To enjoy this article, you will first need to accept that understanding and implementing concepts such as saving money and investing it right is not everyone’s cup of tea. For some, it comes naturally; for others, there is a bit of tough learning involved. If you fall in the latter category, we have some good news for you. A Quora thread got people to share their best financial decisions people have made, and we have got the best (or at least our favourites) listed for you. Go ahead, see if you can implement a few in your life!
1. Getting a degree that pays
Mechanical engineer Betsy Megas says one of the best financial decisions she ever took was to get her engineering degree. She says that mechanical engineering wasn’t an obvious choice for her but it was due to her mother’s push that she went ahead and got a double engineering major (mechanical engineering and materials science) over making a career in writing (her hobby). The degree helps her get a solid, professional paycheck at the end of every month.
Our takeaway: At some point, it is wise to realise that you probably need to pursue a career that will give you a comfortable lifestyle and substantial savings at the end of a few years. Those savings can help build your emergency fund and tide you over for a period of time should you decide to pursue your passion full-time.
2. Eliminating debt
New Jersey-based Ron Rule, CEO of As Seen On TV, says he was under heavy debt when he was in his 30s and so, even though he was making over US$100k per year, he felt broke at the end of the month. However, he decided to get rid of all the debt and has been debt-free since over 7 years now.
Rule says, “Within a couple of months I had eliminated the small cards, and the money that used to go to those payments was rolled into the next smallest balance, and so on, working my way up towards the larger balances like cars.”
Our takeaway: The earlier you realise the hazards of humongous debt, the better it is.
3. Buying rental properties in tourist areas
While this might not work for everyone, it worked for photographer Jeffrey Adams. After making several professional visits to beaches and seeing his clients pay exorbitant rents for vacation homes they were not even satisfied with, Adams decide to purchase and decorate one himself. He now has many properties. He says, “It only took 20 clients per rental per year to cover the mortgage and build up extra equity and save for repairs, etc.”
Our takeaway: You don’t always need to invest in the regular options. Keep your eyes open for any investment opportunity in your reach. The ease of putting a home up on Airbnb means that it’s far easier to make income from renting out accommodation to tourists than ever before.
4. Not having babies!
Now this might sound ridiculous, but it certainly is one of the most foolproof ways of saving money. After all, the high cost of pregnancy in Singapore, even with subsidies, mean we have to fork out close to S$8,000 to bring our child into the world. We’re not even considering the cost of education yet .
Author Melissa Myer says the decision of not having children has had ‘a profound and positive effect on my personal finances’. She adds that this has given her a strong sense of security and helped her save enough for retirement.
Our takeaway: Having a child is a huge decision. It does require a lot of love and patience to raise one but also requires money (which might not come as naturally like the other two). So, have a kid only when you have the finances to enable a sound upbringing.
5. Leaving a job to finish your education
If you have had to start working without studying as much as you wanted for whichever reasons, it would be a good idea to quit your job, get that degree, and then land a job that pays much higher than the previous one. UI developer Juan Gallardo says he wanted to pursue a career in software development that only a degree could allow; so he took the decision of leaving his job and later made a career in the field he wanted.
Our takeaway: Leaving a job isn’t always a bad idea, especially it is a step in the direction of achieving your dream. Only be sure you have enough savings to get you through the gap phase.
6. Saving as much as you can
This might sound like a no-brainer, but it is the most undervalued financial decision ever. Steve Klinkner, who works as Zynga, says, “Live well within your means, save the rest, and if invested wisely, it will compound over time. Resist the temptation to live more lavishly if/when your income increases or you obtain extra money.”
Our takeaway: Saving money isn’t as hard as you think it is. For starters, here are 52 ways you can save money in Singapore.
7. Marrying the right person
No, we’re not suggesting you marry someone rich, no matter how tempting that proposition may be! What we mean here is to choose the right partner. Published writer Kent Fung says his wife got him out of the major financial mess his life was when he met her. She showed him how to have fun while still doing better financially. Marrying her is the greatest financial decision of his life.
Our takeaway: This might not strike you as the best financial decision you ever made but if you married a person who helps you maintain financial stability, makes serious financial decisions, and contributes to your financial well-being, you made the right choice.
8. Consider burning a few bridges
Jolex Del Pilar, Tech Entreprenuer at Exeter Media LLC, says, “There are certainly professional relationships that you should definitely cut off. Dishonest business partners, difficult clients, and bad managers can absolutely stunt your professional development and in turn your career trajectory. Don’t be afraid to close the door on a business relationship if it’s becoming toxic, because God may open other doors that you never expected.”
Our takeaway: This is pure gold. Being around authentic, positive people contributes greatly not only to your financial wellbeing but also to your overall wellbeing.
Related: 9 Signs It’s Time to Quit Your Job