3 Money Beliefs That Will Destroy Your Life Sharpen Your Axe

3 Money Beliefs That Will Destroy Your Life

3 Money Beliefs That Will Destroy Your Life Worried

3 Money Beliefs That Will Destroy Your Life Worried: Image source

Much of our lives revolve around money. In a sense, money does make the world go round. We rely on money to get things done and fulfil our basic needs each day. 

As a result, money can be the source of a lot of our worries and problems. A lack of money can cause a high level of stress and lead to negative thoughts. 

The set of beliefs that we have about money can either make things better or worse.  When we have disempowering beliefs, it’s difficult to see opportunities and possibilities since we’re so focused on the negative. E.g. I can’t, I don’t, I’m never going to, It’s hard. 

These negative thoughts lead to negative feelings, which then go on to impact every other aspect of our lives. 

I believe that having the right mindset can change the way that we perceive and experience life. Here are three money beliefs that can hold you back from living a fulfilled life, and ways that you can shift your perspective on them.  

 

Belief #1: If you work harder, you’ll be able to earn more 

This might’ve been true back in the day. But nowadays, with the possibilities that the internet affords, more and more people are finding ways to work less and earn more. Your income no longer needs to be tied to the amount of hours you put in. 

Instead of working harder, you can work smarter. It’s like the difference between trying to chop down trees with a dull vs. sharpened axe. Spend some time sharpening your axe (upfront effort), and you’ll be able to get the job done much faster. 

3 Money Beliefs That Will Destroy Your Life Sharpen Your Axe

3 Money Beliefs That Will Destroy Your Life Sharpen Your Axe Image source

Internet entrepreneurs who sell a product that doesn’t require a huge ongoing time commitment can work fewer hours and might eventually even earn more than salaried employees. The internet enables you to reach customers at scale from all over the world and earn money while you sleep. 

One way to start selling something online without needing to spend much money upfront is teaching something that you know. 

For example, you can use platforms like Skillshare or Udemy to create an online course. You create it once, and each time someone enrols, you get paid!  

Of course, this will require some time and effort upfront, but once it’s done, the money will keep coming in without you having to lift a finger. And this is just ONE potential business idea. A quick Google will enable you to find many, many more. 

3 Money Beliefs That Will Destroy Your Life New Skills

3 Money Beliefs That Will Destroy Your Life New Skills: Image source

Nevertheless, if you think that the internet entrepreneur thing is not for you, there are still ways that you can increase your income potential without working harder. 

You can learn some new skills online through the very same platforms that I just mentioned (+ many more) and increase your value to an employer. If you’re a Singaporean over the age of 25, you can also make use of your SkillsFuture credit

Instead of waiting and hoping for a promotion, you can make the leap to a new field with skills that are in demand, e.g. digital marketing, AI/machine learning, data analytics. 

Of course, don’t learn something for the sake of learning it — ideally, you’d actually have some interest in it! Otherwise, it’ll be very painful and it won’t be a career that you’ll enjoy. 

 

Belief #2: It’s not possible to become wealthy without a good family background 

It’s true that being from a well-off family provides you with many opportunities that might not be available to others. You can move in the right social circles, get access to a good education and have more financial resources at your disposal. 

But there are many examples of people who became wealthy despite not growing up with a valuable network, getting a prestigious education or having money readily available. 

You shouldn’t let your upbringing or circumstances hold you back, nor complain about all the entitled people who seem to have an easy life because they got handed a silver spoon. 

Daymond John from Shark Tank was raised by a single mom in a rough neighbourhood and is dyslexic. He’s now got an estimated net worth of $300 million. 

3 Money Beliefs That Will Destroy Your Life Daymond John

3 Money Beliefs That Will Destroy Your Life Daymond John: Image source

He didn’t win the lottery or have it easy. He started a business called FUBU from the ground up, and their “office” was his mother’s house. He even closed the business three times from 1989-1992 because he ran out of capital. 

You might think, “oh sure, he’s probably one of those rare lucky people,” but there are also quite a few (largely unfamiliar) examples of Asian entrepreneurs going from rags to riches. 

Just because these people are not famous in mainstream media and their stories are not well-known, it doesn’t mean that they don’t exist. There are probably many more people out there who haven’t had a story written about them. You could become one of them. 

