What To Do With Your Children's Hong Bao Money

What To Do With Your Children’s Hong Bao Money?

Happy Lunar New Year! Wishing everyone here good health and may your wealth multiply in the years to come. Hopefully, the last 4 days have been one where you have been giving/receiving or your child has been receiving hongbao. One common question that I go from parents with regards to financial planning is what they should do with the money. Most of them are keeping it for their children as emergency funds. This is a good initiative. That being said, is this an opportunity to share money lessons with your children?

What To Do With Your Children's Hong Bao Money

What To Do With Your Children’s Hong Bao Money (Source)


Your intention sets the tone

What do you want your child to learn from receiving the hongbao? Is it gratitude? Is it charity? Is it spending? Is it emergency funds? Your intention sets your child’s tone. By default, people will stick to the easiest thing of all: Not doing anything. This is precisely why most parents are keeping their children’s money as emergency funds. (PS: I’m not saying that emergency funds is a bad thing. It is also important.)

However, as the child do not have much ownership of the funds, they do not really learn from that concept. To them, it is their parents are keeping their money for them.

So what can you do this year to inspire your children to take charge of their money. This may or may not be applicable and felt by you depending on your relationship with money. Here are some suggestions.


Happiness of Spending Money

Wait a minute. A finance blog asking me to spend money? Yes. It came to my attention that “saving money” or “spending money” has became such a pain for people. As our education on money commonly involves parents screaming at us to save money (or that they don’t have money), it has become very hard for some people to spend mentality. Each time you spend, you will feel a pinch when you see your bank balance drop. That’s commonly known as the poverty or scarcity mindset. Eventually, you might grow up with enough money in your bank but feeling miserable that you don’t have enough.

What To Do With Your Children's Hong Bao Money Spend It

What To Do With Your Children’s Hong Bao Money Spend It

As parents, one of the best thing you can do for them is let them buy something that they have already wanted for a long time. Take 20%, $30 or whatever amount (be reasonable) in their hongbao money and bring them to the shopping center. Let them buy whatever they want. Let them feel the happiness of what money can buy. You will be surprised that some children will buy books, stationaries and of course toys. You can take this chance to introduce to them the 4 Quadrants Shopping Guide.

Let them take charge of their finances, the earlier they do, the more responsible they will become.


Delayed Gratification

To balance it up with spending, delayed gratification is next. A simple game you can play with your children is called The Marshmallow Test. I won’t explain too much here. Wait this hilarious video on how children wrestle with waiting to eat a marshmallow in hopes of a bigger prize (more marshmallows).

In finance, the timeline would be longer than this test. The intention is to get the children to save their hongbao money for a longer period of time so that they can get back more at a certain age. This could be done by a simple endowment plan or just Singapore Government Bonds that matures after a set period. When they receive the money after xx years, you can calculate with them (do it with them) how much they have put in and compare it to how much they have received. This can be done with your financial advisor.


Investing Lessons

This opens up many lessons for young children. You can share with them about volatility, about index (example if you invests in a Country ETF), about companies (example: when apple makes money, you “make” money too), about value or about growth.

One of the easiest way is to invest in companies that they already know. For illustration, my example will be SBS Transits.

Disclaimer: Not a buy/sell recommendation here.

For children, they probably will be familiar with certain products such as the IPhone, Bus services, Netflix etc. When you invest their money (they can only open a brokerage account when they are 18) for them, they get to see if their money grows in terms of capital appreciation or dividends. You can consider investing for them once a year as a dollar cost averaging approach for them to build up their portfolio.

For those of you would like to have something simpler, consider investing into country ETF like the STI Index, China ETF or S&P500. When the particular country does well, they are able to see the value of their investment grow as well. Similarly, do consider a dollar cost averaging approach for your children and invite them to ask questions. This is a great opportunity to for your children to learn about investing either with yourself or your trusted financial advisor.

What To Do With Your Children's Hong Bao Money Investing

What To Do With Your Children’s Hong Bao Money Investing (Source)

Final thoughts by Wealthdojo

I cannot imagine how much of a head start your children will have if they start learn these money lessons as some adults take decades to learn these. Let me know what you guys think in the comments below.

