INGRID LEE

Since Covid-19 has caused chaos and forced people to change their habits, many of us fear a financial crisis. You might have already thought of if only you had saved more to keep my your wallet safe. Well, there couldn’t be a better time for me to share my views with you. This might also help those who wish to move towards savings to insure a safer future, now that the virus has made us realise that anything could happen to us anytime.

During my career break, many asked me: “How do you do that ? How do you survive ?”

While many can’t even think of the idea of living without one month’s salary, I managed to live without 2 years’ salary (trust me – you can live beyond what your mind could even believe).

Below are my top tips of what I did to find financial comfort during my “not working” period. But these had been done beforehand and come from MY own personal experience.

Invest in a cash back life insurance

The younger you start your life insurance the better and the longer term the cheaper. Plus, there is a cash back plan nowadays which enables you to get survival benefits every 3 or 5 years.

That’s the first thing I did as soon as I started working and I do not regret it at all. And at that time, I was thinking that even if I die, at least I could make something good out of it. The beneficiaries (in case of my death before the policy comes to maturity) would have kind of won a lottery!

Have a solid savings account

I opened a savings account that I called “For my future”.

This would represent my savings made for long-term goals like buying a house, a car, etc. Only deposits were made to that account and no withdrawal (at least strict minimum) would be done from there. I ensured that all my bonuses and any “surplus” cash went there. I made as if I never received these.

Have an emergency fund

Building a savings buffer would prepare you for any emergency and would really keep your mind at peace. I would advise that this represents at least 3 months’ salary but you could play more safe.

Prepare a budget for any future plan

If you are planning any future event, prepare a budget according to your expected expenses. Then start saving based on that budget, the sooner the better. For example, I knew I would stop working and going on career break for a while, so I calculated my monthly expenses and saved based on that.

Invest in shares

Investing in shares is a gamble! So, invest in shares which you think would appreciate over time. This could be as risky as worthy in the long run. But I don’t buy shares to trade, I buy mainly for capital appreciation plus to get dividends !

Invest in foreign currencies

If you can get good deals on foreign currencies, take them! Your next travel trip would thank you. You’re welcome!

Ensure the urge to splurge be gone

Obviously during my time of zero income, I could not afford going shopping, going out or travelling as much as I would. This made me realise how many things I used to buy but that I didn’t really need. The story is when I was little, I didn’t know the value of money. Everyone told me that when I’ll get a job, I’ll learn its value and I believed them. Turned out to be untrue.

While I was working, I knew that at the end of the month I would be getting my pay and so I was spending while thinking I would get money again anyway.

The paradox is I had to quit my job to understand the value of money. From there, I knew that I would not get any cash used back again. So, I spent less, more cautiously and only on essentials.

Although all of the above have permitted me to feel quite safe during my period of unemployment, all this would not have been possible under different circumstances. I believe I had great advantages and some of the major ones are:

I didn’t go to University

I didn’t go to University which means I don’t have a student loan over my head. I started working at an early age while pursuing a professional qualification at the same time. Therefore, my job allowed me to pay for my tuition fees and exams.

I lived at my parents’ house

Despite how tempting having my own apartment and being free might seem, I still lived with my parents. Renting an apartment and incurring monthly costs associated with living-on-your-own seemed a luxury. Why do this when there are idle rooms at home? And I enjoyed my parents’ company and vice-versa.

I had supportive parents

Of course, I cannot ignore them in this adventure because I have fabulous and supportive parents beside me. Always there to back me if need be and they understand that it’s only temporary. We know it’s part of my journey and I have to go through this.

So, there are my tips on how to be financially comfortable. Always remember that financial stability is important in life and I wish you that! But don’t aim too high, we should aim at what would be enough for us.