Hands up if you miss being a student. Any Singaporean worth their salt will tell you that one of the things we all miss most about student life is the school holidays — summer blockbusters, chalet outings, no classes and all. For working adults though, school holidays are but a fond memory. Instead, we work year in, year out while longing for a month-long break without having to deplete our annual leave.
A lot has certainly changed, as we grew older and our priorities shift. Here are three goals from our good old days as young and carefree students, and how they've evolved since adulthood:
1) THEN: Doing your homework during the holidays
NOW: Doing your homework for a holiday
Remember scrambling to clear your homework just before the holiday ends? Easy peasy, compared to the mad rush we go through now before a vacation. Doing research, comparing flights, booking accommodations, clearing work and doing a handover before we go on leave — the thought alone would leave anyone breathless and stressed. No wonder we all need a break! But proper holiday planning is essential in getting the most value for your money and saves you unnecessary spending. So make sure you take the time to do it well — it's a good habit that will pay off.
2) THEN: Saving for a video game
NOW: Saving for the future
Back then, we received allowance from our parents and saved it to hang out with friends or buy that coveted video game. Now, we work hard to earn our own money and find ways to invest and grow it. Prices have also risen as we grew up — remember the days when you could enjoy a bowl of fishball noodles in the school canteen for $0.50? That's why it's more important than ever to cultivate the practice of saving regularly and spending wisely now.
Doing this with your CPF account is one option you can consider to build up savings for your future. With the attractive interest rates, your CPF contributions will grow and can help finance your needs in healthcare, housing and retirement. Find out more about CPF interest rates here. If you are thinking of saving more with your CPF, you can make a Voluntary Contribution (VC) to all 3 of your CPF accounts (Ordinary, Medisave and Special Accounts) or your Medisave Account (MA). To find out more about VC, read here, or if you are self-employed, read more about it here.
3) THEN: Getting out of the house
NOW: Getting your own home
As students, we couldn't wait to get out of the house for some holiday fun — meeting our good friends, catching a movie or a quick game at the basketball court. Now, we gladly jump on every chance we can get to sleep in and relax at home. But it's not just any home we want to stay in. Now that we're older, we all look forward to owning our very own place.
This isn't as difficult as you think, not when you can apply for relevant CPF Housing Grants of up to $80,000 for BTO flats and up to $110,000 for resale flats as first-timer applicants. Plus, it's easier to manage the downpayment with the Staggered Downpayment Scheme, where you can pay in two instalments — one when you sign the Lease Agreement, the other when you collect your key. This is an option worth considering for first-timer couples and flat owners right-sizing to 2 or 3-room flats in non-mature estates.
Ready to apply for a home loan? Take a moment to consider your Total Debt Servicing Ratio (TDSR) and Mortgage Servicing Ratio (MSR) first. Here's an overview to help you understand:
We all miss the sweet days of freedom and youth, when the most stressful thing in our lives was scoring that elusive A1. But while adulthood presents a brand new set of tougher challenges, it also comes with its own freedoms and perks. We now have the financial power to do things we like and go to places we want. And with some proper financial planning, we also get to be the master of our very own home — and there's no other feeling like it.