From a young age, Timothy Ho was fascinated with the sphere of economics; he often wondered how the world economy worked, how people made decisions in life, and how individuals rationalised the choices they made.
When he was in polytechnic, he studied media which allowed him to observe how the mass media worked, how people consumed news and processed information given to them, and how these means of communication shaped individuals’ opinions about things around them.
Following that, he studied Economics and Finance at University from 2009-2012; just after the 2008 Global Financial Crisis. At that point, terms like Credit Default Swaps, Mini-Bonds and Securitisations were being thrown around to explain how the financial crisis occurred which led to an increased interest in such things.
This keen interest and experience in economics and media led him to start DollarsAndSense, a regional online platform that “aims to help people make better financial decisions through bite-sized articles” on topics such as savings, insurance, investing, trading, and property.
Tell us more about your business. Why did you get started?
We started DollarsAndSense because we wanted people in Singapore to have access to articles that they could understand and relate to. More importantly, we wanted them to be able to read finance articles that were independent rather than have to constantly rely on advice from professionals who may have a sales-related agenda.
What skills are required in your position on a day-to-day basis?
You have to be interested in reading about news pertaining to personal finance. Whenever something new develops, we always ask ourselves internally how this will affect Singaporeans. Of course, writing is another important skill. Lastly, you need to be savvy in the digital marketing space.
Which parts of your job do you find most challenging?
Managing the people you are working with is always challenging.
Which parts do you find most enjoyable?
I know it’s cliché but being paid to do something that I am passionate about is really awesome! In fact, I was already doing these things in my free time, even before I came onboard full-time. The only difference now is that I am paid to do it!
Tell us about what you consider your most significant accomplishment in your career.
Growing the business that we started years ago. When we started this full-time, I was the only employee for DollarsAndSense. Today, we can afford to have the entire founding team onboard full-time. We have also managed to do so while taking minimal external funding.
How do you keep in touch with your customer base?
Via Facebook, Newsletters, and email.
How do you motivate others in your team? Do you value the cultivation of company culture?
As a startup company, early employees are in the position to define the kind of workplace they want to work in. This is very important because culture, once set, is hard to change. Given that, you obviously want a culture that would be positive for the company in the long run.
In a team environment, what role do you usually take on?
I take on a lot of the decision-making role. When it comes to brainstorming, I am also usually the facilitator; trying to pressure people to give me great ideas in a limited time ☺
How well did your college/university experience prepare you for this job?
Having formally studied media, economics, and finance; I am really fortunate that what I studied is very applicable to what I am doing today. I would say that my education gave me a good basic foundation for some of the work that I do on for DollarsAndSense.
What is your attitude and outlook towards personal finance? Has it evolved over the years?
I have realised that money is simply a means to an end; what matters most at the end is what your life objectives were/are. Given that, it’s important to not just focus on making money, but also to ask yourself what you would like to do with the money you acquire. I also believe it should be something meaningful rather than just being able to buy an expensive car or multiple properties.
Do you notice any trends regarding financial awareness amongst Millennials today? How do you think it can be improved?
Millennials have access to tons of financial information today compared to people in the past who had to search for such information. Millennials, therefore, need to learn how to process information and how to differentiate between good and poor quality advice. In my opinion, a lot of young people are smarter than the generation before them in this aspect.
Give us a parting quote!
Don’t let money dictate your life. It’s an enabler, not a life goal.
Learn more about how Timothy is helping the blogger, Faz Abdul Gaffa in her #SavvyUpTogether journey here!Recommend0 recommendationsPublished in #SavvyUpTogether - Savvy Up Together, Singapore, Interviews