Sharon Au explains why it’s okay to splurge with your first paycheck
“It’s a milestone and you’ve worked so hard. You deserve it.”
by Ching Shi Jie /
November 26, 2021
What do you do with your first paycheck? For some, a large chunk of it goes towards paying off student loans. Other people might put the cash into a piggy bank in case of a rainy day.
So when we caught up with host Sharon Au on Nov 22 for her new meWATCH series Money Money Home, we had to ask: What should young people do with their first salary? The 46-year-old replied: “Just go ahead and splurge with your first paycheck. It’s a milestone and you’ve worked so hard. You deserve it.”
In Money Money Home, Sharon and actor-host Darren Lim offer viewers tips on money management and investment in a light-hearted manner — through skits, songs, and banter.
Recalling how she “spent it all” and more on a $98 pair of jeans with her first paycheck, Sharon said: “I remember I was doing an internship at Singapore Press Holdings. I got $95 on that day. That means I put in another $3 of my own [money]. But it gave me a huge sense of achievement, and I wore that pair of jeans every day.”
While splurging on your first paycheck might seem reckless, Sharon — now working as an investment director at a private equity firm in Paris — also emphasised the importance of spending within your means.
Reflecting on the financial mistakes in her “young starlet days” in the television business, Sharon said: “I was so overwhelmed with the joy of being famous and earning money, so I bought a lot of material goods.”
These included beauty products, clothes, shoes and jewellery.
“I mean, it’s necessary because as a celebrity, you need to look very good. But I wished I hadn’t spent so much of my salary on beautifying myself. I wished I had at least saved more, or at least invested.”
Darren Lim raked up $30,000 debt after ‘worst investment ever’
Speaking of his “worst investment ever”, Darren revealed that buying a 1968 Morris Minor in his early twenties was the “biggest mistake”.
The 49-year-old said: “I was so crazy over the antique car. I actually tore down everything and spent a lot of money to refurbish the whole car. I even flew in parts from the UK to Singapore and that got me into deep s***.”
Admitting that he raked up debts amounting to around $30,000, Darren added that his then-girlfriend and now-wife Evelyn Tan made him realise the value of money so that they can have a future together.
The couple created a joint bank account and matched their monthly savings dollar-by-dollar, which freed Darren from his debts.
The motorcycle lover said: “And not just that, it actually helped me build our future nest. Not making huge amounts of money, but at least we know how to manage our wealth properly.”
Self-love is best love
When planning your monthly budget, it is important to account for your expenses on food, transportation and utility bills.
But what about allocating a portion of your income towards upgrading yourself? After all, self-love is the best kind of love.
“People might feel it’s okay, that can come another day. But I feel that it’s one of the most important things that should be planned for,” Darren said
Agreeing that self-improvement should be classed as a ‘need’ rather than a ‘want’, Sharon revealed that she’s been investing in yoga and pilates classes, as well as on music lessons and musical instruments.
For Darren, the father-of-four has been into watercolour painting, playing the cello and pottery.
He said: “Whenever I have time, I think it’s very important to invest in myself. It might not be something that’s relevant to my work, but it makes me feel good.
“And when I feel good and rejuvenated, I know I’ll be ready for tomorrow.”
Money Money Home premiered Nov 18 and new episodes are released every Thursday; catch it for free on meWATCH.