 

Belief #3: Money can buy happiness 

Money can buy a lot of things. And it can definitely help you solve a lot of problems. But it can’t buy happiness, because that’s something that can only be achieved internally. 

Our minds are programmed to keep wanting something new, something better, something different. We build up a sense of excitement and believe that getting X thing will bring us long-lasting happiness. 

We may be really happy for a moment, but the feeling will soon pass and we’ll be back to wanting something else to experience the same high. 

Having a good meal — that’s great in the moment, but forgotten in a few hours. 

Getting a nice bag/car/house/[insert other material thing here] — that’s great for a while, and then you get used to it. What’s next? 

3 Money Beliefs That Will Destroy Your Life Shopping

3 Money Beliefs That Will Destroy Your Life Shopping: Image source

And for the people who want the money not for the high of consumption, but for the high you get by showing off your status, when will it ever be enough? 

The truth is, we don’t end up happier after fulfilling our wants. 

We just end up wanting more. 

It’s funny, though, because our happiness actually comes from the absence of wanting. When we’ve gotten that new [insert material thing here], for a moment we don’t want anything else. But once our mind gets bored, it looks for something else to focus on… 

To find more lasting happiness and fulfilment, we should work towards things that also benefit others, or things that have a sense of profound importance to us (e.g. things we want to do before we die).  

Having a daily gratitude practice is also beneficial to remind us of everything that we already have and lessen our urge to have more.

 

Change your beliefs, change your life

We always act in accordance with our beliefs. That’s why a simple mindset shift can do wonders. I believe that we should seek to learn about different perspectives and find role models who have achieved what we might’ve once thought was impossible. 

Have you had any of these beliefs? If so, will you take steps to overcome them? 

This is a guest post by Rachel from Hey, it’s Rachel. She writes about mindset, personal finance, and all things personal development. She’s on a mission to empower millions of people around the world to live their best lives through education on mindset and growth.

 

Final thoughts by Wealthdojo

These are my favorite quotes from Rachel. Thanks for the beautiful article.

  1. Money can buy a lot of things. And it can definitely help you solve a lot of problems. But it can’t buy happiness, because that’s something that can only be achieved internally. 
  2. It’s funny, though, because our happiness actually comes from the absence of wanting. When we’ve gotten that new [insert material thing here], for a moment we don’t want anything else.
  3. Instead of working harder, you can work smarter.

 

Join my Telegram Channel for a tip a day! In Wealthdojo, we dedicate a small amount of time daily for learning new things. Continuous learning is one of the greatest secrets of success.

For those of you who want to turbocharge your journey, contact me at chengkokoh@gmail.com. I would like to hear from you what your experiences are currently and from there, we develop a plan specially catered just for your journey.

We wish you all the best! Stay Safe and Take Care!

Chengkok, Sensei of Wealthdojo.

How COVID19 is robbing your wealth secretly

How COVID19 is robbing your wealth secretly

COVID-19 has swept the world off its’ feet. With it still lurking around, are you aware that there are many silent robbers that are robbing you of your wealth secretly? In Wealthdojo 6 Level Wealth Karate, we talk the importance of shielding our wealth from these silent robbers.

In this article, we are also excited to partner with Jocelyn who is a self taught investor in her 40s. Do check out her website below.

Have you saved money while working from home?

How COVID19 is robbing your wealth secretly Working From Home

How COVID19 is robbing your wealth secretly: Working From Home

Since Singapore went into circuit breaker lockdown on 7 April, many Singaporeans have been forced to work from home where possible. Not all jobs are WFH-friendly but for those that are, benefits of a WFH arrangement include zero commute time, greatly reduced transportation costs and reduced weekday meal expenses (assuming you do not live in the CBD). 

For the 7 or so weeks that Singapore was in circuit breaker, most establishments were forced to close and people were advised to leave the house only out of necessity, such as shopping for groceries or if working in essential services. 

If you were working from home during the circuit breaker period, it makes sense to think that you should have saved quite a bit on transport and food expenses right? That may not necessarily be the case. Here are four reasons that may have prevented you from keeping within your budget:

 

#1: Ordering food delivery and “indulging a bit” 

How COVID19 is robbing your wealth secretly Food Delivery

How COVID19 is robbing your wealth secretly: Food Delivery

Instead of getting your weekday lunches from the nearby kopitiam or cooking at home, you may find yourself going for more expensive options when ordering food delivery. This could be to feed a craving or ordering from places that you’re not able to visit in person. 