We wish you a Happy Lunar New Year!



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.

Expensive Looking Bed

How To Save On Big Ticket Purchases

It is ironic for a finance blog to write about spending money when it is supposed to preach about saving and growing money. Recently, I had a friend who just purchased a bed for SGD$7000. This IS a lot of money for a bed. Personally, I think it is a good purchase because we will spend a good 30% of our lives on a bed. I believe it is a great investment.

Expensive Looking Bed

Expensive Looking Bed: Obviously not this bed.

For those who wishes to read about how I spend my money, you can read one of my best article: The Ultimate 4 Quadrants Shopping Guide Especially If You Are 28 and Older.

In my research, I present to you one way to save money on big ticket purchases.

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. All information accurate on 7 Jan 2021. If you feel the information has been helpful, I have referral bonus for Citibank.


Big Ticket Purchases

To clarify what big ticket purchases in this context, these are items that are often necessary but expensive. We are looking at a couple of categories such as the following.

Furniture: Bed, sofa, chairs, tables etc

Home appliances: Oven, fridge, standing lights, TV, fans, air-con etc

Work/Electronic appliances: Laptop, headset, smartphone etc

Travel: Air ticket

These items typically ranges from hundreds of dollars to thousand of dollars. They are usually pre-planned (why would you buy a sofa suddenly?). The most common would be laptop and smartphone. After doing a survey, I realised there is a trend to change them every (approx) 3 years. Because of the predictability and the large amount, we can make use of one tool in the market to help us.

Cashback on credit cards. 

Those who have been following me for a while know that (1) I’m a cashback person and not a miles person, (2) I don’t really like the concept of credit cards in my journey of wealth management. However, if the credit cards can be used for one off purchases such as the above. I think it is well worth it. I hope these 3 credit cards can help you. Once again, this is not a sponsored post.


#1: Citi Cash Back+

I will be straightforward. The one thing that attracted me to this card is the generous cashback.

  1. 1.6% Cashback for on all your spend
  2. No minimum spend required & no cap on cash back earned
  3. Get 4.5% cash back on up to S$5,000 spend (up to S$225 cash back) in the first 3 months.

This means that if I have a predictable spending of at least $5000 coming up. I get a 4.5% cashback on this card.

If you think this is good for you, I would appreciate if you can use my referral link: My Referral Link.

Please check out the T&C on the website for more details.

Citibank Cashback Plus

Citibank Cashback Plus


#2: Amex True Cashback

Amex is one company whose customer service seems to be on the highest level. Although I have never used their services, I do hear raving reviews from them.

  1. 1.5% Cashback on all purchases
  2. No minimum spend required & no cap on cash back earned
  3. 3% Cashback on up to S$5,000 spend in the first 6 months.

I rank this number #2 because of the lower cashback amount and also AMEX may not be accepted in some places in Singapore.

Please check out the T&C on the website for more details.

American Express True Cashback Card

American Express True Cashback Card


#3: HSBC Advance

HSBC comes in number 3 due to the conditions needed for the cashback.

  1. Up to 3.5% cashback
  2. Limited privileges with Entertainer.
HSBC Cashback

HSBC Cashback

HSBC Advance Credit Card

HSBC Advance Credit Card

Please check out the T&C on the website for more details.


Final Thoughts By Wealthdojo

A credit card is like a double edged sword. Use it well, it will serve you well. Use it badly, it will come one round and hurt you. We wish you the best of luck in 2021. I appreciate your support and thank you if you were to sign up the Citibank card because of this website (there are no obligations). This is my referral link again: My Referral Link.

If you are thinking whether credit cards will be disrupted, you can read my article on bitcoin and whether it is too late to invest in it. .

Till next time.


For those of you who want to kick start your Wealth Management journey in 2021, why not consider joining my telegram channel?

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.

$30000 per month crazy rich asians

Is $30,000 Salary a Month Enough?

QNS: Is $30,000 Salary a month enough?

