Finance

Personal Finance: Year in Recap

Hi guys, this month marks the one year mark since myself & Ivy came on board to join Karen to form Team Gudeiary!

Since then I’ve written at least one article a month in an area of Finance, be it in building your knowledge in investing, saving or just money stories. If you don’t know my background, I am currently working in Finance and since early 2020, I have also embarked on my own financial freedom journey – intentionally learning and taking more control over my own personal finance.

So for this article, I’m going to do a TLDR version recap of the topics we’ve covered so far, how it relates with one another and maybe add one or two cents of what I may have learned along the way.

If you have been reading the articles so far, I’d like to say thank you for all of the support! And I hope that you are making strides in your own Personal Finance journey 🙂

Getting Started

There is a general roadmap in one’s Personal Finance Journey. They are like building blocks; you’ve got to first lay the foundation before you move on to the next part. Here is all about what you should know when getting started.

Most people think about personal finance as a dry topic – that you’ve got to know all about numbers and maths. However this is only part of the story, more importantly Money is extremely emotional. It involves understanding your own behaviours and approach towards money – and this actually has more impact on your financial success than the technical skills.

Imagine you took up a job, and from the get go, you think to yourself “Okay this is just to fill up my time, I don’t want it all that much” – this mindset going in will ensure you never give it a 100%, you won’t extract the best of the job, and you are more willing to walk away when things aren’t working out. THAT is the importance of mindset.

In this article, I draw out the key takeaways from Morgan Housel’s famous book of Psychology of Money where we learn to understand the right mindset we should have before you take the next step.

Now that you’ve got your head in the right space, you are keen to get started. However, to ensure your drive is sustainable – you need to set up an effective framework of how you’d go about it . In the article, I outline 5 ways you can start to take control over your finances – from first listing down everything you own and owe all the way to setting up time to check in with yourself.

Once you know the big picture, it’s easier to fill in the details later on. I’d add to the article by saying, a good way is also to start talking to your other friends who may have existing processes to learn about the many ways they are managing their finances.

If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. And that is what a budget is for. You’ve identified your goals (ie. your destination) and you already know where you are at. A budget is a plan of how intend to get there. In this article, I break down the simplest, most fuss-free method on how you can budget called the 50/30/20 rule.

Its approach is one that involves bucketing and categorising – allowing you to split between Needs, Wants and Savings. There are many other budgeting methods out there, which I will cover maybe sometime in the future, but in essence they are just different takes on the same thing – some like to use categories, some like to budget by events. It all depends on your own lifestyle preferences.

Reviewing Spending Habits

Moving along to the second building block, tackling our spending habits. This is by far the most important part because unless you intend to increase your income through various side hustles or through progressing in your career, spending is the best way you can boost your savings. Choosing not to spend unnecessarily today yields IMMEDIATE savings vs trying to get more income, that will materialise over a period of time.

To identify what is worth buying and what is not – you must first understand the concept of asset and what are the traits that make something worth the money. Often times, when we buy something, conscious/unconsciously we may be affected by the hype, by the ads, by our emotions – but remembering the 5 traits will help you take a rational look to whether it will really improve your quality of life.

Building on the above, Team Gudeiary shared what are the best purchases that we’ve made in our 20s. Spoiler alert- they are all some form of asset – or something that helps us build a habit that we value in life.

Lastly, over time – I’ve reflected over my spending habits throughout the years and decided these are the things I no longer wish to spend money on. All in which are resulted from a lack of intention in my purchasing sprees or rooted in short sightedness.

The Importance of Saving:

Income – Purchases = Savings ! How can you save just a little more after being more intentional with your purchases, what should you save for first?

This was actually my very first post! This included the 5 tips in which I practice in order to save more money, which I still do till this day. After one year, I’d say a started cooking my own meals a lot more, and that has helped me save a lot of money from takeouts and I’ve also picked up skipping, which is an effective way to burn fat and be fit without spending a lot on gym memberships.

When you first start saving, the first thing you should always focus on is to build an emergency fund. Life will throw you curveballs. You can budget for everythingggg, till the ends of the world but you don’t know what you don’t know and things are bound to go wrong at some point. Because of that it’s important to side aside a reasonable amount of money for rainy days. Remember that peace of mind is priceless.

Learning to invest:

In my first instalment of articles on Investing, I break down what a stock actually is and why it’s deem riskier. Growing up, I realised much of the talk around stock is that it’s often equated with gambling – using hope as a strategy. You invest then you HOPE you make a buck. People look at prices of stock as it goes up and down and that volatility makes them nervous. So in this article, we go back to the basics and truly examine why volatility exist in the first place.

In this two part article – I deep dive into the common financial terms that you should understand as a beginner investor. We cover profitability and affordability (ie. cash) metrics and what it actually means. Numbers are always telling a story, it’s our role as investors to peel the onion and understand the meaning behind them. Admittedly, there are many other metrics, which I will likely cover in future articles – these are timeless terms that you will definitely come across in every Annual Report. If you are truly keen to level up on your understanding, you can check them out.

After being familiar with the risks involved in investing in stocks, and understanding what financial terms to look out for when stock picking – how can you invest in the stock market? In the article I elaborate on the 5 ways you can do so, including the pros and cons of each method.

Finally, in the last instalment in Investing. I elaborate on the 5 other investment alternatives where you can put your money to work apart from Stocks. A slight update on Bitcoin since the article was first written, which is in the span of 8 months, Bitcoin had fallen to a low of USD30k+ to bouncing back to the USD60k range again. This goes to show that, with many newer investment alternatives – volatility is the name of the game so remember to always check in on your own risk appetite.

Some newer investments options have also sprouted namely NFTs which to me personally, it’s just a purchase of bragging rights.

Resources:

An essential part of continuous growth is to keep abreast with updates and to learn from others.

In the article I broke down my favourite finance youtube channels at that point – since then I’ve checked out a few more which I think are worth mentioning as well, including some instagram pages cause they make such cute infographics:

Do know that this is a journey of continuous learning and improvement. As you move through life, your needs and goals will change so you can always revisit these aspects to tailor it best to your situation.

Here’s to good Personal Finance 🙂

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