It is not uncommon for F&B establishments to mark up their food prices on food delivery apps. They do this to offset the platform/commission fee that food delivery platforms charge for listing their menu on the app! This means that even when ordering from the same place, opting for food delivery may cost 5-10% more than physically going to the store to tabao your food.

What to do instead

  • Have a weekly limit on the number of times you order food delivery
  • Cook more meals at home 

#2: Spending more time (and money) shopping online 

Thanks for covid-19, online shopping saw a record boom worldwide. Instead of going to a neighborhood mall or Orchard road for retail leisure, Singaporeans went online instead, clocking record increases in app traffic and transaction volumes on popular shopping apps.  Shopee saw a 40% increase in screen time by app users along with increased sales during the circuit breaker period. 

How COVID19 is robbing your wealth secretly Online Shopping

How COVID19 is robbing your wealth secretly Online Shopping

Online shopping is just a click or tap away, with a lot less friction to carting out a purchase. With people being cooped up at home and spending less time outside, some have also turned to online shopping as a way to pass time. This can lead to impulse buys or spending more on non-essential purchases! 

What to do instead:

  • Move your online shopping apps to a folder and away from the first page of your phone, and unsubscribe from marketing emails. Out of sight, out of mind. 
  • Start an affordable hobby to spend your time more meaningfully! Eg. Exercising outdoors, reading, cooking
  • Create a budget for your shopping needs and stay committed to it. Remember to prioritize needs over wants!

#3: Paying for convenience

How COVID19 is robbing your wealth secretly convenience

How COVID19 is robbing your wealth secretly convenience

The rise in door-to-door delivery makes it incredibly convenient to buy groceries or choosing to dine in, with food delivery. The trade-off for this convenience is the delivery fee. An additional $2-3 to have a meal delivered to your doorstep may not seem like much but if you’re ordering meal deliveries multiple times a week/day, those delivery fees can add up very quickly. 

What to do instead: 

  • Consolidate grocery orders to capitalize on free delivery and/or save on delivery costs
  • Watch out for promotions and discounts so you can save on these necessary purchases 
  • Consider walking to a nearby kopitiam to tabao your meal instead of getting it delivered. 

 

#4: Paying for comfort 

With most people forced to work from home, many have turned to buying desks and chairs for a more comfortable working experience. This makes sense if your existing tables and chairs are not suited for long hours of desk work. A quality table or chair may be a good investment in the long term, but take care not to let these “investments” become white elephants once COVID-19 is behind us and offices reopen!

What to do instead: 

  • Get creative with your WFH setup!
    • Repurpose your dining area for work during the day,
    • If you have a small fridge, use it as a “standing table” when you feel like you need a stretch
    • Hunt for office furniture bargains on FB or Carousell. Businesses that have to downsize or close their offices will often need to get rid of their furniture. 

 

Stay committed to your cause

If you are already managing your expenses and/or budget tracking, you probably have a good reason for doing so. You may be saving up for a house, or a new family member or just trying to make ends meet with reduced income. Reminding yourself about this goal can help you refocus and double down on keeping to your budget. 

Sometimes, having a better picture of your money flow can help you manage your expenses and budgets. Create a sankey budget diagram of your monthly cashflow (check out mine here) and use that to guide your budgeting decisions!  

Guest writer: Joce
A self-taught investor working towards her goal of achieving financial freedom in her forties. Check out her blog here: Financial Freedom by 40

 

Final Thoughts By Wealthdojo

Congratulations for reading thus far. COVID-19 seems to be here to stay. The journey ahead seems like a scary one and I want assure you that you will definitely get through it.

Special thanks for Jocelyn. Thank you for your special appearance. I really enjoyed your article.

Join my Telegram Channel for a tip a day! In Wealthdojo, we dedicate a small amount of time daily for learning new things. Continuous learning is one of the greatest secrets of success.

For those of you who want to turbocharge your journey, contact me at chengkokoh@gmail.com. I would like to hear from you what your experiences are currently and from there, we develop a plan specially catered just for your journey.

We wish you all the best! Stay Safe and Take Care!

Chengkok, Sensei of Wealthdojo.

