The financial picture of Millennials in Singapore today is very different from that of their parents.
Life expectancy is higher today than ever before. According to Channel News Asia, the life expectancy of Singaporeans is among the highest in the world at 81.4 and 85.7 for men and women in 2019, respectively.
In addition, Singaporeans will live even longer lives by 2040. A forecast by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) projected Singapore's average life expectancy at 85.4 years in 2040.
This fact, coupled with a higher cost of living, makes it important for young adults to make sound financial decisions, and Singaporeans know that these decisions will have a huge impact on their future.
From reaching FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early) to setting up a small fund for your own child, Singaporeans are more focused on their financial goals.
For example, 26-year-old David Geh wants to make sure he is fully scheduled for retirement by the age of 30.
His feelings are echoed by 23 year old Jasmine Goh, who said, “Like most people, my financial goal is to become financially independent and retire as early as possible, which gives me more time later in life, myself focus on my passions. "
How well versed are you in finance?
However, despite the growing understanding of the importance of financial literacy, few have the knowledge and skills to make good money decisions.
A 2017 survey of attitudes towards financial planning commissioned by MoneySense showed that only about one in five Singaporeans thinks they know about investing.
Some Singaporeans also have misconceptions about when to start financial planning.
A fifth think they have to start financial planning before they want to retire, and half of the young people in employment between the ages of 17 and 29 have not yet thought about financial planning because, in their opinion, it is still too early is.
Clearly, more in-depth knowledge is required to make informed financial decisions about investing and saving for the future.
In addition, Same Storm, Different Boat, a paper published as part of a series of research studies by DBS NAV Financial Health, highlighted that the 25- to 35-year-old age group is likely to be more inclined to invest due to their lower financial commitments. This makes financial education even more important for young people today.
Many would have taken with them basic financial knowledge about saving, investing and budgeting from their parents or their peers.
However, since the experiences of previous generations do not fully match our own, other ways must be found to stay relevant and informed.
Then where can young Singaporeans develop the financial literacy they need?
Meet the DBS Burrow
Image source: DBS
The Burrow is Singapore's first bank-run community that shares financial literacy concepts and tips. The community is run by a small team of community managers and is a safe place that encourages members to learn, share, and support one another.
From basics about investment vehicles like Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) and Unit Trusts (UTs) to everyday considerations of what to do with a sudden stroke of luck, members can expect a variety of thought-provoking conversations.
The Burrow is also a place where members can score initial points on product launches and campaigns, enter contests and giveaways, and even attend exclusive events with DBS experts and other key opinion leaders.
This enables members to grow on their own financial path – but to be empowered to set ambitious goals while living fulfilling lives.
For the past two years, the community has flourished through two Facebook groups – The Burrow and POSB Parents – with a total of about 30,000 members.
The Burrow was designed as a project group to provide DBS Multiplier account holders with useful tips and hacks that will enable them to unlock higher interest rates.
On the other hand, POSB Parents started as a platform to help Smart Buddy users (the world's first portable savings and payment system for children) solve user-related issues.
However, the community team saw the potential to improve the next phase of the community by creating it together with the members. During a two-year process, members shared feedback and their vision of an ideal communal space through face-to-face interviews and online surveys.
This fundamental collaboration resulted in the merger of the two groups, now known simply as The Burrow (members voted to keep the name). A treasure trove of financial literacy pursued by everyone from graduates to young parents.
Bigger, unconstrained conversations
Image source: DBS
Today, The Burrow continues to thrive as a place where members can improve their financial literacy game with content curated by experts at DBS.
Members are also regularly asked what they would like to see and learn so that the content can be cleverly tailored to their needs.
The Burrow's revamped, forum-like trip, housed on DBS Bank's website, allows members to chat with like-minded peers on everything from cryptocurrencies to investment platforms.
In fact, the community team encourages discussion on a variety of topics – even if they are not part of DBS's product or service division. This enables transparent discussions about money.
The community also provides a library of resources for users to learn about relevant financial topics in Singapore in the Lessons. Topics range from understanding the Central Provident Fund (CPF) to tips on promoting a money-saving mindset.
The best part? The Burrow members are always ready to share their two cents. This is important for young adults looking for real feedback.
26-year-old Shermane Wong can testify to this. Although she frequently scours financial literacy blogs and websites for information on investing and saving, she prefers to hear firsthand about the experiences of others at similar stages in life.
“My parents are not very educated financially, so they cannot lead me either. Although I would like to say that I have my finances under control, I fear that I am still missing information, ”she said.
This is where The Burrow comes in. The new community area offers categories for specific conversations so members can easily find a specific thread that suits their needs or interests.
Screenshot from The Burrow
The Ready for Retirement category provides tips on how to maximize the Central Provident Fund (CPF) or retire early.
"Improve the way I manage my money" is a popular conversation category with over 32 different community members sharing where they would park emergency funds.
Screenshot from The Burrow
Starting a family is a monumental new milestone that comes with a whole host of different challenges that one might not expect. For young parents, this means not only having good personal wealth in dealing with money, but also knowing how to set financial goals for the whole family.
Burrow's Children & Family Matters conversation category is the perfect place to start discussions like saving accounts for children.
“Even if I feel well equipped to meet my financial goals, you can never be fully equipped. There will always be people who have a better or smarter way of doing things and resources that I may not know about, ”said Jacky Yap, the soon-to-be mother.
"Our long-term financial goal is constant progress and we are always looking for ways to save money and invest in good financial products," he added.
On the flip side, Derrick Teo, 24, is interested in starting a small business after graduating from college, but feels that he needs more information about the financial aspect of his business.
"I've done a lot of research on the type of businesses I want to start, but on finance, I hope I can get advice from others who may have been in the same position as me," he said.
A community that continues to grow with you
Photo credit: Mimi Thian at Unsplash
While The Burrow offers two-way conversations, young adults can also subscribe to DBS For Young Adults on Telegram – a broadcast channel for those who prefer updates anywhere, anytime on the go.
Look forward to notifications of upcoming community exclusives. There will soon be Reddit-like “Ask Me Anything” sessions in The Burrow, where community members can get in close contact with topic experts from DBS and other interesting cooperation partners.
Members can also look forward to getting in contact with one another via community meetups and gaining their first experiences with exclusive community swags. With previous events featuring exclusive offers like a free community movie, workshops with fund houses, and even parent-child bonding sessions – there's certainly a lot to expect.
This article was written in collaboration with The Burrow at DBS.
Photo credit: Dr. Wealth