This is the start of a new interview series with the creators of blogs and Instagram accounts that I came across.
All of us have different points of views on personal finance, so I thought it would be interesting to compile everything together.
Hope you enjoy it and do let me know if you have any comments or suggestions on how to improve the series!
While scrolling through Instagram, I chanced upon an account that has the similar goal as me, to spread the word about personal finance to other millennials.
Today, I’ve invited Yew Sheng, the creator of @catchthatmoney to share some of his personal finance tips with us.
- Would you like to give a brief introduction about yourself?
- What motivated you to start your Instagram account?
- What resources have you been using to improve your financial literacy?
- Your posts are really informative and concise! What software do you use to edit your pictures?
- What are your thoughts on the financial literacy that millennials in Singapore have currently? Do you have any ideas on how we can improve it?
- Do you have any tips (personal finance, life tips) that you would like to share?
- What are your plans for yourself as well as your Instagram account in the future?
Would you like to give a brief introduction about yourself?
My name is Yew Sheng, I am studying Economics in NUS. I will be starting my 3rd year this coming August.
Whenever people ask me why I chose to study economics, I would always share with them this funny story:
One day, when I was younger, I asked my mum this question at the hawker centre: “Mummy, why did that guy buy chicken rice from that stall, even though it was more expensive than the stall further down?”
Although she didn’t really answer me then, I grew up realising that this interest of mine was actually the concepts of Economics!
I chose to study it as I am interested in the decision making process behind an individual, especially the financial aspect of it.
Besides school, I started the Instagram account @catchthatmoney.
I am also a financial services consultant with Spartans Advisors (a representative of AIA) and I have been doing this for a year now.
This was also where I got exposed to financial planning and personal finance.
What motivated you to start your Instagram account?
I decided to start @catchthatmoney because I wanted to improve the financial literacy of students, especially those that were graduating soon and who knew little about personal finance.
In my first few months as a financial consultant, I realised that schools did not teach much about personal finance. This resulted in a lot of students graduating with an imperfect knowledge about financial planning.
Suddenly, they were overwhelmed with having to apply concepts such as savings, investments and insurance, when they did not have much prior knowledge beforehand.
The learning curve was too steep for many and they fell prey to poor financial decisions early on in their careers.
With the aim of ensuring that this does not become a trend, I set up this account in May 2020, so that I could teach young adults financial tips which they could use for their ‘adulting’ journey.
What resources have you been using to improve your financial literacy?
Mainly Google! If you have any questions about finance, just Google it! I think the main problem about this is that many websites use financial jargons which can be difficult to understand at first.
Hence, if you don’t have the patience to find the definition of terms you don’t understand, it may be a long and tedious journey to improving your understanding of personal finance concepts.
I know many friends who just gave up Googling because of this. If you face this problem, the best option is to ask someone who is financially savvy.
Your posts are really informative and concise! What software do you use to edit your pictures?
I use Canva! It’s actually pretty easy to use and can be done pretty quickly.
I would definitely recommend Canva to anyone that wants to create posters, Instagram posts or stories and many more!
What are your thoughts on the financial literacy that millennials in Singapore have currently? Do you have any ideas on how we can improve it?
I think that most millennials understand the concept of money and savings, which is a good thing.
However, I believe that many are not exposed to other key concepts, which could potentially lead to poor planning.
An example of this would be the concept of compounding and inflation.
As a financial consultant, I have met many students with superb saving habits. However, they put their monthly savings in a bank which returns 0.05%.
Due to the lack of understanding on the concepts of inflation and compounding, many do not realise that they are actually losing in the long run as inflation is continuously eroding their money’s value!
One reason for this could be because many parents are too protective.
I believe that many millennials have parents who take care of the family finances, and they do not like it when their children ask them questions on it.
Furthermore, some millennials might take the initiative to find a financial consultant to better understand financial concepts.
However, due to the fear of unethical insurance agents, many parents also restrict their children’s contact with that.
I know this for a fact as many agents around me have had the experience of people contacting them, only for their parents to call them back and warn them to not talk to their children again.
I think the obvious way to improve financial knowledge for millennials is through reading.
We need to use the power of social media to expose as many millennials to financial blogs and posts which can be useful for them.
Another suggestion I have is to talk to people in the finance industry. Don’t be scared to talk to financial consultants, bankers or even friends that are doing their internships at financial institutions.
Find out as many perspectives as you can. Always remember that talking with another person does not mean you are obliged to buy something from them.
If you are worried about meeting financial consultants that are only gunning for sales, here are some tips to check if they actually know their stuff:
#1 If they are selling you a savings plan, ask them what the illustrated (or guaranteed) yield is for the plan.
The illustrated yield is the returns that you will actually get from the policy. This is usually much lower than the rate they are selling to you, which usually includes a non-guaranteed portion.
If the yield is around 2%, ask them why should you put your money in this plan that locks up majority of your cash for 20 years, when there are saving accounts which can provide similar returns, and yet also have the flexibility in withdrawals and deposits.
#2 If they are selling an investment plan, ask them to compare their plan
s with others.
They should provide a comprehensive comparison on the fees being charged, as these fees will affect the amount of growth in your assets.
You should make sure that they know all the cons of the policy when they share it with you.
Do you have any tips (personal finance, life tips) that you would like to share?
Most financial planning would work best when the person is young.
For example, if I started saving today for retirement compared to saving 10 years later, I will need twice the amount of money 10 years later.
This does not apply only to savings and investments, but also to insurance. You should do things young to reap the benefits later.
Don’t be afraid of cashflow as well. People our age should worry less about cashflow as we have so much potential to earn during our working life.
After setting aside an emergency fund (3-6 months’ worth of your income/allowance), put the rest of the money in places to help you grow your wealth.
Trust me, you will thank your 20 year old self when you are 40 for doing so!
What are your plans for yourself as well as your Instagram account in the future?
I guess my plan is to grow my account as much as I can. I want to reach out to as many students as I can and be of help to everyone who comes across my account.
As for myself, I find joy in talking to people and helping them with their finances, so I believe I will continue with what I am doing and I hope I can touch as many lives as possible.
I would like to thank Yew Sheng for sharing with us his insightful comments! I hope that you would be inspired to start your personal finance journey, just as he has done.
Also, don’t forget to follow @catchthatmoney on Instagram for more great content!
Are you interested in learning how to create a successful Instagram account? You can check out this eBook (affiliate link) to learn some neat tricks!