Once Upon a Time, You Met Money

Once Upon a Time, You Met Money

Once Upon a Time, You Met Money

Do you remember the day when you first met money? Perhaps it was when you went to the store with your parents. Or perhaps it was before entering primary school, when an adult or older sibling sat you down to learn how to use the various metal discs and paper slips to buy a meal at the school canteen. Adults never seemed to have enough of these coins and notes and it was what they suffered at work for. With other priorities in life such as catching the next episode of your favourite cartoon, you did not think much about how money would affect your life. Little did you know then, that from the time that you were born, you have already involuntarily entered an inescapable relationship with money.

Once Upon a Time, You Met Money

Once Upon a Time, You Met Money.

Back in the days of your childhood, your relationship with money was like a series of summer flings. Money came and went. There was no need to work very hard to keep money with you, or find ways to grow your relationship with money. What for? Money always came back to you whenever it was time to get your allowance from your parents. An extra fifty cents or dollar gifted to you would brighten your entire day, much like when your crush flashed a smile at you, but you were fine without money for you had your parents to feed and clothe you. Oh the simple days of puppy love.

 

Some years go by and as you grew, involuntarily once again, your relationship with money got a little more serious. You started to see the nice things and experiences that money could give you.  For this reason you probably started to take a little more initiative in sustaining the relationship, putting in more effort to help money grow and stay by your side. Maybe you started taking part-time jobs while studying, and maybe you started learning to save a little bit more for days when you really want that new pair of jeans.

 

In the blink of an eye, you have now entered adulthood. A relationship with money is starting to become more and more of a mainstay of your life. Yet it feels like the more you need money, the more it gets further out of reach. You constantly complain about money to your friends and family, about how insecure money is making you feel.

 

Sometimes you try to turn a blind eye and pretend that everything is going to be fine as long as you keep working. However, you know that a healthy relationship is hardly sustainable when you are putting in the bare minimum, for no one can predict when sickness or misfortune will hit them. Is your relationship with money strong enough to withstand all possible tribulations in life? Is it strong enough to give you enough capital when you need it to achieve your goals? “Heck, they never taught us this in school”, you may lament.

 

What are you going to do about it? Perhaps it is time to realise that just getting a paycheck every month is no longer enough to sustain a stable relationship with money. Are you willing to take steps to fortify the relationship to ensure that money will not leave you in times of poor health and adversity? Or to ensure that money can help you get what you want?

 

Just like how far you have come from that awkward first kiss in your romantic relations, the skills to maintaining a healthy relationship with money comes with practice and research. It is impertinent that you start this journey with a resolute belief in the benefits of prioritising a stable relationship with your finances.

 

It is understandable that this task can appear arduous and overwhelming, especially with the gargantuan amount of information out there relating to personal finance. One may even say that the thought of having to do it is repulsive. However, a healthy relationship with your money would reap immense benefits, just like how a healthy romantic relationship would.

 

Final Thoughts

There are a plethora of resources out there to aid your efforts. If it all seems overwhelming, you can start by following channels such as Wealthdojo’s Telegram channel to learn bite-sized tips in handling your relationship with money. Gradually, whenever you feel ready for more, you can reach out to our Sensei, Chengkok, with an email to chengkokoh@gmail.com. Be bold in your endeavour to become a better partner for money, for there is nothing embarrassing about wanting to become better.

Good luck, and may you find your ‘happily ever after’ with money!

Article by: Michelle Er

How to be free from the burden of university debt

How to be free from the burden of university debt?

You made it! You have made it either through the grueling A-levels or becoming the very best of your polytechnic cohort. We welcome you to the top 23% of students in Singapore. We also welcome you into the Wealth Management world of debt.

This article is jointly written with one of the finest young man I have met: Frugal Youth Invests.

 

The World Of Debt

How to be free from the burden of university debt

How to be free from the burden of university debt (Source: Lenpezo)

University will be shell shocked for you. Especially, for Junior Colleague buddies out there. Your teachers won’t be chasing you for homework. You will decide what modules to study. You will have to do everything yourself. In the next 4 years, your financial life will be deciding on textbooks to buy, how to printing your lecture notes, how to save time and money from transportation, what kind of food to eat in school and perhaps how to survive in your student hostel. Once you finished the 4 years, you will graduate with a $30,000 loan which you have to pay off.

