Between the rising cost of living, shiny expensive things being everywhere and the sinking feeling that we’re going to be slaves to the wage forever, a few good resolutions can go a long way towards making life better, especially when you’re a 20- or 30-something year old who’s awed at the high prices of Singapore property and the scarily escalating cost of living
Here are three New Year’s resolutions that aren’t impossible to keep and can improve the life of virtually every Gen Y-er.
1. Draw up a retirement plan
As a young person, you have a much bigger shot at happily retiring than someone who’s much older and hasn’t started making plans yet. For many older Singaporeans such as the 31% over age 55 who haven’t started saving for retirement, it might already be too late. So don’t squander your chance.
Just resolving to “start saving for retirement” is too vague and there’s a 90% chance such a resolution will result in nothing. And if you’ve decided to save x% of your salary every month, just one expensive month can wreck your entire plan and cause your New Year’s resolution to go the way of the dogs.
Instead, simply resolve to draw up a retirement plan this year. This means you’ll be doing research on how much you’ll need to retire in future, bearing in mind your family situation, accommodation and income. Don’t forget to adjust for inflation and take into account compounding interest. Then work out how much you’ll need to save each year to achieve your goals.
Once you have all the cold, hard figures in your face, you’ll be a lot more motivated to start working towards your retirement goals, especially when you realise how much less you’ll have to save the earlier you start thanks to compounding interest. You won’t even need a new year’s resolution to spur you to action.
2. Do one thing outside of your job scope
Think about how your career’s going right now and chances are you’ll sheepishly admit that you haven’t exactly been a model employee. That’s not surprising, since 3 out of 4 Singaporeans admit to being less than engaged at work, going through the motions just to get through the work day.
That’s well and good if you don’t mind doing this for the next 30 to 40 years until (if) you retire. But if you have your sights set on greater career progression and satisfaction, you’ve got to snap out of this funk.
While there are lots of things you can do in order to find a more fulfilling career, including getting another job, one thing you can do this year that’s sure to bring you a new perspective is to offer to do one thing outside of your job scope.
You might not only find yourself more in tune with your company and its goals, but could also pick up a useful skill or two.
If you’re a programmer, volunteer to try your hand at web design. Working in an accounting firm but have a way with words? Offer to help the marketing department to write profiles of the key accountants in your firm.
You just might find yourself like Larry, a former web designer who managed to increase his salary by 150% in less than five years by volunteering to take on project management tasks at work.
More crucially, taking on a job outside what you were officially hired to do helps you to view your career more holistically, and yourself as more than just a peon who’s hired to do the same thing over and over again until it’s time to pack up and escape from the office. Engagement is the first step to performing well as an employee.
3. Get a health insurance policy
While there are numerous types of insurance out there, not all might be appropriate for you depending on your circumstances. But given Singapore’s healthcare system, which transfers the burden of paying for healthcare to the individual, it’s safe to say that every Singaporean needs to have health insurance in addition to what Medishield offers.
This sounds like a no-brainer, but you wouldn’t believe how many of my friends in their twenties and thirties still don’t have their own health insurance polices.
If you have no idea how health insurance even works, it’s time to schedule a talk with a few insurance advisors so you can make an informed decision. Bring along your company’s health insurance policy if you have one so you can see what you’re already being covered for.
This is one New Year’s resolution that will benefit you for many years to come. And it’s going to be a lot easier to keep than last year’s resolution to go to the gym every day.
Do you have any other good New Year’s resolutions for Gen Y-ers? Share them with us in the comments!
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