If you have ever grown a ginseng plant, you’ll know that as the plant ages, the more potent it becomes. The slower the root grows, the more nutrients it absorbs from the forest floor. Financial planning is very much like growing this sage herb. If you are prudent and patient, your financial plan will be more beneficial to you.

In general, women need to exercise even more foresight. Even married women who may face the death or divorce from a spouse, should plan your finances like a single woman. As a woman, you will live longer but are likely to have less income to sock away for retirement.

Like growing the ginseng tree, the more time and resources you invest in financial planning now, the better off you will be in the future. Foresight can slash costs on insurance premiums, interest rates while increasing investment returns. Here’s how.

Do Not Take the Dollar Today – In the famous marshmallow experiment, children were asked if they wanted one marshmallow now for instant gratification, or if they preferred to wait 15 minutes and receive two marshmallows. The children who waited 15 minutes for two treats were more successful in life.

While interest rates (what the $1 will be worth in the future) and discount rates (the present value of a future cash flow) will determine the real value of that dollar, the simplified lesson is patience can make you better off in the future. Allocate a monthly amount to savings and treat it as an expense. Delaying gratification today can increase the size of your retirement fund.

Bolster Retirement Income Streams – Make sure you work out the cash flow streams for a long life. Many early retirees are falling short. Many others, about 40%, say they want to work until their last breath. If you delay taking social security benefits, your cash flow streams and tax issues will change. You may decide on annuities or other investments to smooth out cash flows.

Plan Opportunistic Investments – Deferred fixed annuities, for example, can provide you with monthly streams of income based on principle and interest for the rest of your life. If you purchase when interest rates are high, your income stream will be higher. Such alternative income streams may allow you to start social security payments later to plan for a long life.

Get Rid of Debt – With household debt at record levels in Singapore, retiring debt free should be a priority.

Do Estate Planning Early – It is often done last, and thus it is often done too late. If you do not have an estate plan, you risk leaving heirs an inheritance that will miss out on tax benefits and be subject to higher taxes.

Take Out Insurance Coverage Now – Consider your lifetime and health insurance needs. You will be paying much higher premiums if you are taking out new life insurance policies in your 60s.

Plan for the Unexpected – Ask financial planners where their clients have traditionally fallen short. Find obvious needs, such as disability insurance that has often been overlooked by many people.

If you have ever patiently grown a ginseng plant to a ripe age of 8 to 10 years before picking, you will know that the roots grow to look like a person. Imagine that person is you. Your meditation or yoga guru may have taught you how to use visioning to achieve goals. Imagine yourself at 60, 70 and 80 based on your current retirement savings plan. What is your life like?

This exercise should give you the motivation to not spend that dollar today.

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Founder @ The New Savvy
Anna Haotanto is the Advisor (former CEO) of The New Savvy. She is currently the COO of ABZD Capital and the CMO of Gourmet Food Holdings, an investment firm focusing on opportunities in the global F&B industry. She is part of the founding committee of the Singapore FinTech Association and heads the Women In FinTech and Partnership Committee. Anna is the President of the Singapore Management University Women Alumni. Anna invests and sits on the board of a few startups. Anna is also part of the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce & Industry Career Women’s Group executive committee. Anna’s story is featured on Millionaire Minds on Channel NewsAsia. She hosts TV shows and events, namely for Channel NewsAsia’s “The Millennial Investor” and “Challenge Tomorrow”, a FinTech documentary. Anna was awarded “Her Times Youth Award” at the Rising50 Women Empowerment Gala, organised by the Indonesian Embassy of Singapore. The award was presented by His Excellency Ngurah Swajaya. She was also awarded Founder of the Year for ASEAN Rice Bowl Startup Awards. She was also awarded the Women Empowerment Award by the Asian Business & Social Forum. Anna has been awarded LinkedIn Power Profiles for founders (2018, 2017), Tatler Gen T, The Peak’s Trailblazers under 40 and a nominee for the Women of The Future award by Aviva


  1. […] People who delay instant gratification are more successful in life. […]


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