 

My University Financial Journey

I graduated from Nanyang Technological University in 2013 with a Bachelor of Science (Major in Mathematics and Economics). Coming from a humble family, I decided to complete my university in 3.5years (instead of 4 years) so that I can save on one semester of tuition fees. I want to share with you the cost of my university life so that you can be prepared when the time comes.

On average I take between 5 to 7 modules a semester (I was chionging modules). This would mean that you would have taken at least 35 to 42 modules in your university life. Each module would be run for 13 weeks which means there would be 13 sets of notes to be printed. 

 

Textbooks

Typically, we are encouraged to buy a textbook as a recommended read. You can choose not to buy but you will definitely feel there is a feeling of “missing out”.  I remember the first book that I had to buy was Calculus, John Steward, 6th Edition. A new book cost around $200+ and a used book cost around $100. Some of the tutorial questions are from the textbook so it is a must that we have some access to that textbook. This soon became one of the most expensive investment in my university days. On average, I would spend between $500 to $600 per semester on books. In total, that would mean $3500 to $4200 in my entire university life. 

Printing

Printing costs varies a lot. To save money, my default printing was 4 slides on 1 page, double sized to “optimize” my writing space and also my eyesight. It cost me easily $100 per semester. Total cost over 4 years: $700. You can save printing cost if you wish to read the notes on your IPAD/Computer etc. Personally, it is easier for me to study when I print the notes out. 

Transportation

If you have lessons every single day, you would need to go to university. I used the concession pass in my university days. It cost $90/month. Total cost over 4 years: $4320 . 

Food and beverages

Food cost varies as well depending on what you eat and how many meals you eat in school. I typically have 1 to 2 meals in school. Assuming that each meal cost $6. It cost $180/month. Total cost over 4 years: $8640.

Student Hostel

If you are staying in a student hostel, per-person-per-month basis for a single room or a twin-sharing room ranges from S$265 – S$605. Let’s take the average cost of $435 for calculation. If you stay in a hall for the entire university life, it will cost $20,880. I had the opportunity to stay in the hostel for 4 semesters (2 years out of the 4). 

University Fees

I paid $20,034 for 3.5 years of my university education. If I were to complete my university in 4 years, the cost will be around $24,000.

 

In total, you would have spent around $60,000 based on the above estimates.

On average, your “survival” running cost (minus the university fees) will be $800 to $1100 per month depending on your choices that you make

How to be free from the burden of university debt oh man

How to be free from the burden of university debt: oh man

Your University Self Reliance Fund

The reason you are still reading this is because you want to be self-reliance and be independent. You want to make money for yourself so that your parents will not be burdened by your expenditure. Frugal Youth Invests will be talking about VES and STC schemes in National Service that you can take after your ORD. I will be sharing with be a personal one on how I survived and thrived during university financially.

How to be free from the burden of university debt self reliance

How to be free from the burden of university debt self reliance

Voluntary Extension of Service (VES)

Voluntary Extension of Service (VES) is a scheme where servicemen can extend their service immediately upon ORD on a voluntary basis to meet organisation need if necessary, for a period not exceeding 9 months. Such examples of organisation need include completing Special Project Work or to finish overseeing a batch of trainees as an instructor. 

For NSFs who decide to VES, they will continue to receive the same benefits accorded to all NSFs. Personnel who VES will be paid NS allowance for the extended period, receive the same medical benefits and be eligible for 14 days of annual leave per calendar year, pro-rated by the duration of extended service (rounded up to count as a full day). 

For personnel extending their service, they are serving in the capacity of an Operationally Ready National Servicemen, thus it counts towards servicemen’s ORNS but not as a high key in camp training. As an ORNS, personnel will be eligible for recognition accorded to NSmen, such as NSmen tax relief, in which during any assessment period when the personnel is serving VES, he will be eligible for a higher quantum of tax relief. 

NSFs who are keen to volunteer their service beyond their ORD should inform the units of their intent verbally, in writing or email. Application for VES should start at least one month in advance of the NSF’s ORD. Personnel on VES can choose to end their voluntary period of extension before the intended due date. Personnel will have to inform their Personnel Management Centres in writing at least one month in advance, and serve a notice of one month. 

 

Short Term Contract (STC)

Similar to the intention of VES where it allows units to meet organisational needs, Short Term Contract (STC) allows units to temporarily fill a position to meet organisation needs. In light of the current uncertainty and unfavourable job market, STC is a safe, stable and short term employment for NSFs who are about to ORD and looking for employment. With this scheme, servicemen can earn a regular salary and receive medical benefits accorded to a regular.  

