Singaporeans love milestones. The high point in many people’s lives is the day they receive their degree, get married or make that downpayment on their first home.
Whether you think that’s the most boring thing ever, or are working assiduously towards attaining those goals yourself, there are certain things that all Singaporeans, no matter what their lifestyles are like, should really be striving to achieve by age 35, such as the following.
Freedom from high interest debt
If you thought it was hard to manage your finances in your twenties, wait till you’re like most 30-somethings in Singapore and have home loans, car loans and kids to juggle.
At some point, most Singaporeans will sign up for a home loan, while many others will commit to car loans.
Before that happens, you want to make sure you’re debt-free in other areas, the most pressing being credit card debt. You need to pay all of it off and stop rolling balances over from month to month. If you can’t even manage that, you probably shouldn’t be signing up for even more financial obligations.
By age 35, you should also have paid off all other high interest loans like payday or personal loans. You should also be rid of your student loans as well, since you would have had the chance to pay them down more intensively during your obligation-free twenties.
A medical insurance plan
There are many types of insurance that can benefit you in your 30s. But most are optional depending on your life situation.
For instance, if you have no dependents and your parents are retirement-ready, life insurance isn’t a must. And you obviously don’t need an annual travel insurance plan if your idea of travel is a staycation at Sentosa.
But medical insurance is highly recommended as a supplement to your existing MediShield Life plan. MediShield Life is meant to function as a very bare-bones insurance plan, but you need to know what you’re missing out on by not topping it up with an integrated shield plan and riders.
At 35, you’re old enough to be on the cusp of serious health problems that could ruin you financially, but not so old that private insurance premiums are unaffordable.
At least one source of side income
Now that you’re 35, you’re fast approaching the age where retrenchment becomes seriously hard to bounce back from. Middle aged PMETs tend to find it excruciatingly difficult to replace their lost incomes, and many end up taking big pay cuts or taking on jobs they’re overqualified for.
Offshoring is notorious for rendering Singapore employees redundant, with operations staff at banks taking a big hit in 2016.
So it’s a very good idea to ensure you have at least one form of side income by the time you’re 35, just before you enter the realms of the middle aged.
Your side income could come from a small business or an after-hours gig, whether as a private tutor, Grab driver or whatever. For those who don’t fancy spending more time after work slaving away to earn money, you have the option of earning passive income by renting out rooms in your home or investing in dividend-bearing stocks.
A growing retirement nest egg
While we always recommend saving for retirement from the moment you earn your first dollar, this is hard for many twenty-somethings due to low salaries, student loan debt and the vicissitudes of young adulthood.
But by the time you hit age 35, there is really no excuse. If you haven’t already started saving and investing for retirement, don’t expect things to get any easier as your financial and family obligations start to pile up.
There have been numerous polls showing that the average Singaporean is woefully unprepared for retirement. With the possibility of ill health, retrenchment and family crises waiting for you in your later years, if you haven’t started building up your retirement nest egg by age 35, you’re falling behind.
Have you achieved any of the above milestones? Tell us in the comments!
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