When I ask this question to my clients, the first response I get is: HOW I FIND SUCH A JOB??

Last Sunday, Straits Times published an article titled $30,000 salaries, yet in serious debt (it is an premium article). This started almost an outrage in the Wealth Management and Personal Finance community in Singapore. Most of the comments were related to where to find such a job and probably missed the point of personal finance. Let’s explore the reasons when $30,000 salary a month is not enough?

$30000 per month crazy rich asians

$30000 per month: Crazy Rich Asians: May not with $30,000

Reason #1: You spend more than $30,000 a month

Typically, as we grow in affluence, our purchasing power increase and we tend to spend more to.

Meet John. John is a hardworking young professional. His first salary was $3000/month and he had to live a simple lifestyle. Along the years, John got promoted for his outstanding working performance and ability to show results. His salary gradually increase to $15,000/month. John is now working harder at work and often end work late. He will take a cab home (he used to take the public transport) and order a good meal from a nearby restaurant (he used to cook) to reward himself for the hard work. When he sees something that likes during shopping, he will buy it immediately (he used to ponder if the item is essential)  because he feels that he can afford it and he don’t have much time to shop anyway. He buys his friends meals (he used to go dutch) because he feels he is doing well.

John wakes up one day and was shocked to find out that his bank account balance haven’t been increasing after his promotion and has decreased.

If you spend more than you earn, then you will be in deficit.


$30000 per month salary spending more than you make

$30000 per month salary: spending more than you make


Reason #2: You acquire more debts that you can handle.

Previously, I wrote about a Quick Ratio that we can use to evaluate whether the company is financially healthy.

“A company CANNOT go bankrupt if it doesn’t have debts” ~Chengkok

I can’t remember who said this before so I’m just going to quote myself until someone prove me wrong. (Haha). During the COVID19 season, we are seeing record number of companies going bankrupt and closing down. Examples are like JC Penny, Hertz and AMC just to name a few. If you look at their financial records, it would be just a matter of them that they will go under.

Similarly, for personal finance, if you take on too much debts than you can handle, your cashflow will be severely impacted.


Reason #2.1: Leverage

Reason 2.1 is a compounder for reason 2.

When I was 19 years old, I was scared stiff of the stock market. That was because I had a friend who lost over USD$50,000 in one night in his CFD trade. $50,000 is a huge sum to a 19 year old kid and it scared me silly.

Leverage works like this. You ONLY require a SMALL sum to get a BIGGER exposure. Most people who have limited capital are attracted to this because of the high returns. However, if the stock price goes south, you have to pay for the exposure too. A capital of $10,000 can easily give you an exposure of $200,000. However, if the stock price plunge, you could lose a significant portion of the $200,000 that you DO NOT EVEN HAVE and hence acquire the debts that you don’t want.

“Go big or go home. Typically in investing, people go home” ~Chengkok

$30000 per month salary leverage

$30000 per month salary: Leverage


Reason #3: Bad Habits

In The Straits Times article, bad habits or poor financial planning will cause your financial downfall no matter how much you earn. Data from the Monetary Authority of Singapore shows that

  • 34 home owners have asked to stop payment for their loan until December
  • 2100 people have problem paying education and renovation loans
  • 6200 have asked to convert high credit card debt into term loan on lower interest rates

The list goes on. Gambling is also one habit that might cause financial woes. We are often reminded by the National Council on Problem Gambling on not to gamble especially during the Chinese New Year.



Some questions that we can ask ourselves in our financial journey.

Income plays just one part in your Wealth Management journey. It is your habits, your mindset and the people that you hang around with that helps you reach the level of financial freedom you want.

You can also find jobs overseas using a portal such as jobble. Overseas market might require the skillset that you have.


No one will care about your money as much as you do.

In Wealth Management, it is important to Pay yourself first. Beware of scams. Before you invest in any company or popular investment opportunity, be sure to do your own due diligence. If you wish to learn more about investment, I hope to nurture genuine relationships with all of my readers.

Check out my most popular blog post in 2020 so far: 5 mistakes people make using their CPF.

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