Even though STC is open to all vocations, it is up to the unit to decide to allow STC on a particular vocation. For example, STC is usually not open to Admin Support Assistance vocation as the resources are not scarce compared to other combat vocations. 

 

The Traditional Part Time (4 out of 5 friends gave tuition)

I was funding my lifestyle by giving tuition. I was charging $30/hour for mathematics tuition for secondary school and $50/hour for mathematics/economics tuition for junior college. It was not easy getting tuition right at the start. A typical lesson plan for the students would be a 2 hours session a week. This would mean 8 hours a month. Doing the math, you will be rewarded $240 per student that you have in a secondary school. To “survive” in university, you might need to take 3 to 4 students. You probably need to give tuition during weekends. 

Some of my friends were doing part-time work at restaurants. Their pay would be on average $7/hour. To survive, you have to work 100hours/month or 25 hours/week or 4hours/day. 

It is not hard to imagine that most of us ended up giving tuition during our university days. 

I also had the opportunity to work at a local bank in a tele-sales role. Inclusive of CPF, I was paid around $3000++/month (which is quite attractive for a person in his 20s). This employment helped me fund my university fees. Of course, I had good financial budgeting knowledge and I did not YOLO my pay away.

In the current market, some part time employment opportunities that one can look for will be food delivery riders, temperature screener, clerical, digital marketing blog posts or packer related jobs which pay at an average rate.  

 

Final Thoughts By Frugal Youth Invest

Before discussing whether to choose between VES or STC, one must understand that due to cohort equality, personnel who ORD in November as they were enlisted in January, will not be allowed to disrupt for further studies. This means that they have at least 8 months before starting on Uni. This gives them a lot of time to find employment outside. However, in this unfavorable job market, it might be difficult for NSFs to look for meaningful jobs outside. 

We understand that the majority of NSFs find their allowance meagre and really want to get out of the Army as soon as they ORD. However, if a NSF does not mind the regimentation of the Army, one should consider short term employment through STC if their unit offers based on their vocation. This is because STC is a safe, stable and short term employment during times of uncertainty. In addition, it offers a regular salary, which is higher than any part time job salary, and personnel will receive medical benefits accorded to a regular. 

As for VES, there is not much of an incentive to volunteer to extend service as one is paid NSF allowance. It will definitely be a turn off for some who are already complaining about the meagre allowance and wanting to get out of the Army as soon as they ORD. Therefore, this leaves us to take on either STC or part time employment outside. 

I believe that the question to ask about deciding between part time employment and STC is how meaningful can either path be? For example, when choosing STC, STC is meaningful and worth a try because one can continue to contribute to national security and roles like being an instructor can be meaningful as one will feel a sense of accomplishment after seeing his trainees graduate from the course and be competent in his vocation. I think that it is very difficult to replicate such a contribution and sense of accomplishment working part time outside. 

That being said, it does not mean that working part time outside is not of any value, but it is what kind of job that one is looking for that matters. I do not see any value in working as a food delivery rider or temperature screener in terms of personal development. What can one achieve at the end of the day other than earning money? Does one pick up new skills that will aid them for their studies or will it build one’s portfolio or resume for scholarship or full time job in the future? 

I think these are some questions to think about when deciding between part time employment and STC. It is really what each individual would want to achieve at the end of the day and this article is merely guiding the decision making process. 

 

Final Thoughts by Wealthdojo

Once again, congratulations for reading thus far. I believe you are responsible person and I wish you all the luck. The journey ahead seems like a scary one and I want assure you that you will definitely get through it. Although it seems overwhelming, I want to assure you that you will learn and discover many things about yourself. Your choices will ultimately be part of your youth.

Whichever self reliance funding that you choose, believe in yourself and enjoy this part of your youth.

Special thanks for Frugal Youth Invests. Thank you for your special appearance. Wishing you all the best too!

 

Join my Telegram Channel for a tip a day! In Wealthdojo, we dedicate a small amount of time daily for learning new things. Continuous learning is one of the greatest secrets of success.

For those of you who want to turbocharge your journey, contact me at chengkokoh@gmail.com. I would like to hear from you what your experiences are currently and from there, we develop a plan specially catered just for your journey.

