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How can I keep my savings accessible?

How can I keep my savings accessible?

Have you ever heard your grandparents or parents telling you how they used to save money by squirreling away loose notes into a Milo tin that they keep under their beds? While that sounds old-school, what if we were to tell you that simply putting money away into a regular savings account today with interest rates below one per cent is just like the Milo tin method? With a savings account, you would be earning negligible interest in recent years that won’t help you beat prevailing inflation rates.

Of course, there are benefits to putting money into a regular savings account, the main one being keeping the money accessible when you need it. But there are ways to find a balance between keeping your money accessible and getting it to work harder for you. Here are four things for you to consider.

Be wary of large and illiquid investments

Some assets are difficult to liquidate (convert to cash) on short notice. This may seem obvious, but it is very common among Singaporeans to sink too much money into buying the biggest property they can get. They often think that this is a good idea because the property is supposedly a “retirement asset”.

However, a bigger house means bigger mortgage repayments. And unless you have the power of foresight, it’s difficult if impossible to get money out of your property on short notice when an emergency strikes. Even if you are willing to sell it, this is probably not something that can be done in a matter of weeks.

You should also be careful not to sink cash into exotic and illiquid assets such as wine, art, watches, etc. It may be difficult to find buyers if you need to liquidate these assets for cash.

Do not invest too heavily in volatile assets

Volatile assets, such as small cap stocks, are liquid assets. It is possible to sell them off in a matter of days. However, bear in mind that you may not be able to sell at a good price. If all your money is tied up in shares, and if the stock market underperforms, you will probably sell at a loss if you need to liquidate them to cover an emergency.

Instead of investing all your money in volatile assets like small cap stocks, you may want to balance your portfolio with lower risk assets, such as blue-chip stocks. While their potential for growth might not be as attractive as small cap stocks, their prices tend to be more stable. Most of them pay dividends too, which means you can receive a steady income stream at the same time.

Choose financial products with flexible options

Flexibility in a financial product could be useful in unforeseen situations which require you to have cash on hand.

For example, Manulife GrowSecure is an insurance savings plan which guarantees 100% capital return upon policy maturity while covering you against death and terminal illness. In addition to growing your capital potentially, it also comes with a premium freeze1 option, which can potentially free up cash when needed.

Manulife GrowSecure

Wealth accumulation with a lump sum payout at policy maturity

How much should I save and invest?

To ensure a secure financial future, savings is essential. In general, you will want to set aside at least 20 per cent of your income as savings, on top of any investments you make. Aim to do this until you have accumulated six months’ worth of your income.

This constitutes an emergency fund. In the event of an emergency when you need cash urgently (e.g. a car repair or a sudden job loss), you can use your emergency fund to attend to those immediate needs instead of liquidating your investments or using expensive loans.

Once you have built your emergency fund, 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 investment-linked plan that offers access to over 100 funds including dividend-paying funds for potential income.

InvestReady Wealth

Over 100 funds available in 1 investment-linked plan

In summary, while it is important to invest in assets, it is also important to make sure that you are able to access the value of those assets when you need. Want to start but not sure how? A financial planner will be able to evaluate your financial needs and recommend an insurance plan for you.

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    Disclaimer:

    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. Buying health insurance products that are unsuitable for you may affect your ability to finance your future healthcare needs. 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 web-sites (www.lia.org.sg or www.sdic.org.sg).

    We recommend that you seek advice from a Manulife Financial Consultant or its Appointed Distributors before making a commitment to purchase a policy.

     

    Footnotes

    1. Provided the policy has been in force for 2 policy years with 2 full annual premium payments and subject to approval by Manulife.


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