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3 Non-Money-Related Skills That Can Have an Impact on Your Finances

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Joanne Poh

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When you were a kid, improving your financial situation usually meant ensuring your piggy bank had a lock, the plastic key to which you kept securely hidden from your nosy siblings. If only it were that easy today.

Other than opening a high interest savings account, finding good ways to invest all your money and getting properly insured, there are many other things you do in real life that may have nothing to do with money, but that can nonetheless impact your finances. Here are three things that can change your fortunes without your even realising it.

 

Learning to enjoy socialising

When you were a uniform-wearing student, your parents might have perpetually screamed at you to stop fooling around with your friends and hit the books like the good mugger they wished you were.

So long as your youthful indiscretions didn’t actually lead to your completely flunking out at school, those social skills you honed on the playground are actually very useful to you as a grown up.

No matter how diligent a worker you are, if you are unable to interact with people without breaking out into a rash or are described by others as “creepy”, it’s going to be harder to succeed professionally. On the flipside, we all know those glib-tongued people who manage to carve out lucrative careers thanks to their connections alone.

Tip: If your social circle is still largely limited to your secondary school friends, commit to taking up some activities that will enable you to consistently meet new people. Whether you choose to join a class or simply grab a friend and party with a bunch of strangers is up to your personal tastes. The important thing is to avoid getting stuck in a social rut.

 

Becoming great at dealing with stress

If you want to win not only at work, but at life, you absolutely have to find a way to deal with stress effectively and constructively. That means not becoming one of those guys who go to jail for stabbing their girlfriends to death after a quarrel.

People who aren’t able to work under stress without totally crumbling or completely destroying their personal lives won’t thrive well in the more stressful and often more lucrative vocations in Singapore.

Conversely, if you’re able to zen out in any situation, you can do practically anything and still be successful. At the heart of good decision-making is the ability to make choices objectively, without being blinded by emotion.

Whether you’re a doctor, a teacher or a rock star, you’ll do much better at work if you can keep a cool head no matter what your boss or your clients throw your way.

Tip: Unfortunately, kids in Singapore are rarely taught how to handle stress—they’re merely ordered to suck it up and endure. Channel some time into learning how to release negative emotions and calm yourself down, whether through meditation,  energy modalities like qigong and yoga, or some other relaxation technique. Cutting down on refined sugar and meat also helps you to be more emotionally balanced.

 

Becoming an avid reader

When you hear the word “bookworm”, you think of a bespectacled mousy person buried under dusty piles of books in a dimly lit library that hasn’t seen another human being in 15 years.

While not all readers are able to (or indeed, want to) parlay their passion for the written word into making more money, being the sort of person who “hates reading” ensures that you miss out on all sorts of opportunities to improve yourself and your earning potential.

You don’t have to be reading encyclopaedias or academic journals to benefit from being a proficient reader. In order to become someone who’s got enough general knowledge to not appear ignorant, and more importantly someone who’s able to learn fast and quickly become an expert on a particular topic, not only is reading widely (and not just reading the company manuals your boss throws at you) necessary, you’ve got to make it a part of your life.

Tip: If you don’t really enjoy reading, start cultivating the habit by finding material that’s easy enough for you to enjoy without too many question marks. Don’t be demoralised if this means you have to resort to young adult literature. Once you get into the habit of concentrating on written material, you can start attempting more advanced writing and then moving on to informational literature.

What other non-money related skills can help to improve your finances? Tell us in the comments!

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Joanne Poh

In my previous life, I was a property lawyer who spent most of my time struggling to get out of bed or stuck in peak hour traffic. These days, as a freelance commercial writer, I work in bed, on the beach, in parks and at cafes, all while being really frugal. I like helping other people save money so they can stop living lives they don't like.