We wish you all the best! Stay Safe and Take Care!

Chengkok, Sensei of Wealthdojo.

The hidden cost of retirement

The Hidden Cost Of Retirement: Healthcare

Many of us look forward to retirement. It is the time when we can finally enjoy our lives and the fruits of our labor. We envision that we can use the hard-earned money that we have save and invest in our wealth management journey to spend on the finer things in life.

The hidden cost of retirement

The hidden cost of retirement: I wonder why are retirement photos all at the beach.

However, as we grow older, there is this cost that keeps creeping up. If uncareful, may derail our retirement.

(This is a joint-post together with Life Finance. Do check them out. I think the quality of their article are great. They are certainly one of the better writers out there and I’m happy that there is someone like them writing on these important topics)

 

Healthcare costs in retirement

Healthcare costs will form a significant part of retirement spending. In Life Finance previous article, he documented that healthcare costs will shoot up from a bit less than 7% of household spending for a typical household before retirement to more than 12% after retirement. This is on top of health insurance spending. This 12% of overall spending is made up of the deductibles, co-payments and other outpatient expenses tat actually comes out of the retirees’ pockets (or Medisave account).

The hidden cost of retirement healthcare cost

The hidden cost of retirement healthcare cost

The higher percentage does not mean that a retired household spends less on everything else. In fact, once household size and inflation are accounted for, retired households actually spend the same amount after retirement as they do before. Hence planning for higher healthcare costs is crucial as part of retirement planning.

 

Why does healthcare costs go up in retirement?

It is no secret that while inflation has moderated for most goods and services in the past few years with slowing economic growth, healthcare inflation has continued unabated. But the rate at it is going up is not well known. Let’s look at some data.

From the data.gov website, we can see that healthcare inflation has outpaced general inflation, in the last few years.

The hidden cost of retirement healthcare inflation

The hidden cost of retirement healthcare: Inflation

But this chart gives a relatively benign view of healthcare cost inflation, showing that it is still manageable. This is however, not true at the patient level, especially for retirees. As life expectancy increases, Singaporeans are also seeing an increase in the number of years spent in ill health to more than 10 years out of a lifespan of 84 years. This means that the corresponding bills for healthcare will increase, as hospital stays becomes longer, and procedures become more complex.

To get a better sense of the increase in healthcare costs at the patient level, we can look at the Ministry of Health’s Fee Benchmarks Committee Report from 2018. While Class A public hospital bills grew by 4.9% per year between 2007 and 2017, private hospital bills grew by 9% a year in that same period!

The hidden cost of retirement healthcare bills

The hidden cost of retirement healthcare bills

Beyond that, healthcare costs have kept increasing. Mercer in 2019 indicated that in 2018, Singapore healthcare cost inflation was 10% and the same is projected for 2019 and 2020

In addition to hospital bills and healthcare costs going up, retirees are faced with the fact that the frequency of their hospital stays will also increase. The likelihood of hospitalization in any year will go up from between 20% – 27% for retirees in their late 60’s and early 70’s, to a staggering 70% – 80% when they reach their mid 80’s, or a three-fold increase at a minimum.

The hidden cost of retirement healthcare hospitalisation episodes

The hidden cost of retirement healthcare hospitalisation episodes

A three-fold increase over 20 years corresponds to a growth rate of hospitalization of 7% per year.

Hence, to get the true rate of healthcare cost increase in the retirement years, we need to consider both:
a) The higher frequency of hospitalization and healthcare needs
b) The growing rate of healthcare inflation

Putting both these figures together:

• Retiree patients in Class A wards in public hospitals will be faced with a 12% increase in healthcare costs per year (4.9% and 7%)
• Retiree patients using Private hospitals will be faced with a 18% rise in healthcare costs on a year-on-year basis

While it is true that with healthcare insurance, such as Medishield Life or an Integrated Shield plan, much of these rising costs can be transferred to the insurer, the retiree patient is still faced with the prospect of rising co-payments and other out of pocket costs. Furthermore, rising healthcare costs will ultimately be reflected in higher insurance premiums as well, which is what we discuss next.

 

Rising healthcare insurance premiums

As healthcare cost increase as explained above, premiums from medical insurance will go up due to the risk pooling nature of insurance policies. From 2015 to 2020, Singapore’s medical insurance premium began its steep incline. The Ministry of Health has stepped in on many initiatives such as co-payment, the use of preferred doctors and also pre-authorisation to help cope the medical inflation rates in Singapore.

