From The Straits Times    |
OCBC Women Investing Growing Savings_featured

Investing can seem like a daunting task, but as we learnt during our Her World Virtual Rally on personal finance, presented by OCBC Bank, the key is to start small and start now. Besides exploring the different ways women can invest, the Zoom webinar touched on how we can build our retirement savings, the money mistakes to avoid in our 20s and 30s, as well as tips on building smarter financial habits. 

The panel comprised of: 

Sharul Channa, 34, stand-up comedian. Sharul started exploring investment opportunities at the age of 25. As a freelancer and comedian, Sharul’s monthly income varies, which made saving money challenging. She’s still learning how to invest as she was never taught how to do it. 

Sabrina Ho, 36, is the founder and CEO of Half The Sky, a career platform for women. She started on her investment journey as soon as she got her first job, on the advice of her mother. The portfolio she subsequently built has allowed her to re-invest the funds into her current business. 

Tan Siew Lee, 48, head of wealth management Singapore at OCBC Bank. Siew Lee has over 15 years of experience in the finance industry, and uses her expertise to help customers plan for retirement and other life goals. 

We’ve often heard that it’s better to start your investments early because of the power of compounding, but do not be discouraged if you’re a little late compared to your peers.

“It’s never too late. It’s all about taking the first step… start now, and start small.”

Tan Siew Lee, head of wealth management Singapore at OCBC Bank

For those of us who aren’t as financially literate, making sound investments may seem a little out of reach. But as panellist Sharul pointed out, we could always approach an expert or a qualified professional for help – which, according to the OCBC 2020 Financial Wellness Index, a shocking 71 per cent of women don’t do when making investment decisions. 

“I have no confidence [when it comes to investing]. I’m learning, which is why this session is so good for me because I’m listening to all your experiences and learning from an expert. And I’m thinking, I need to call up OCBC and ask for some financial planning and see what I can do next with the money that I have,” she says. 

The OCBC 2020 Financial Wellness Index also found that 68 per cent of women who are knowledgeable and confident about their investments, and those who do their own research and had sought the help of financial advisors, actually met or exceeded their investment targets. They also fared slightly better than men on the average rate of return on investment. 

Of course, you might make mistakes with your investment decisions, which might cost you some money. This was the case for Sabrina, who took a hit during the Asian financial crisis – but she learnt from her mistake and started educating herself more on the subject. It was a decision that she never regretted. 

“Thank goodness I made that decision years ago to invest, because now I can re-invest into my business and make my money work for me,” she shares. 

Get started on financial planning


Financial planning isn’t that complicated. With the OCBC Mobile Banking app, you can review your finances even while on-the-go and get all the information you need to start saving for your retirement. 

The app consolidates all your financial information on OCBC’s Your Financial OneView (enabled by SGFinDex), which allows you to see everything at once – including your CPF, IRAS, and HDB information. You’ll also get personalised insights on how to save and manage your finances better. 

And although retirement might be quite some time away, it’s never too early to start planning. The app also has an OCBC Life Goals feature, which helps you to calculate how much you need for retirement, and more importantly, how to make that happen. As mentioned by Siew Lee during the panel, you don’t necessarily need to have a large sum of money to invest. You can start small first, with the OCBC Blue Chip Investment Plan, which allows you to invest in Exchange Traded Funds or unit trusts from just $100 a month. And of course, you can make these investments within the app itself – talk about convenience! 

Find out more about the OCBC Mobile Banking app here.

Brought to you by OCBC Bank