are you having another baby?”
“Which universities are you looking at?”
Ah, the classic Lunar New Year barrage of questions. Maybe they arise out of genuine concern about your well-being. Maybe it’s just customary, but after all this time, surely your friends and family would come up with something else to ask. Let me do you a favour and ask you something different:
“How will you prosper financially in the Year of the Ox?”
This is so original, right? And lucky for you, I know a thing or two about wealth and abundance. No, it doesn’t involve any mandarin oranges, or dyeing your hair red to go with a matching red outfit. My secret to prosperity… is investing.
The ups of a down market
You might be thinking to yourself: “Investing? In the midst of a crisis? Are you kidding me, DBS NAV Planner?”
That’s good. That means you already have one of the basic mindset requirements to start investing – prudence. But you also need the right insights, which would tell you that the best investment opportunities often present themselves during an economic crisis.
In fact, the stock market behaviour in the past four recessions has been in favour of investors who stay invested. That brings me to another quality of a good investor – patience.
While you can look at investments as a money tree, trees don’t grow overnight. The potential recovery period of a recession could take 12 months, maybe even more – but that’s what investing is all about.
There is no shortcut to riches. You need to focus on the big picture and adopt a long-term strategy that will one day allow you to enjoy the fruits of your labour. Trust me, with the power of compounding, those fruits will be pretty sweet.
Get comfortable with discomfort
Before you get too excited and throw all your savings at the nearest broker, let’s talk about investing in a little bit more detail.
You see, the first thing you have to understand about investing is that you won’t always win. Sometimes your investments will do well, and sometimes they won’t. That’s just the nature of the market.
But your nature – as a person – is a little more complex than that. Studies have shown that people tend to feel the pain from losses more acutely than the joy from gains. This fear of losing can result in some bad investment calls – like letting go of an investment too quickly just because it’s not doing as well as expected, or holding on to an investment that’s fundamentally failing in hopes of recovering one’s losses.
This is where discipline comes in. You should learn to understand the reasons behind a loss or low-performing investment. Is the investment fundamentally flawed? Is it unlikely to recover? Was the investment simply a short-lived fad with no real long-term potential?
If you find the answer to those questions to be a resounding ‘yes’, then by all means – cut your losses. But if you’ve done your research and find that the investments are rock solid, then trust the process, and ride it out. As I said, trees don’t grow overnight. You’re expected to face some losses, before you can reap the gains. No stock goes up all the time.
Apart from doing your homework before you start investing, you should also have a good understanding of your risk appetite and build a diverse portfolio. I’ll touch on diversification again later, but the basic concept is this: spreading your investments out ensures that even if one of them does unexpectedly badly, the rest can help to keep you afloat as the market recovers.
I – DBS NAV Planner – can help you filter out which investments are right for you, with my Make Your Money Work Harder feature. I’ll simulate potential investments to see if they match your needs, and show you how much you stand to gain from them.
With that, let’s get to the fun parts.
Planting the seeds of your money tree
If you’ve never invested or are relatively new to investing, you can start off with DBS Invest-Saver. It’s essentially a Regular Savings Plan (RSP) that lets you start small, from as little as S$100 a month. With that sum, you can choose to invest in equities, exchange traded funds (ETFs) or unit trusts (UTs) – and gradually build your investments over time.
You can also consider tapping on the power of robo-advisors that make investing even easier for you. Take DBS digiPortfolio for example, which gives you the best of both robo-technology and human expertise. With digiPortfolio, your funds are handpicked and managed by our elite team of portfolio managers, while our robo-technology ensures scale and efficiency – plus full transparency of trade activities – letting you enjoy maximum gains from a diversified portfolio spread across hundreds of companies, with minimal stress.
Speaking of maximising your gains, did you know that investing can not only help grow your money, but also help you save money? I’m talking about the Supplementary Retirement Scheme (SRS), which allows you to buy a wide range of investments, while also letting you enjoy tax reliefs during your peak earning years.
That basically means you’ll pay less in taxes now, so you can save and invest more for retirement. You may have to start paying taxes again once you withdraw your SRS funds, but that will be years down the road – when you’re happily retired, sipping a nice cold drink by the beach, and paying taxes in a lower bracket, if at all.
Strengthening your portfolio
While the investment methods I shared with you are a good way to start things off, you should look at diversifying your portfolio once you’ve gotten the hang of things. With a better understanding of investing and how the market works, you can start exploring other avenues to invest your money and optimise your financial growth.
But how do you decide what else to invest in? Well, you can adopt a method I call the Barbell Portfolio strategy. Just like a typical barbell, this strategy strengthens your portfolio by striking a good balance between risk and reward. Simply put, it means you’ll be investing in high-growth stocks as well as stable, income-generating investments at the same time.
This two-pronged strategy allows you to take advantage of high-growth sectors in a booming market, while ensuring that you have a reliable safety net that will continue to pay dividends even if the market faces any uncertainty.
It also goes without saying that diversifying your portfolio means you shouldn’t just put all your eggs in a few baskets and stick to them. It’s important that you take stock of your investments at different life stages, to see what’s working for you and what’s not.
Think of it as spring cleaning. Perhaps you can take a look at your portfolio before the start of every Lunar New Year, to review and rebalance your investment plans to see if they match your personal goals and circumstances.
With me – DBS NAV Planner – you can get a quick, consolidated view of all your investments in one place. I’ll even update your investments with real-time market prices, so you can make informed and timely decisions.
This is DBS digibanking
I may not be able to give you any red packets this Lunar New Year, but I hope these golden tips will serve you well for years to come. After all, my goal is to help over 1 million Singaporeans invest their money and be insured – so they’ll never have to worry about their future.
I hope you have a splendid year of the Ox, filled with abundance and health. If you’d like to inject a bit more digital banking smarts and prosperity into the mix, you know where to find me – in the “Plan” tab of your DBS digibank app.
Until we meet again, for good luck and good measure, let me just say this… HUAT AHHHHHHH!!
Brought to you by DBS NAV Planner
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