It is now Thursday, more then 4 days of the weeks has passed.
As I was looking through my own train of thoughts. I was doing a belated mid year review of what I had accomplished so far. And I begun to notice the difference in decisions I have made 2 years ago and now. And also how decisions a year ago had impacted on me a year later.
One of the few things decided to do was to relook at my finances ever since I left my first job and return back to working on casual basis for a good 3 years. That taught me many lessons in life. While living on the thin line of income – getting a correct shoe string budget to go by each month was indeed a challenge. And to further add on the stressor, any narrow deficit in excess spending can spell a nightmare and a trip to the ATM for cash advance – those were the days when one holds credit cards and before the new credit policy came into effect from mid of last year.
Looking back, it was quite a headache and a lot of discipline to keep the budget in proper order. I still recall some days I had to skip meals or just rely on a small amount of cash, find food that is reasonable cheap to eat to fill my stomach. Though I was relatively quiet about such experience, I felt I had chosen the path I took to experience life on the line.
Though it was not entirely a poverty line, but it was more so to understand how survival will be like. Also, I recalled that initially it felt like I had the freedom when I first got on with the part time job where the money was more than a fixed income job. Moreover, the money is not fixed and it varies upon the days worked. So when the number of work days got lesser, the income too reduced, and that too narrow downs the cashflow.
Though, one year on, I landed on the current job I am having for the past 4 years. It was a blessing in disguise perhaps. I worked 2 years on part time contract basis – where the experience of working with limited income budget was the most challenging time of my life and coming to realise the importance of having emergency funds – it is similar to how travel insurance work. But in this sense, it is really own funds put aside each month as emergency funds. That was how, I took time to learn about debt management, money management and investing.
The journey proved to be a interesting one – though I am still learning as I am writing this article. That everyday is a gift and lesson to be learn. From learning how to loose money, make wrong decisions to learning how to earn more money and avoiding pit falls in life.
The few things I feel accomplished so far was learning how to go lean on spending on bills, daily expenses and of course learning to use credit wisely. As I embarked on a quest to reduce my credit line and credit cards in 2015. I have manage to shrink my credit limits, but with plans to cap it at 50% of total annual income. I guess that will always ensure that the debt to service ratio goes into quite low risk. Meanwhile, saving up towards the first milestones and more to come.
Another thing I found interesting was how banks have been packing their priority banking schemes into various names. One example is HSBC Advance. It seems a pretty interesting bank account and status to obtain. As some would label it an entry level priority banking status. But to me I felt it is more about the functionality and what it offers more as a product than a name. For some of the bank priority banking are either too high up or not too bad but offers not much useful functions. For this the FX watch is useful along with reduced fees for overseas transactions. This will be useful if one is into Forex or looking for cheaper fund transfer or TT rates.
The minimum sum of S$30,000 is achievable and perhaps can be a saving goals towards some emergency funds. Give that they have the flexibility of a 24 months grace period to fund in $30,000 with either salary crediting or month recurring transfers of minimum $2,500.
Another feat I felt grateful more is to convert my existing insurance premiums into annual payment – which gives some cost savings. These cost savings can to put into investments for higher returns.
Of all these that I mentioned, I guess 2016 has been a good beginning or interim with a positive outcome to my retirement planning. As I am soon to embark on the next phase of life planning for retirement. More on that in the next articles as I search for some I ideas and formulas to retirement planning.
(I’m not doing any advertising for the bank, but just wanted to share my personal view in general related to banking products and experience.)
*This entry has been inspired by the Daily Post Photo Challenge – Narrow