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Financial literacy is important – do Singaporeans know enough about it?

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The Burrow

The financial picture millennials in Singapore face today is vastly different from that of their parents.

Life expectancies today are higher 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 respectively in 2019.

Furthermore, by 2040, Singaporeans will be living even longer lives. A forecast by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) projected Singapore’s average life expectancy to be 85.4 years in the year 2040.

This fact, coupled with a higher cost of living, renders it important for young adults to make sound financial decisions, and Singaporeans are aware that these decisions will greatly affect their future.  

From achieving FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early) to setting up a small fund for one’s child, Singaporeans are more attuned to their financial goals. 

For example, 26-year-old David Geh is looking to ensure that he has fully planned for retirement by the time he hits 30 years old. 

His sentiments are echoed by 23-year-old Jasmine Goh, who said: “like most people, my financial goal is to be able to hit financial independence and retire as early as possible, which gives me more time later in life to focus on my passions.” 

How financially literate are you? 

However, despite the heightened understanding around the importance of financial literacy, few possess the knowledge and skills to make good money choices.

A Financial Planning Attitudes Survey commissioned by MoneySense in 2017 showed that only about one in five Singaporeans feel that they are knowledgeable about investing.

Some Singaporeans also have misconceptions about when to start financial planning.

One-fifth feel that they would only need to start financial planning when they are looking to retire, and half of young working adults aged between 17 and 29 have not started thinking about financial planning because they think it is still too early to do so.

To make educated financial decisions about investing money and saving for the future, more in-depth knowledge is clearly required.

Furthermore, Same Storm, Different Boat, a paper published under a series of research studies by DBS NAV Financial Health, highlighted that those in the 25 to 35 age group have a higher tendency to invest likely because of their lower financial commitments. This makes financial literacy even more important for youths today. 

Many would have picked up basic financial knowledge about savings, investing and budgeting from their parents or peers. 

However, since the experiences of the previous generations do not apply to our own completely, there is a need to seek out other avenues to stay relevant and informed. 

Where then, can young Singaporeans develop the financial literacy they need?

Meet The Burrow by DBS

DBS the Burrow
Image Credit: DBS

The Burrow is Singapore’s first bank-led community that shares financial literacy concepts and tips. Run by a small team of community managers, the community is a safe place that encourages members to learn, share and support one another.

From fundamentals around investing tools like Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) and Unit Trusts (UTs) to everyday musings around what one would do with a sudden windfall – members can expect different thought-provoking conversations.

The Burrow is also a place where members can score first dibs on product launches and campaigns, take part in contests and giveaways, and even attend exclusive events with DBS experts and other key opinion leaders.

This allows members to grow in their own financial journeys – but be empowered to set aspirational goals while leading fulfilling lives.

For the past two years, the community has thrived via two Facebook groups – The Burrow and POSB Parents – with a combined membership of approximately 30,000.

The Burrow was conceived as a project group to provide useful tips and hacks to DBS Multiplier account holders, allowing them to unlock higher interest rates. 

On the other hand, POSB Parents started as a platform to help Smart Buddy (the world’s first in-school savings and payments wearable for children) users solve user-related queries.

Yet, the community team saw potential to elevate the next phase of community by co-creating it together with the members. Over a two-year process, members shared feedback and their vision of an ideal community space via face-to-face immersions and online surveys. 

This ground-up collaboration saw the merger of both groups, now simply known as The Burrow (members voted to keep the name). A treasure trove of financial knowledge powered by everyone from fresh graduates to young parents. 

Bigger, no-holds-barred, conversations

The Burrow DBS
Image Credit: DBS

Today, The Burrow continues to prosper as a place for members to level up their financial literacy game with content put together by experts at DBS. 

Members are also regularly engaged to find out what they would like to see and learn, so that content can be deftly adapted to suit their needs.

The Burrow’s revamped, forum-like journey, housed within DBS Bank’s website, allows members to chat about anything with like-minded peers, from cryptocurrency to investing platforms.

In fact, the community team encourages discussions across a variety of topics – even if they’re not with DBS’ realm of products or services. This allows for transparent conversations around money.

The community also provides a library of resources for users to gain knowledge on pertinent financial topics in Singapore under Learning Units. Topics range from understanding the Central Provident Fund (CPF), to tips on cultivating a money saving mindset. 

The best part? The Burrow members are always ready to share their two cents. This is important for young adults on the lookout for real feedback.

26-year-old Shermane Wong can testify to this. Despite frequently scouring financial literacy blogs and sites for information on investing and saving, she prefers to hear firsthand from the experiences of others in similar life stages. 

“My parents are not very financially literate so they cannot guide me too. While I would love to say I am in control of my finances, I’m afraid that I’m still lacking information,” she said.

Here’s where The Burrow comes into play. The new community space features categories for dedicated conversations, so members can easily find a specific thread that caters to their needs or interests.

The Burrow DBS
Screenshot from The Burrow

Under the “Ready for Retirement” category, one can pick up tips on maximising one’s Central Provident Fund (CPF) or how to retire early.

“Improve How I Manage My Money” is a popular conversation category, with over 32 different community members sharing where they would park emergency funds. 

The Burrow DBS
Screenshot from The Burrow

Starting a family is a monumental new milestone that comes with a whole set of different challenges one might not expect. For young parents, this means not just having good personal money management skills – but knowing how to set financial goals for the whole family. 

The Burrow’s “Kids & Family Matters” conversation category is the perfect place to get started, featuring discussions like saving accounts for children.

“Even though I feel adequately equipped to achieve my financial goals, one can never be fully equipped. There will always be people out there with a better or smarter way of doing things, and resources out there that I may not know of,” said soon-to-be parent Jacky Yap.

“Our long-term financial goal is a constant work in progress and we are always looking for ways to save money and invest in good financial products,” he added.

On the other hand, 24-year-old Derrick Teo is interested in starting a small business after he graduates from university, but feels that he requires more information on the financial aspect of his venture.

“I have done a lot of research on the type of business I would like to set up, but in terms of the financials, I am hoping that I can get advice from others who might have been in the same position as me,” he said.  

A community that continues to grow with you

Image Credit: Mimi Thian on Unsplash

While The Burrow features two-way conversations, young adults can also subscribe to the DBS For Young Adults on Telegram – a broadcast channel catered to those who favour on-the-go updates anytime, anywhere. 

In fact, look forward to notifications on upcoming community exclusives. Coming soon are Reddit-style ‘Ask Me Anything’ sessions in The Burrow, where community members can get up-close with topic experts in DBS and other interesting collaborative partners.

Members can also look forward to connecting with one another via community meetups, and get first dibs on exclusive community swag. With previous events featuring exclusives like a free community movie, workshops with fund houses, and even parent-child bonding sessions – there’s certainly a lot to look forward to.

This article was written in collaboration with The Burrow by DBS. 

Featured Image Credit: Dr Wealth

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Vulcan Post aims to be the knowledge hub of Singapore and Malaysia.

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(UEN 201431998C.)

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