The Medishield Life Committee gave their recommendation in 2014 with the proposal of the upgrade from Medishield to Medishield Life. In a nutshell, it means that the scope of coverage will increase and at the same time, the premiums will increase. There were a series of government subsidies over the last 5 years to help Singaporeans cope with the rising cost of medical insurance.

As the Integrated Shield (IP) plan is made up of Medishield (Now Life) and Additional Insurance Coverage from Insurance company, this directly increase the overall premiums that consumers have to pay.

The hidden cost of retirement healthcare medishield life

The hidden cost of retirement healthcare Medishield life

To the same time, insurance companies were making underwriting loses as net claims faced by the insurers outpaced premiums earned, particularly for plans covering private hospitals. Net claims are made up of the absolute cost of healthcare and the frequency of healthcare. The absolute cost of healthcare has gone up over the years as written above. At the same time, with medical advancement, it is more common for people now to seek medical treatment as compared to the past. These has made premiums unsustainable in the long run.

Between the years 2016 and 2019, the premiums of riders and the private insurance component of IP increase on average of 24% and 10% respectively each year. These trends are largely reflective of increases in private hospital insurance claims.

The raise in questionable claims also push up the claims experience of the insurance companies. (Quoted from source almost fully to retain the meaning of the article)

In one example, A 37-year-old woman stayed seven days in hospital for abdominal hernia repair. Of the $46,000 bill, the surgeon’s share was $31,900, or five times the norm. It transpired that while in hospital, she also had her breast augmented, and a tummy tuck with the fat transferred to her buttocks, but since these are not covered by insurance, none of this was stated in the bill.

A second example is for a woman was warded for 42 days for cervical sprain and strain (or pain in the neck) but received treatment only on seven days. She was given physiotherapy and painkillers for the other 35 days, something that could have been done as outpatient treatment. The bill was $84,000.

The combination of Medishield Life premiums increase, healthcare cost inflation, frequency of healthcare and the raise of questionable claims made the previous premiums charged unsustainable. This led to an inevitable increase in medical insurance inflation and also tightening of the claim procedures in the last 5 years.

 

Cost of Hidden Cost of Retirement

Medical insurance is one cost that people don’t usually take into account during retirement. We generally assume we will be well (why will we not) and plan for our living expenses with occasional holiday or two. However, we have to bring this to you to share with you the cost of medical insurance at your age of retirement.

The hidden cost of retirement healthcare great eastern shield

The hidden cost of retirement healthcare great eastern shield

The hidden cost of retirement healthcare great eastern totalcare

The hidden cost of retirement healthcare great eastern totalcare

Taking Great Eastern medical policy as an example (Disclaimer: We are not advocating any insurance policies from any company. We are using Great Eastern as an example for premium calculation. In my experience, the premiums for the other companies should be around the same).

At age of 65, we will need to annual cash premium of $2,226 ($967+$1259) for a private hospital coverage (with 5% co-payment). This comes out to be around $185/month.

In 5 years time, at the age of 70, we will need to pay an annual cash premium of $3,234 ($1695+$1539) which comes out to be around $269/month.

If this don’t scare you, at age of 75, we will need to pay an annual cash premium of $4,685 ($2650+$2035) which comes out to be around $390/month.

In Singapore, our life expantacy is around 85, I cannot imagine how one can afford those premiums when that time happens. All this is assuming that there is no future medical inflation which does not inflate the current premiums now.

PS: If you thinking that you can self-insure and not have any insurance, I hope that I have to burst your bubble.

 

Final Thoughts

The hard truth is that healthcare cost is going to continue to increase due to the factors explained above. The first thing I get my client to plan for is their paycheck. Remember that during retirement, there is a paycheck and a playcheck. The paycheck consist of items such as healthcare cost, phone bills, utilities, basic food and beverages and so on. Usually, we allocate money from “safer” asset class  to take care of those cost because it will have to be paid at whichever market conditions.

The playcheck is the one we are more familiar with. It consist of items such as exotic holidays, a roadtrip, etc.

Whichever the paycheck or playcheck, it is part of our retirement journey.

Thank you Life Finance for your contributions. If you like this article, do comment before and leave a message for me or Life Finance.

 

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