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Financial Planning - a 101 Guide

Just starting work, or finally got down to looking at the numbers in your life? Here is a quick guide on getting started with Financial Planning - an ongoing process that helps you to approach your life goals. 
Financial planning 101 guide with Manulife Singapore

What is Financial Planning?

Financial planning refers to an in-depth review of your financial situation; and from that information, develop a strategy to help you reach quantifiable goals. For example, your goal maybe an income of S$2,500, adjusted for inflation, by the time you retire in 2047. To achieve that goal, you would need to work out the total amount you need to save and invest, as well as type of financial instruments you should buy (e.g. endowment plans, unit trusts, equities, bonds, and so forth). This would constitute a financial plan for retirement.

A financial plan should be customised to the individual's needs and objectives. There's no "one-size-fits-all" approach to financial planning. Below is a guide on how you can get started on your financial planning. 

What are the 3 steps of financial planning?

First, set a budget and track expenses.

Being in control of your finances is a great start to financial planning.

How much of my salary should I save?

A starting guide would be the 50/30/20 rule1 where you allocate 50% of your monthly budget to essentials like housing, utilities, food and transport; 30% towards lifestyle and recreational activities; and the remaining 20% towards savings, insurance and investments.

Look for investment opportunities to make your money work harder for you. An example of how you can do so is through Manulife InvestReady Wealth (II), a whole life regular premium investment-linked plan that offers access to over 100 funds including dividend-paying funds for potential income. 

InvestReady Wealth (II)

After setting your budget, it is important to track actual expenses. If your actual expenses exceed your budget for consecutively a few months, maybe you need to review your budget again. This will help to ensure that you are on the right track to achieving your goals. 

Second, set quantifiable goals. 

An example of this would be "to accumulate S$50,000 to make the down payment of a flat by age 32", or "to build a stock portfolio that pays S$1,000 a month in dividends in 25 years”. Financial planning should not involve vague goals, such as "make more money". Once you set your quantifiable goals, you can do the math and adjust your budget to achieve your goals.  

Also, it's important to speak to a qualified financial consultant at least once every six months. This is for you to undergo a financial review to fine-tune your range of assets (e.g. portfolio rebalancing) to help you get closer to your goals.

Lastly, have a fluid financial plan.

Many things can happen between today and your retirement. Your portfolio of assets - and long term financial goals - may have to change. Factors such as marriage, becoming self-employed, litigation, or an economic recession may require changes to be made to your plan.  Therefore, it’s important to review your financial plan regularly to ensure that you are on track to getting closer to your goals. 

How often should I review my financial plan? 

Speak to a qualified financial consultant at least once every six months for a financial review and fine-tune your range of assets (e.g. portfolio rebalancing) to help you get closer to your goals.


Start your financial planning today.


The insurance products are underwritten by Manulife (Singapore) Pte. Ltd. (Reg. No. 198002116D). This advertisement has not been reviewed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore. Buying a life insurance policy is a long-term commitment. There may be high costs involved if you terminate the policy early, and your policy's surrender value (if any) may be zero or less than the total premiums paid.  Your investments are subject to investment risks, and you may lose the principal amount invested. The performance of the ILP sub-fund is not guaranteed. The value of the units in the ILP sub-fund and the accumulated income (if any) may fall or rise. This advertisement is for your information only and does not consider your specific investment objectives, financial situation or needs. It is not a contract of insurance and is not intended as an offer or recommendation to purchase the plan. You can find the full terms and conditions, details, and exclusions for the mentioned insurance product(s) in the policy contract.

This policy is protected under the Policy Owners’ Protection Scheme which is administered by the Singapore Deposit Insurance Corporation (SDIC). Coverage for your policy is automatic and no further action is required from you. For more information on the types of benefits that are covered under the scheme as well as the limits of coverage, where applicable, please contact us or visit the LIA or SDIC websites ( or

We recommend that you seek advice from a Manulife Financial Consultant or our Appointed Distributors, or visit any DBS/POSB Branch before making a commitment to purchase a policy.

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